Canberra-Goulburn Synod Meets to Elect Bishop – Updated

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Friends, thank you to everyone who commented over the past 24 hours or so. What I thought would be a simple post sharing some information that had clearly already entered into the public domain has disappointed many people.

I’m sorry for any upset that it’s caused. Regular readers of will know that I don’t set out to cause unnecessary problems, rather I want this place to be somewhere where news about what is happening in the Anglican Church of Australia can be shared and known by others. Sometimes that means that we break stories that are of interest or even reveal what is happening when people would rather it was kept a secret. We mostly do that where we think the agenda is to deliberately undermine the constitutional position of the Anglican Church of Australia. The intention is to uphold the integrity of the church that many of us love and are committed to against those who would undermine it.

I’ve long believed that there’s no such thing as a secret once the information is out there and so I published in that spirit. In this age of rapid dissemination of information, word spreads a lot faster than it used to. Once I was convinced that the news of the candidates had been spreading far beyond the 300+ synod members (and were even being prayed for the previous Sunday) I thought it was safe to publish. Some will argue that it wasn’t my right and I understand that.

There was no intention to undermine process. I remain unconvinced that the process will be spoiled by this publication – the delegates will still meet together from Thursday and have the same discussions about the relative merits of the various candidates and come to their final conclusion. We’ll seek to report that decision here when it’s complete.

I write these additional comments as an explanation, not an excuse. Nevertheless, I’m genuinely sorry for any distress caused. Because of the way that the internet works it’s too late now to remove the post but I’ve hidden the original content away behind a toggle.

I want to leave the last (and most important word) to one of the original (and very well-respected) complainants on the related facebook thread:


I trust we’ll all be able to join in on that one.

[toggle title=”If you really must read it, the original post is here…”]

This coming Thursday the synod of the Anglican Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn will meet to elect a new bishop following the retirement from office last year of Stuart Robinson.

Names of candidates have now been distributed to all synod members and their various merits are being discussed as an “open secret”. Here are the candidates that synod will choose from:

Apart from Bishop Stead, all the candidates reflect a range of mainstream evangelical positions. Richards is unlikely to be elected due to his more conservative position on women’s roles in ministry.

It seems more than likely that the diocese will elect a man who will continue the broad evangelical leadership that Robinson had provided.

The diocese has a comprehensive webpage covering the entire process. [/toggle]


image: Diocesan website

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This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Emma Tueno

    Hey David – these names are supposed to be confidential to those attending synod. Would you consider removing this post?

    1. David Ould

      hi Emma. The names were already out and being shared by the 300+ attending the synod (and, no doubt, others also).
      There’s no new information in the post – it’s far less than the synod delegates already have. regularly posts up information of public interest. There is great interest in this election all around Australia by many who want the very best for the diocese. I’m sure they are greatly encouraged by the general tenor of the list of names.

  2. Katherine Rainger

    Hi David – as a member of synod I agree with Emma’s comment. All our documents are marked ‘confidential’ with specific instructions not to discuss the names of the nominees. I also find your comments on the two nominees that you single out to be unhelpful. Please respect the process which includes confidentiality. Your readers do not need to be privy to the list of nominees – but feel free to publicise the bishop-elect when that information is made public.

    1. David Ould

      hi Katherine. Thanks for writing. I’m afraid I don’t have anything to add to my reply to Emma. These names were already out there and there is nothing in this post that compares, let alone adds, to the vast amount of information that the diocese has distributed to synod about the candidates.

  3. Katherine Rainger

    David – there is a difference between the names being “out there” and on the internet/social media as you have taken it upon yourself to do.

  4. Neil Payne

    may the short list have Mark Short .Praying for God,s person to be elected

    1. Neil Payne

      Blessings for future

  5. Paul Black

    Your post opens up the possibility of the ‘Canberra Times’ and other media organisations releasing the names and doing a story on the candidates which is unfortunate. Do you intend releasing other information which your informants have leaked?

  6. Simon

    Unfortunately David this publication of the names is unhelpful. I think it’s already been unhelpful here in Adelaide. I ask with others who have already asked–please take this down.

    We don’t need encouragement from the tenor of the names being put forward… (from your answer to Emma). But we (who are not privy to the process) need to wait. Our encouragement also needs to be weighed against the best interest of the people who have these names currently serving them. Do you any ideas of the impact to those people and the organisations they serve? It’s not all positive.

    I think your answer to Emma is disingenuous; You say that the names are already “out there”. Where is the “out there”? When I type in google: diocese canberra goulburn bishop election

    Google returns this website post as fourth out of ten. But only yours from the top 10 of returned results contains the names the synod will consider. Yes you have broken the story, but I think you have broken other things too.

  7. Dave McLennan

    This is very disappointing, David. Your decision to deliberately publicise a betrayal of confidence damages a carefully and prayerfully designed process. It may not be a perfect process; there may be arguments for even greater transparency. But these are arguments your brothers-and-sisters-in-Christ have thrashed out together in good faith, in a way we feel best serves the candidates, the synod and the wider church. That you have taken it upon yourself to play the role of Julian Assange is hurtful. It is damaging. It creates considerable distress for no comparable gain. And it betrays a very minimalist approach to ethical decision-making. While the damage has largely been done, I nevertheless ask you to please do the decent thing: take down the post.

  8. Geoff Fletcher

    Commonly attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt : Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.

    Perhaps not surprisingly Jesus is a sufficient subject for all three. Church chatter really helps whom?

  9. Phillip Zamagias

    Brother, what does this ‘revelation’ achieve. If we believe that God is in control, we will pray and wait. Again I find myself apologising for being an evangelical outside of Sydney. Not helpful and quite disappointing.

    1. David Ould

      thanks Zam. Let’s all just apologise for our own actions. I don’t expect you to apologise for me. You’d be very busy if that were the case 🙂

  10. Katherine Rainger

    Thanks for this David – and thanks Gill! As a final comment from me there is a difference between “secret” and “confidential” – I don’t like the inference that C&G is up to ‘secret business’ – we have a process (a process that our Synod has spent vast amounts of energy refining in the last couple of years) and all involved have been given clear instructions about what the process involves. Confidentiality was and is a component of our process. If we wanted the information on the internet/social media we have people within the Diocese whose job it is to do that on our behalf. Thank you for your prayers. Bishop Trevor has asked that this Synod be soaked in prayer, respectful, and that our speech and listening be attentive. It is to that task that I now turn. Peace.

  11. Stuart lawrence

    david it proves the point what you really are a nosy facist bigot

    1. Christopher Worthy

      Nosiness possibly, but I fail to see why it’s an indication of either fascism or bigotry.

      1. David Ould

        That’s ok, Christopher. I guess it’s what happens when you go trawling for posts to get upset about at 3 in the morning. Stuart is now on the moderation list for his pains. If he had insulted any other person he would have been blacklisted.

      2. David Ould

        plus, the correct spelling is “faScist”. If someone’s going to call me names, at least get it right and try some punctuation too.

        1. Stephen Bond

          I prefer to think that Stuart’s original comment about you being a facist (sic) was because you use Facebook. And I certainly don’t think you are nosy or a bigot. The advent and encroachment on people’s lives of modern communication technology necessarily means that any news in the public domain, is in fact in the public domain. The implications of this are that your critics need to broaden their world-view.

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