Sydney Standing Committee Issue Statement on Gippsland

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The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Sydney has expressed ‘dismay’ at what it calls ‘a breach of fellowship and trust’ with the Bishop of Gippsland who has appointed a partnered gay man to a ministry position in his diocese.

The appointment was announced earlier this year in the Gippsland diocesan newspaper. The resulting controversy led to the adoption of an Australian bishops’ protocol on sexuality.

Now, Bishop John Mcintyre has announced his intention to continue such appointments, saying to his Synod “I will appoint to office in our diocese those whom I believe God is calling to minister among us……..I am willing to live with any consequences that may arise from remaining true to that commitment.”

The Standing Committee resolution ‘notes its dismay’ at the Bishop’s comments from which, it says, “it is reasonable to infer his intention to appoint, amongst others, practising homosexuals to ministry roles in his Diocese and support same-sex marriages.”

The resolution continued “Standing Committee considers that Bishop McIntyre’s earlier appointment of a practising homosexual to a ministry office and his May 18, 2012 statement represent –

(a)        a departure from the teaching of Scripture,

(b)        a departure from the Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998,

(c)        a departure from Faithfulness in Service §7.4,

(d)        a breach of the Australian Bishops’ Protocol agreed to by all Australian bishops (including the Bishop of Gippsland) in March this year,

(e)        a breach of trust and fellowship at a profound level which deeply grieves us.”

The resolution was passed at Standing Committee’s monthly meeting on 28th May.

So there it is, on the record – a catalogue of the various breaches. I wonder if a number of other dioceses will follow suit and, better yet, a number of diocesans?

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  1. Andrew Reid

    Just saw this article in Melbourne’s Age today.

    James Grant, former Melbourne bishop and dean of St Paul’s cathedral, has accused Archbishop Freier of publicly opposing homosexual clergy, but privately looking the other way. Not sure the newspapers are the best place for this discussion, but there you go.
    What makes the article strange is that Bishop Grant was pretty high up the candle during his ministry in Melbourne, and not exactly the strongest advocate of mission and evangelism, at least as far as evangelicals would understand the term. One of my friends did a PhD on the history of the diocese of Melbourne becase he felt Bishop Grant’s book was too coloured by his Anglo-Catholic perspective.

    1. Malcolm Thomas

      The Fr James Grant in this article is not Bishop James Grant, but a former Anglican vicar who has joined the Anglican Ordinariate!

  2. David Ould

    thanks Andrew, I’d seen that but didn’t realise he was a former bishop in Melbourne. This is the money quote:

    Regrettably, Archbishop Freier may be seen by critics as a prime example of our present dysfunction. He is regularly backed into ‘moral quick sand’. As a sop to Evangelicals, he affirms his opposition to the ordination of practicing gay men, yet to appease liberal colleagues, he licences and supports their ministry, partnerships, and living arrangements, if approved locally by the congregation. This sort of response, which sidesteps clear and consistent principle, gives credence to the view that such leadership is weak and compromised.


  3. Andrew Reid

    Sorry, this is a different James Grant, a current priest, not the retired former Bishop and Dean of the Cathedral. There should be a law about people forbidding priests with the same name in the same diocese. But then again, I can’t talk, my parish priest in Melbourne is called Andrew Reid, too!

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