Long-time readers will remember we reported back in 2012 on the appointment of Rev. David Head in the Australian Diocese of Gippsland. The appointment caused controversy at the time since Rev. Head was known to be living in a long-term homosexual relationship and a picture of he and his partner was published in the Diocesan newspaper. The appointment was made by the late Bishop John McIntyre. You can read more about those events here.

The controversy over Rev. Head’s appoinment to the parish of St James’ Heyfield led to an Australian Bishops’ Protocol, which after revision now reads as follows:

PROTOCOL 19

2014

FAITHFULNESS IN SERVICE

As we ordain, license or appoint to ministries within our dioceses we undertake to uphold “Faithfulness in Service,” the code of conduct for bishops adopted by the General Synod in Resolution 59/04 and as amended by the General Synod from time to time.

Faithfulness in Service [pdf] (which is adopted by the Diocese of Gippsland) states,

7.1 The sexual conduct of clergy and church workers has a significant impact on the Church and the community.

7.2 Sexuality is a gift from God and is integral to human nature. It is appropriate for clergy and church workers to value this gift, taking responsibility for their sexual conduct by maintaining chastity in singleness and faithfulness in marriage.

7.4 You are to be chaste and not engage in sex outside of marriage.

Last week I was informed that the new Bishop of Gippsland, Kay Goldsworthy, has appointed Rev Head to another parish; Morwell. This struck me as a clear breach of the Protocol that Bishop Kay has signed up to along with her fellow bishops. Readers may also remember that Bishop Kay voted for a revisionist motion on sexual ethics while Assistant Bishop in Perth. I’ve discussed this with a number of senior members of the Anglican Church of Australia and the common response has been unhappiness with the event for the reasons already outlined.

At the start of this week I reached out to the diocese and Bishop Kay with the following questions:

I understand that Rev. David Head was recently appointed as rector of Morwell with an induction service held on the evening of 14 August.

1. Since there is, at the time of writing, no official notice on the diocesan website could you confirm those details or provide correction?

2. Given the controversy surrounding Rev Head’s previous appointment, particularly with respect to his being in a long-term homosexual relationship, what was done to ensure that this new appointment in no way breached the Australian Bishops’ Protocol 19?

“As we ordain, license or appoint to ministries within our dioceses we undertake to uphold “Faithfulness in Service,” the code of conduct for bishops adopted by the General Synod in Resolution 59/04 and as amended by the General Synod from time to time.”
I note that Faithfulness in Service states “Sexuality is a gift from God and is integral to human nature. It is appropriate for clergy and church workers to value this gift, taking responsibility for their sexual conduct by maintaining chastity in singleness and faithfulness in marriage.”

3. Was any consultation carried out with other members of the House of Bishops in order to ensure this appointment would not be construed as a breach of Protocol 19?

At the time of writing (more than 4 days later) we’ve received no response. We’ll bring you up to date with any developments (of which there are sure to be some) as we get them.

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One comment on “New Diocese of Gippsland Appointment Raises Fresh Concerns About Application of Australian Bishops’ Protocol

  1. It’s not rocket science. God created us as man and woman–Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve or Eve and Susie. Call me old fashioned if you want, I don’t care. What I do care about is that Kay Goldsworthy is not only flouting Anglican rules, but God’s rules. If you have any doubt, you need to remember what God did to Sodom and Gomorrah. Perhaps Ms Goldsworthy also needs to read back over Leviticus to see what God says about sexual relations.

    Perhaps the term, “Faithfulness in Service,” should be changed to “Faithfulness to God.” Because I don’t see much faithfulness to God in churches today. I attend an Anglican church, and praise God, our minister is faithful to what the Bible teaches, and that is the only reason I stay. But if our minister leaves, and things continue they way they’re going in the Anglican church, I won’t be hanging around. We should not be concerned with what man thinks, but what God thinks. 2 Timothy 4:3 has never been more appropriate than today. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

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