The Diocese of Adelaide has published its papers [pdf] for their upcoming synod, 19-21 October 2018. Before getting to the contentious stuff notes that this is by far the best branded synod we’ve seen so far. We love the use of those primary colours and the clear fonts.

Readers may not be so happy with what’s in the papers. As with many other dioceses, not to mention every other metropolitan diocese outside Sydney, there are motions seeking to provide a liturgical validation of same-sex marriage.


Moved by The Rev’d Stephen Daughtry

Seconded by Ms Meriel Wilson

That this Synod recognise and record that:

a) There are Anglican clergy and laity in this diocese, people in good standing with our Church, who sincerely believe the celebration and blessing of same sex marriages is neither incompatible with the teaching of Holy Scripture or with the will of God.

b) This belief has been arrived at through prayerful reflection and conversation, is informed and supported by much biblical and theological scholarship and takes into account the pastoral and cultural context of our time in history.

c) Anglicans in faithful, committed same-sex relationships have sought and are seeking blessing from the Church to which they belong. They, their families and friends and the above-mentioned clergy and laity, and many in the wider public, are deeply saddened that they are being denied the support and blessing of their Church.

In light of these realities, we ask that the leadership of this diocese pastorally and publicly acknowledge that the Anglican Church is divided on this issue and that prayerful people of good conscience on both sides of the debate are seeking to discern the leading of the Holy Spirit in their ministry and the life of the Anglican Church.

We also respectfully request that this Synod relay the outcome of this motion to all bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia and to General Synod.


Moved by The Rev’d Stephan Clark
Seconded by The Rev’d Tracey Gracey

That this Synod, encouraged by the resolution passed recently by the Synod of the Diocese of Wangaratta:

a) acknowledges the widespread national and local support for the recent changes to Australian marriage laws, to include same-sex couples;

b)  commends the pastoral value of the Archbishop authorising a Form of Blessing for optional use within the Diocese of Adelaide alongside, or in addition to, a wedding conducted by a civil celebrant;

c)  requests that the Diocesan Leadership, in consultation with the clergy and laity of the Diocese, investigate the possibility and desirability of a process leading to Diocesan provision for the blessing of civil marriages. thinks that motion 20 is much more clever than 21. 21 is very unlikely to pass given the widespread awareness of the fracturing it would bring about, not to mention the impossible position it would put the Archbishop in given the Bishops’ Agreement. Motion 20, on the other hand, makes no request for such blessings or liturgies but seeks nevertheless to legitimise the position. It’s function is to establish a “dual integrity” in the diocese – that both positions are valid – and is therefore couched in the language of “good standing”, “sincere belief” and “good conscience”.

Those things may certainly be true of people who want to change the church’s doctrine of marriage. But they were almost certainly true of those in the Scottish Episcopal Church who did change their church’s doctrine of marriage. The Australian General Synod called such a movecontrary to the doctrine of our church and the teaching of Christ“. It’s possible to be in good standing, have sincere belief held in good conscience, and yet still be against the teaching of Christ.

We will, of course, seek to keep readers updated on the outcome of those debates.

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9 comments on “Same-Sex Motions at Adelaide Synod

  1. But for its Title & use of “celebration”, Motion 20 could be mistakenly read as yet another call for clerical blessings of same-sex civil marriages. i.e. Motion 21 put differently. It is, rather, another call for same-sex couples to be married by Anglican clergy. tbc

  2. One should never forget that Parliament could (I say should) have amended the Marriage Act so that it applied to civil ceremonies only, when it changed the legal definition of parties to “2 people”. I urged Messrs Brandis & Turnbull to do so in the months leading up to December’s legislation.

    Parliament did not do so, hence the ball is firmly in the hands of Australian Christians. tbc

  3. Do they have the courage of their convictions, as taught by Christ himself, or do they want their ministers involved in implementing a worldly law so at odds with that Teaching?

    This is the fundamental question. Calls for the blessing of same-sex civil marriages will be sorted out in due course, in the meantime they should be seen for what they are – stalking horse propositions.

  4. Do they have the courage of their convictions, as taught by Christ, or do they wish their ministers to be involved in administering Caesar’s law with its definition of 2 people?

    That is the fundamental question to be answered. Blessing same-sex civil marriages after the event is a secondary issue to be resolved in due course. Calls for blessings should be seen for what they are – stalking horses for Anglican clergy to marry same-sex couples.

  5. Do they want their ministers to follow Christ’s prescription for marriage partners or that of the 45th Australian Parliament?

    It’s a basic choice which goes to the heart of every believer’s personal integrity & collectively displays, or not, the denominational integrity of their church.

  6. It looks like these motions were created by people who want to see the diocese of Adelaide go down the same path as the Church of England, and the Episcopal Church of the USA. Anyone who has followed events in those churches over the past 10-20 years will recognise the pattern.

    They may succeed or they may not. But if they do succeed, then it will be necessary for Gafcon to establish alternative Anglican churches in the territory of the diocese of Adelaide, so that faithful Anglicans can worship and witness there without being controlled and hindered by a liberal church hierarchy.

  7. It need not (I certainly hope it does not) come to a split if ACA state firmly that henceforth it offers stand-alone Holy Matrimony only. IF a split does occur & GAFCON Australia were to provide alternative episcopal oversight of those faithful parishioners wishing to follow Christ’s teaching on marriage, would the alternative Bishop unequivocally endorse stand-alone Holy Matrimony?

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