Equal voices defending gospel values at Sydney synod

Thank you to the few dissenting voices representing Anglican inclusion and compassion in the face of a startling retreat by a denomination formerly committed to leavening the societal loaf.

Media reports characterise the Sydney Anglican synod as a declaration of war against contemporary Australian values but a faithful remnant from the parishes of Christ Church St Laurence and St Paul’s Burwood represented a persuasive argument for the place of the church in the public square. They are totally outnumbered but in the midst of strong winds of conservatism some parishes remain places of sanctuary in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.

The synod takes note of a changing world and places the real issues of discrimination clearly on the table without any hope that it can hide under an Anglican tea cloth.

Amid spiritual climate change deniers the screams of horror at discovering unexploded bombs of legislative exemption potentially impacting upon children have resonated through the synod. The Ruddock report and the Wentworth by-election have brokered community conversations putting government policy on notice .

Defending the ethos of the diocese or institutions against claims of discrimination looks like alarming self focus next to the prejudice against LGTBIQ people that the diocese wears boldly on its sleeve.

The latent colonialism implicit in the indigenous smoking conversation and the real questions of inflexibility ironically raised by the yoga ban will not have the last word from a community seemingly more at home in the museum than gymnasium. As Peter Catt the dean of Brisbane has noted Anglicans in the pews have already embraced marriage equality regardless of the reluctance from the pulpit or prohibitions at the altar.

The voices of humanity affirming an Anglican expression of faith that won’t dress up qualified acceptance as unconditional love will be the good news rising above the barbed wire and security alarms defending the corpse of the church’s reputation lying in state before its burial.

Synod reports may hail a great win for the status quo, but the gross injustice, assault on mental health and wellbeing is nothing to sing about and represents urgent unfinished business any conscience awake to human suffering. Rather it is the courage of a few parish clergy, the silent reproach of equal voices and feeling the certain tide of social change rolling in around the ankles of even the most conservative clerical Canutes that reveal this synod as a sign of hope and life just when it was confidently reported as nailed up and finished with new polices and ordinances appointed to guard the tomb.

The Venerable Peter MacLeod-Miller
Archdeacon of Albury


Share this Post