General Synod Day 4 – Putting Things Right

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Day 4 of the Anglican Church of Australia General Synod is almost over and it’s been a good one.

Synod managed to finish off the last of it’s legislation and so was able to turn it’s mind to some more substantial motions. The morning saw the passing of a formal apology for our failings in the area of domestic violence.

In a motion moved by Melbourne’s Bishop Stephen Hale and seconded by Sydney’s Archdeacon Kara Hartley, Synod described domestic violence as sin, saying Scripture should never be twisted to justify or excuse any abuse.

The motion said “No victim of domestic abuse should ever be pressured to forgive, submit to, or restore a relationship with an offender.”

General Synod affirmed that churches should ‘work to protect those experiencing domestic abuse as a first priority’.

We also passed a motion re-affirming the orthodox position on marriage which set the background for the most involved debate of the day. Synod set apart it’s first afternoon session entirely to debate a motion asking us to declare that we were out of communion with the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) because of their changed canon relating to the definition of marriage. The final motion, with an amendment by bishop John Ford of the Murray, was passed in all three houses and will be seen as a strong censure of the SEC, declaring their actions to be “contrary to the doctrine of our Church and the teaching of Christ”.

Conservatives also saw excellent election results including substantial positions on the Standing Committee. All in all they will be very pleased with what was achieved today.

After dinner I sat down with Dean Kanishka Raffel, the proposer of the SEC motion, and Bishop Richard Condie, who took part in the resulting consecration of Andy Lines and also spoke to the motion. We were joined by Kevin Kallsen of Anglican Unscripted.

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