New Bishop for Gippsland – We Should “Rejoice” at Same-Sex Marriage

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The Diocese of Gippsland have announced their new bishop:

It is with immense pleasure that the Diocese of Gippsland announces that The Rev’d Dr Richard Treloar, Vicar of Christ Church South Yarra, has been elected as the thirteenth Bishop of Gippsland!

He commenced ordained ministry in rural and regional Victoria and is excited to be called to this new ministry in the Diocese of Gippsland, which he will take up later in the year.

Richard has served as Vicar of Christ Church and President of Christ Church Grammar School since 2007. Prior to that he was Chaplain at Trinity College, The University of Melbourne, where he taught for nine years in the College’s Theological School. Between 2001 and 2014 Richard was a member of the Standing Commission on Faith and Order in the World Council of Churches, and in 2012 he was appointed to the Liturgy Commission of General Synod.

Richard’s doctoral research focused on biblical narrative and he was awarded a PhD by Monash University in 2003. His dissertation, Esther and the End of ‘Final Solutions’: Theodicy and Hebrew Biblical Narrative, was published in 2008. He is an Honorary Research Associate of the University of Divinity, and has published articles on contemporary issues of faith and society in Eureka Street and other journals and edited volumes.

Richard is married to Dr Leanne Habeeb, an Organisational Psychologist, and they have two young children, Rachel and Nicholas.

The Diocese of Gippsland is looking forward with great anticipation in welcoming Bishop Elect Richard.

Treloar is a fascinating, but perhaps unsurprising choice for Gippsland. He is an outspoken supporter of same-sex marriage, perhaps the most pressing social and doctrinal issue that the Anglican Church of Australia is divided over. A well-placed Melbourne Anglican described South Yarra parish to as “a gay clergy hub”.

In a recent submission to a Parliamentary enquiry on same-sex marriage Treloar stated:

I would rejoice in the privilege of solemnising the marriages of dozens of same‐sex couples whose relationships we have celebrated in other ways over the last decade.

The full submission is embedded below and available here.

Treloar’s appointment comes at a key moment for the Anglican Church of Australia as it continues to grapple with the vexed question of marriage. Catalysing the need for clarity is the recent broadening of marriage law in Australia to include same-sex couples.

Despite a number of very clear motions at the 2017 General Synod, debate still rages. has learned from a number of sources that at their recent annual meeting in March the bishops of Australia made a private agreement on how to proceed on the matter but have embargoed any publication of the details. understands this was the only way that the more liberal members of the house could be persuaded to sign up to the fairly conservative agreement.

Thus the appointment of Treloar raises a particular dilemma for the national church:

Given the overwhelmingly conservative nature of the 2017 General Synod motions and the recent bishops’ agreement (albeit the exact details remain unknown), how can Treloar be consecrated as a bishop who promises to uphold, promote and defend church teaching when he is not only on the public record as being categorically opposed to it on a (perhaps the) key issue of contention but has even indicated that he may have already broken church law and teaching on the issue on multiple occasions?

How can Treloar himself make those promises in good conscience?

How can other bishops consecrate him when they now know for sure he does not genuinely believe and support “the doctrine of our church and the teaching of Christ” in this key matter?

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