Forgive me, dear readers, we’re a whole week into 2022 and I still haven’t posted a “Top Ten” list for last year. It was a weird 12 months, wasn’t it? Covid obviously dominated our thoughts but it also led to a kicking of the Anglican can down the road. We were meant to meet in General Synod in May but that got postponed. Last year’s articles mostly reflect those 2 main topics:
10. Archbishop of Melbourne Ad Clerum: Gafcon move “unnecessary” and possibly “an attempt to shed redress responsibilities”
Archbishop Freier responded to an announcement by GAFCON clarifying their earlier stated intent to provide alternative structures for disenfranchised orthodox Anglicans. In an extraordinary move he suggested that part of the reason might be “an attempt to shed redress responsibilities”. The Anglican Church of Australia is still getting to grips with a number of historic failures in the area of child abuse and yet this was seen by many as a clumsy move.
Around the same time that Freier was making his accusations, Stuart’s response to the GAFCON move was to announce that Same-Sex Blessings could go ahead. So much for the “restraint” that the Primate had called for. And, perhaps, justification for the GAFCON announcement.
The announcement that, in some ways, catalysed nos. 10 and 9 above. GAFCON put some meat on the bones of their Commitment 2020 outlining what their proposed alternative structures would look like if required.
This piece set out the nominated candidates for Archbishop of Sydney and reported on the first few rounds of voting. Huge amount of interest in this one, even if there were very short odds to be found on the final result…
6. BREAKING: Primate writes to Bishops, criticising Gafcon – “the life of our church is being undermined from within”
Another response to the GAFCON announcement, this time from the Primate himself who draw a lot of criticism from conservatives for, once again, having very little to say about revisionist activism and lots of complaint about GAFCON. You might also be interested in my own “What the Primate Could Have Written“
Meanwhile in England Conservative Evangelicals continue to grapple with the horrible story of not only what Jonathan Fletcher did but how our constituency had allowed it to happen. Here one of his victims speaks out.
The title says it all! Here’s the piece trailing the very imminent announcement of the election of Kanishka Raffel as Archbishop of Sydney.
The long-awaited and much-delayed “Lessons Learned Review” into exactly how Jonathan Fletcher could get away with abuse over such a long period of time was finally published. Many were unhappy with the threads that were left open, which was always going to be the case given the scope of the investigation and agreed limitations on attribution of responsibility. It’s fair to say that this matter is far from being dealt with.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the piece that I wrote on 1 January set up some major themes for the year. I explored the general issue with abuse within Evangelical churches and then moved to report on a case that had recently come to attention right here in Sydney as John McMartin, pastor of Inspire Church in Liverpool, was charged with an historical sexual assault. I’ve paused reporting on that particular case while it’s before the courts, but when a verdict is reached expect to see more on that matter right here. There is a bigger story to tell and davidould.net is going to help tell it.
The article then turns to some of the detail around Jonathan Fletcher, and particularly the urgency for some of our leaders to offer up their resignations and apologies before any report (see 3. above) forces them to.
and, finally, our biggest piece of the year. It couldn’t be anything other than covid…
The heavy lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne brought an understandable range of responses. Christians grappled with the command and desire to continue to meet, juggling it with the call to submit to the authorities. We also got involved in discussions around vaccines and even mandates.
I think it’s fair to say that there was a certain degree of influence from American christians with their own particular political contexts. The more right-wing segments of the Christian internet were, understandably, the most opposed to government restrictions. When the “Ezekiel Declaration” was published I wrote a piece in partnership with Melbourne Baptist pastor Murray Campbell.
What we had hoped would be a helpful contribution to the debate instead turned into a bit of a lightning rod. One of my great sadnesses about the whole thing is that lack of nuance displayed by so many Christians and also the regular charges of apostasy and abandonment of ministry that we both received. If more right-wing positions cause young Christians to declare well-established pastors as “a disgrace” then perhaps it only demonstrates the need to write something. As it was, this obvious conservative found himself branded a leftist sell-out.
And, irony of ironies, here we are in 2022 with far less restrictions in place than in 2021 – contrary to the doomsayers.
What of 2022?
davidould.net will still be here! I can see a few things on the horizon:
- The Anglican Church of Australia General Synod should finally meet in May. Expect some fireworks with people unhappy at the end of it. I’ll be there, taking part and reporting afterwards. And keeping you up to date with everything else that goes on.
- A new vod/podcast! I’m looking to record my first episodes of “Dual Citizens” in January. Watch this space!
- Whatever else comes up!
Thanks for your support of davidould.net. I’m grateful for your comments and messages. If you have a story please let me know. Who knows? Maybe your tip-off will be the no. 1 story of 2022?!