A new Bishop in Sydney, and a Primate who defies his own synod

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Yesterday evening saw the consecration of Gary Koo as the new bishop of Western Sydney. The event took place at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Parramatta (the home of davidould.net and the seat of the new bishop). Bishop Koo will be taking over the role of regional bishop from outgoing bishop Ivan Lee, who recently announced he was stepping down to manage his ill health and take on a role encouraging church plants.

As always, the consecration took place with a number of bishops from within and without the diocese, however the packed cathedral wasn’t quite full.

Archbishop Philip Freier

davidould.net understands that the Primate objected strongly to the presence at the consecration of Bishop Jay Behan of the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa New Zealand.

So great was Archbishop Freier’s objection that one assistant bishop from Freier’s diocese, Melbourne, was told not to robe, process and be part of the consecration. He was seen, instead, sitting in the congregation. davidould.net also understands another assistant bishop from a metropolitan diocese chose not to even attend under similar pressure.

Archbishop Freier’s objection to the presence of Bishop Behan is in direct contradiction to a motion passed by his own synod only a few months ago, which voted to approve the following:

Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa / New Zealand
That this Synod:
a) Welcomes the newly formed Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa / New Zealand.
b) Assures the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa / New Zealand and its bishop, Jay Behan, of our love and prayers.
c) prays for God’s blessing on all Anglicans in New Zealand as they seek to proclaim Christ faithfully to New Zealand.

davidould.net spoke to a senior member of clergy in the Diocese of Melbourne who described Archbishop Freier’s actions as “not very welcoming, really, is it?!”

Readers of davidould.net will have to make up their own mind on whether Archbishop Freier’s decision would leave bishop Jay Behan assured of his love and prayers. The majority that voted in favour of the motion may also take an interest in their Archbishop’s rejection of the position of synod.

Archbishop Freier is yet to make any public criticism of the decisions by the dioceses of Wangaratta and Newcastle to approve a liturgy for the blessing of persons in a same-sex marriage.


a reader of davidould.net has noted in a comment to this story that the Primate is still happy, the day after Koo’s consecration, to be seen alongside 2 well-known proponents of changing the doctrine of marriage. So, orthodox bishops upholding the teaching of Jesus on marriage are to be shunned, those who oppose it are to be endorsed….

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  1. Robert Tong

    It is hard to understand what grounds Archbishop Freier has to objecting to Bishop Jay Behan participating in the consecration. The relevant General Synod Canon provides ‘that nothing in this canon shall preclude any other bishop from assisting at such consecration with the consent of the metropolitan or Primate responsible for such consecration.’ I understand that Archbishop Davies, ‘the metropolitan’ consented, so what is the issue?

    1. peterwotton

      He is a schismatic. Not an Anglican in communion with Canterbury . Pretty obvious from a legalistic position.

      1. James Warren

        Indeed A bishop being schismatic with his own synod as he defies: “Assures the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa / New Zealand and its bishop, Jay Behan, of our love and prayers.” is a terrible state of affairs. In communion with Canterbury is hardly a ripple for a bishop who is in such disrepair with his own synod, not to mention an orthodox brother (recognised or not as a bishop). Deep somber concern & prayers are needed for Melbourne Anglicans to be united around God’s revealed words of eternal life.

  2. Peter Barnes

    Very pretty

    1. Peter Wotton

      Do our Sydney bishops carry out the decisions of our Synod?
      Beware of judging .

      1. MichaelA

        “Do our Sydney bishops carry out the decisions of our Synod?”

        Sure. When have they not?

        “Beware of judging”


  3. chris russell

    Are the terms “Anglican Church” and “Body of Christ” interchangeable in statements without loss of truth value? It would appear not in that the former term makes reference to a religious organisation in Australian society which only has nominal links to the Bridegroom.

    The expectation that a Primate of that organisation would conduct himself rightly, in the manner of a follower of Christ, appears both unrealistic and misplaced.

    Mr Freier is not a Primate of the Body of Christ. Let us be perfectly clear about that. Likewise, the bishops of Sydney, New Zealand, and Wangaratta, are put first in a house of the world divided against itself.

    1. peterwotton

      Chris , an most unworthy and uncharitable judgement which is at odds with the Anglican Church in Australia.

      1. chris russell

        peterwotton, as I understand it i.e. from David’s post, the Primate of the Anglican Church in Australia, Mr Freier, has chosen to shun orthodox bishops who uphold the teaching of Jesus on the subject of marriage, whereas he has endorsed those who not only oppose the teaching of Jesus, but want to see it reformed so as to make it consistent with alternative views on sexual ethics. If so, I have been more than charitable in my judgement above, for the reputed conduct of the Primate is perfect proof that he is acting thus outside the Body of Christ.

        There is no blessing, in the name of Christ, that is available for those who are not only unrepentant, but hope to profit from their sin. It is not for a Primate to act as if there is, notwithstanding the immense love of God.

        But similarly, there are those orthodox bishops, in the Anglican Church of Australia, who endeavour to uphold Christ’s teaching on marriage, that is, within the domain of the institution that is the Anglican Church. This otherwise righteous cause should have little more priority than upholding it any place where the victor, now, is the Angel of Light.

        Certainly, I agree with you that my position “is at odds with the Anglican Church in Australia”.

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