The website of the Anglican Church of Australia currently has the following text on it’s page that normally lists the Bishops’ Protocols:

The Bishops’ Meeting of 2016 has initiated a review of all the bishops’ protocols to ensure that they properly reflect the collegiality and fellowship of the bishops of the national Church and have removed them from this website until this review is completed. The protocols as approved in 2015 remain in place.

whiteoutThis morning I spoke to someone who was present at the March 2016 Bishops’ Meeting about the catalyst for these changes. A number of protocols are being reviewed. Of primary interest to readers will be 019/2014 Faithfulness in Service which was itself a revision of an early protocol directly addressing Ministerial Appointments. Some bishop were unhappy with protocol 019 seeing it as an attack upon homosexuals and thus called for a review. The protocol does not simply address matters of sexuality but all questions of right behaviour by ministers and others to be considered when appointments are made.

Other protocols requiring review include 005/2005 Protocols relating to the Ministry of the Bishop to the Australian Defence Force and Ministry within the Defence Force.

The key phrase “The protocols as approved in 2015 remain in place” was insisted upon by a Metropolitan Archbishop so as to not allow anyone to argue that the bishops were no longer bound by the protocols while they were under review.

davidould.net wonders why if all the protocols “remain in place” they don’t actually remain in place on the website? They are, however, archived online as at 15 March 2016 with working links to all the current protocols, replicated below:

REGISTER OF PROTOCOLS

Protocol 
Number
Year 
Title
Cancelled or Superseded on:
Replaced by:
1997 The Ministry of Bishops to Aboriginal Peoples of Australia
002
1999 Receiving Clergy from ‘Continuing Anglican’ Churches 4 Jun 2009 006/2007
2000 Collegiality in the Episcopate
004
2000 Protocols on approaching clergy in another diocese 8 Mar 2006 007/2006
2005 Protocols relating to the Ministry of the Bishop to the Australian Defence Force and Ministry within the Defence Force
006
2007 Receiving clergy from churches not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia 14 March 2012 016/2012
2006 Revised Protocols on approaching clergy in another diocese
008
2006 Private Confession – Pastoral Guidelines with special reference to child sexual abuse 1 Mar 2011 014/2011
2006 Private Confession – Recommendations to Diocesan Bishops concerning pastoral guidelines
2007 Anglican Agencies working across diocesan boundaries
2007 Eucharistic Hospitality – guidelines for Anglican and Lutheran congregations who desire to practise eucharistic hospitality and share pastoral care
2008 Women in the Episcopate
2008 The Ministry of Bishops to Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia
2011 Revised Protocol on Private Confession – pastoral guidelines with special reference to child sexual abuse
015
2012 Ministerial Appointments  3 April 2014 019/2014
2012 Receiving clergy from churches
2012 Episcopal goodwill to be sought for ministry in another diocese
2013 Protocol for making, amending or revoking protocols 
019 2014 Faithfulness in Service

We’ll let you know when the revisions are done and published.

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4 comments on “Australian Anglican Bishops “Review … All Bishops’ Protocols”

  1. “This morning I spoke to someone who was present at the March 2016 Bishops’ Meeting about the catalyst for these changes.” This is very coy. What was the catalyst for these changes?

    • I don’t think I’ve ever been called “coy” before.
      The catalyst for the changes (at least according to my source) is set out in the rest of the piece.

  2. As I understand it, Faithfulness in Service was adopted by General Synod. All the Bishops do in the Protocol is agree to use it when licensing and appointing ministers in their dioceses. If they decide they want to change something it has to go to General Synod. If they remove it, they would be taking the very odd position that they are refusing to uphold the standards agreed upon by the General Synod for service in the Anglican Church. In some ways, the Protocol just affirms what should be the case anyway – that Bishops uphold the agreed national position on suitability for ministry.
    It’s interesting the issues on which some dioceses emphasise the authority of our national bodies (Appellate Tribunal, General Synod etc) and then insist on diocesan freedom on other issues.

    • hi Andrew,

      Yes, it’s fascinating how this all plays out. The other thing to notice is how there is an inconsistent appeal to national authorities based on what people want to achieve. The most glaring example of this is the appeal to the Appellate Tribunal to push Women Bishops through, knowing very well it would never get through General Synod.
      Added to that was the inconsistent way that the Tribunal ruled on Women Bishops and Diaconal Administration. In the first they ruled that words in the ordinal ought to be construed in a very loose way (at least loose enough to allow what they wanted). But when it came to Diaconal Administration the Tribunal suddenly believed that the original intent and scope was very clearly set out in the ordinal. Who would have thought.

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