Over the past few weeks davidould.net has received lots of correspondence about the latest transgender priest to “come out” in the Diocese of Brisbane. We’ve held off while the Appellate Tribunal story ran, we gathered some more information and in anticipation of a story that was published in the Australian this weekend.

On 22 November 2020 a special parish meeting was called at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Ipswich, where the Rev Steve McMahon announced that he was now “Selina McMahon”. All those at the meeting received the following 10 page briefing document:

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The document is fairly self-explanatory. Sources from within the parish tell davidould.net that this is yet another of a number of instances where Rev. McMahon has withheld information from the parish about his intentions around a number of related issues. They speak of an agenda to promote a revisionist agenda around matters of sexuality and gender without ever properly consulting church members. Orthodox views have been increasingly sidelined to the extent that requests for Bible study on these topics has been rejected. So when McMahon states in the briefing document that the LGBT agenda is “not something I am pushing for” (page 9) there are those in the parish who have a very different experience.

Nor was there any wider parish consultation on a recent decision to become an “affirming church”. The “coming out” decision was not discussed with all the parish council. Overall there are a number of long-term members feeling very betrayed by an absence of consultation leading up to this profound announcement.

The 22 November meeting was described as a “congregational meeting” and yet davidould.net understands there were a number present who were not part of the congregation. They were also joined by the regional Bishop Cam Venables. No substantial questions were allowed from the floor during the meeting where McMahon’s transition to “Selina” was presented as a fait accompli with no place for debate.

“Not … a Campaigner”

McMahon says in the briefing document,

I do not see myself as a campaigner [on LGBT issues]

briefing document, p.9

McMahon took up the position at Ipswich four years ago after emigrating from the U.K. and has been an activist in the gender/sexuality debate. Here, for example, posing with other members of Equal Voices Australia (original photo link).

McMahon was listed as co-chair of the Queensland branch of Equal Voices in their most recent annual report. He preached at Brisbane’s “Pride Evensong in 2019.

This wider agenda has not been openly and proactively disclosed to all parishioners but it is hard to reconcile with McMahon’s claim.

The Diocese of Brisbane media machine has already been at work spinning positively for the story, using their online magazine to publicise the filming of an interview with McMahon.

The article in the Australian also points to stylised pictures of McMahon that appear to be from an earlier photoshoot and are published on IMDB.com.

But the co-ordination of her coming-out announcement with Dr Aspinall has raised eyebrows, especially after racy photographs of Reverend McMahon in vamp guise were posted on the movie and celebrity fan website, IMDB.

Contacted on Friday, Dr Aspinall’s spokeswoman could not say whether he knew of or endorsed Reverend McMahon’s provocative photo shoot.

Unanswered Questions

The briefing document provided at the original parish meeting raises a number of questions and seeks to avoid others.

McMahon has been actively cross-dressing since the beginning of their marriage (and, presumably, before) and was “running my whole life” from “Selina” (McMahon’s own description). Why was none of this ever disclosed to the parish prior to McMahon being given the position? Did McMahon not disclose as part of the interview process? Or did those interviewing know but choose to keep it all a secret?

Why did the bishop keep it from the parish for 18 months? If it was to protect the mental health of McMahon then why was someone with acknowledged mental health struggles allowed to take pastoral care of others (both for their own sake and those entrusted to them)? If this is not a mental health issue then why was such a radical state of affairs kept secret from those who it would most effect?

Then there is the question of McMahon’s marriage and it’s interplay with the current conflict within the Anglican Church of Australia. The Diocese of Brisbane seems to have now solidly taken the position that sex and gender are simply irrelevant to marriage. First we had the promoting of the Inkpins’ marriage as exemplary and now McMahon’s own statement (endorsed by the bishop) fudges the question in classic revisionist style.

McMahon states that “no surgery has taken place” and so “there is no bar to that union [between a man and a woman] taking place”. This comes immediately after implicit criticism of those who “believe that my transition does not make me truly female”. Which begs the question: which is it? Is McMahon now a woman or not? If “truly female” then we have a woman married to a woman. If not, then what exactly was being announced and how “female” is McMahon actually? How are parishioners and the wider church meant to respond when McMahon isn’t clear?

McMahon’s fallback on the question of marriage is to point to the “sacramental” and “unchangeable” nature of marriage, citing Jesus’ statement “what God has joined together, let no-one separate (Matt. 19:4-6. Mark 10:7-9)”. There is no hint of irony in the referencing of the full words of Jesus:

“Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Matthew 19:4–6

All these revelations comes as transsexual minister Jo Inkpin announced that they would be moving to take up the leadership at Sydney’s Pitt St. Uniting Church in the New Year.

feature image: St Paul’s Facebook Page

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24 comments on “Steve/Selina McMahon – A New Transgender Minister for the Diocese of Brisbane

  1. We reject, and do not affirm, the appointment of the soon to commence ‘transgender’ Minister of the Word at Pitt Street Uniting Church March 2021). This is an anathema to us at Booragul Evangelical Uniting Church in The Hunter Presbytery.

  2. Bible-based Christians will be aghast again. How much further can liberals possibly go?
    Surely this is another wedge to ensure the split in the Anglican Church of Australia.

  3. When I read this ghastly story, I thought immediately of Melvin Tinker and his congregation, in England, who have set an example, recently, that Anglican believers, in Australia, should follow, without more delay. Tinker acknowledges a motivating force in their leaving the Church of England as “… outright shame being within the same organisation as those whose intention was to undermine the work of the Gospel'”. See: https://anglican.ink/2020/1

    It is however difficult sometimes to understand what may be going on with so-called evangelical Anglicans. In England, they appear, as a group, to be organised along class based lines, and the same may well be true in Australia. davidould.net would know more about that than I.

  4. Thank you David for your article. As parishoners of twenty years standing at St Pauls Anglican church Ipswich Qld it confirmed for my husband and I the current situation at our church. Jonathan Sargeant has No right to make the comment he made. As Jill England stated he IS NOT a member of the congregation of St Paul’s. Sargeant has not lived through the experience of having McMahon as the Priest-in -Charge and more importantly Sargeant is not expected to finance McMahon’s lifestyle choice in the same way that the congregation of St Paul’s Ipswich are being called upon to do so by the Archbishop Phillip Aspinall. For over four years now we have been very dispairing of McMahon’s ministry. To put it bluntly, the church is dying and the rate of death has accelerated since McMahon has been in charge. When using common markers of church growth.
    My husband and I are examples of congregants who were NOT informed of the meeting that took place on 22 November 2020. We were told by the wardens that we would have received an email on the 20th informing us of the need to attend Sunday service on the 22nd, but we didn’t receive any such email. Contact with other parishioners who attended that meeting confirms that familiar faces were missing and unfamiliar faces were present. We did receive a package via the letterbox containing the 10 page explanation of McMahon’s decision and how we should be reassured. This package arrived the afternoon of the 22nd but after the meeting of the congregation. Our response was to write letters of protest (to the warden’s; Venerables and Aspinall) demanding McMahon be stood down as priest in charge. Our argument is that McMahon’s lifestyle choice cuts across the Holy Scriptures; two thousand years of Christian teaching; 500 years of Reformation theology and the basic theology underpinning the Anglican liturgy). Aspinall’s reply was that he sees no reason to stand down Steve McMahon and we should read and study diligently the 400 page report ‘Living in Love and Faith’ endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. More could be said about this issue but my husband and I have come to the conclusion that we must leave St Paul’s and the diocese of Southern Qld. To stay would suggest that we endorse and support this action.

  5. This is so very sad. Departure from Christian orthodoxy will bear no good fruit in the long term.
    My heart breaks for the faithful parishioners who are leaving…. but take heart that God’s word will prevail as people everywhere repent and turn from short-term egotistical surrender to modern culture.
    Come quickly Lord Jesus Christ!!!
    (Anglican, formerly of the Diocese of Southern Queensland)

  6. It’s a bit disappointing that the Archbishop referred people to a 400 page paper instead of the Bible.

    Here’s a link to an article that might provide a better Biblical perspective:

    https://www.thegoodbook.com/blog/news/2017/07/28/transgender-debate/

    I do not think we comprehend the power of God to change lives. I often reflect on 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    I assume that to be consistent then churches that are active in advocating for blessings for same sex marriage etc will now advocate for decriminalisation of theft and fraud and understand that the environment does not matter if someone wants to pillage it.

  7. Ultimately you all seem to miss the point that Jesus is for everyone and the bible isn’t meant to be read literally. It’s a mythology of metaphor and allegory. Ultimately, it’s ironic that for so called Christians, you act like anything but. Who gave birth to Jesus? A whore. Enough said. Maybe it’s time you all left for Hillsong?

  8. I’m 69 and was educated in Anglican schools – I see a completely different church to the one of my youth. Seems like this new p.c. agenda has infiltrated all the old traditional institutions including the armed services. Once most communities were generally united and all thought the same – there was always a few who didn’t agree – but today, everyone seems so divided due to this new thinking. It just causes disruption – maybe that’s the intention.
    We recently had a “new age” younger, female priest in our parish that was very different – half the parish loved her – the other half not happy at all, with quite a few leaving for good as a result. Thankfully we now have a “normal” priest back in charge and things have calmed down. I don’t think I’d be sticking around St. Paul’s and Rev. Selina. I am no great fan of some of the ways of the Catholic Church, but at least they seem to maintain discipline amongst their flock. I fear the Anglican Church will eventually split and fail due to the ever increasing number of “different” clergy in the ranks.

  9. Krathyn White – Even the agnostic New Testament historian and bible scholar Bart Ehrman acknowledges that Jesus exists. He became so incensed by the attitude of people such as yourself claiming that Jesus is ‘mythology’ that he authored the book “Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.” Ehrman aimed to state why all experts in the area of New Testament history agree that “whatever else you may think about Jesus, he certainly did exist.” While I disagree on Ehrman’s conclusions as to the purpose of Jesus’s life and ministry, I agree with the point Ehrman makes in regard to those who use the mythology argument. He believes they are really motivated by a desire to denounce religion. In this instance orthodox Christianity. I am assuming, since you are following the situation at the Anglican church of St Paul’s Ipswich, you are stating in an indirect manner that a real ‘Christian’ would not act in such an unloving and critical way towards Steve McMahon or even Archbishop Phillip Aspinall. Christains are men and women who accept the Bible as God’s authoritative , true and good word and who commune with God (in prayer) by his Spirit, through his word, about his Son, Jesus. Christains take the word of God (the Scriptures) very seriously. The situation at St Paul’s has come about because the actions of Steve McMahon are contrary to God’s word as are the actions of the Archbishop. What is even more alarming is that both men know God’s word and have chosen to ignore the scriptures. If you Krathyn White knew God’s Word you would not have made the denigrating comments about the Mary the mother of Jesus. I suggest that you read the Gospels and familiarize yourself with the real Jesus. Jesus was NOT afraid to challenge people who were living their lives in a way that was disrespectful of God’s word. In Luke 11:27-28 – a woman in the crowd said to Jesus. “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But Jesus said”Blessed rather those who hear the word of God and obey it!”.

  10. If women are permitted to be ordained as Ministers they should have the same opportunities as men who are ordained

  11. I tore a hole in the heavenly floor,
    to see what the trouble on earth was ‘oer,
    A small man cried through a hole in his hat,
    “God wants this and God wants that,”
    But all God wants is peace to snore,
    I know, for I live in the room next door.

    signed . . . . . St. Peter. (Author unknown.)

    It seems there are a lot of holey hats in Ipswich.

    I don’t give a continental whether it’s Selina or Steve who preaches the Gospel, from the brief encounters I’ve had with Reverend McMahon over the past four years I’ve always felt that I was in the presence of a true person of God.

    • It’s amusing to hear Heaven described by those who have no hope of ever going there unless they change their ways radically.

  12. Thank you, Jayne Bendell, for your honest and incisive comments. I too have left St Paul’s, feeling that the parishioners have been deceived and betrayed by those who were entrusted with their spiritual care.

  13. I want to reply to the Steve/Selina McMahon debate if i can call it a debate. I am an Anglican in a North Brisbane suburb who has and continues to have transgender feelings and desires. All i want say is that for someone who struggled with this issue for many decades i wish that people try to understand why this is so powerfull a need in some peoples lives.

    SM

    • Shay, I agree very much with David’s reply. I note that the negative comments above – mine included – do not concern the putative gender condition of the Ipswich priest. This is also made very clear in the article by David.

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