Perth Synod – What to (Not) Expect

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The Anglican Archdiocese of Perth meets in synod this coming weekend. After last year’s drama, interested observers might have expected more to be pushed on the issue of same-sex relationships.

The reality, I’m told by sources in Perth, is that the revisionists have recognised that they’re going to get nowhere at the moment with Archbishop Herft’s decision to veto their motions on this topic and, instead, are choosing to let it all rest. For now.

So there’s nothing contentious on the business paper (so far). But what there is is a motion for unity…





Bishop Kay Goldsworthy
Bishop Kay Goldsworthy

This follows on, as the motion itself explains, from the General Synod of earlier this year. It endorses unity in a diocese that is, in fact, quite divided. I’m told that Herft’s decision to veto the motion on human sexuality last year has upset a good number of the more liberal activists. It’s also led, sources tell me, to some embarassment for Bishop Kay Goldsworthy who voted for the original motion (despite knowing where her Archbishop stood) but then fell into line and voted against it at Provincial Council a month later. It’s also been suggested to me that this public disagreement with her ordinary may have some relation to her subsequent movement out of the Archbishop’s office into another. Herft is well known as someone who values unity highly.

So Perth is in an interesting position. The reality is that the Archbishop is now functioning as a sea anchor holding back a diocesan synod that is seeking to move in a more liberal direction. While he remains in office he will veto any further move towards liberalising the position on human sexuality. But Perth will elect a new Archbishop in 2018 and there is every likelihood that the next man (or woman) in that position will be much more favourable towards revision.

The Synod enters a new triennium in 2015 when it will also elect a new board of electors for the Archepiscopal election. For now, however, it seems that everyone is going to sit on their hands and wait. The good ship Perth will wait with the engine idling till a new captain is installed who will weigh anchor.


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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Ron Johnson

    I admire Roger Herft.
    He came in following Peter Carnley and his hand-picked followers. It must have been a difficult situation!

    I think with Roger's appointment, that in itself was a move away from the most liberal direction that the Diocese had already moved to.
    Roger came as a Bible-believing leader which could not have been said of his predecessor.

    Yes, there may be those waiting in the wings for his retirement, but there may also be those of the Carnley era who will be gone by then as well.

    Roger has set a far better direction for the Diocese to move in the future. We should pray for him and the Bible-believing leaders in the Perth Diocese.
    If they pass this motion on moving towards unity and they are open to further change, then it can only be a good thing.

  2. David Ould

    hi Ron. You're right, Herft needs our prayers. He's taken a bold move in opposing the liberalising agenda.

  3. Gavin Parsons

    Thanks for the update, I pray for my Perth Anglican friends

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