Friday, February 29, 2008

The tentacles of Sydney

Wandering around the blogs, I learn that one of the parishes in Vancouver trying to secede to the Southern Cone, St John's, Shaughnessy, is run by an ex-Sydney type Rev David Short, son of the retired bishop of Wollongong, Ken Short. For my overseas readers, Wollongong is just a region within the diocese of Sydney. So we have another example of Sydney muscling in on the affairs of other dioceses around the world.
What amazes me is the variety in the churches/dioceses running off to the Southern Cone. My reading regarding San Joaquin is that it is very catholic. I read where they reserve the sacrament, highly illegal in Sydney. Sydney also bans the wearing of the chasuble, shows disapproval of anything more than a surplice and stole and some, including the Dean of the cathedral, look more like escapees from Presbyterianism. The Archbishop is known to conduct services in collar and tie. They turn up their collective noses at incense and candles and only change the colours when the old ones need washing.
So Rev David Short would be most uncomfortable in San Joaquin.
Another church which has voted to go south is St Chad's, Toronto where the acting priest was Rev. Barbara Richardson. Hullo, isn't that a woman? I am sure David Short, coming from Sydney would not want a woman priest and I understand that is also the case with those departing from San Joaquin.
It seems the only thing they have in common is their homophobia. And it is homophobia despite their protestations to the contrary. Once they have gathered into this cosy little group, shoved out all the poofs and locked the doors, the squabbling regarding other matters should be great fun to watch.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Altar Cloth at Christchurch cathedral

I seem to have stirred up a hornet's nest by describing my visit to Christchurch cathedral on Anglicans Together. I wanted to illustrate the attempts by Sydney evangelicals to extend their pernicious influence abroad.
At least I have learnt more about the controversial altar cloth. it can be viewed at:

Apparently the offending section is in Sanskrit and comes from Hindu writings (Surely Christians can learn from others) and reads:

"From the unreal, lead me to the real. From darkness lead me to the light. From death lead me to immortality."

This is a similar concept to what is found in A New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (p.164).

World Peace Prayer

Lead me from death to life,
from falsehood to truth;
lead me from despair to hope,
from fear to trust;
lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart,
our world, our universe.

A beautiful prayer in my opinion whatever its origins.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Let's be optimistic.

So much news in Anglicandom is depressing and complicated that I think I will post from Rev Susan Russell
For you see, their coup d’├ętat has failed.

It becomes increasingly clear ...
  • that Lambeth Conference will happen,
  • the the Primates have played their cards and are done calling the shots,
  • that the American Episcopal Church will NOT be voted off the Anglican Island,
  • that blessings and ordinations will continue to happen,
  • that gay and lesbian clergy will continue to courageously live into their episcopal vocations and that the church will be enriched by their witness
  • that they are not going to get to create their own "parallel jurisdiction" and call it Anglican
and from my good friend Davis, in a comment at Mad Priest's place

Count me as one gay Yank who is not threatened by this. I cannot see it as anything but temporary.

The times they are a changin' no matter what the extreme right may think.

Now to go and pray that it may be so.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

More Good News from New Zealand

Emigrating gets more and more likely.
From the Guardian
Interesting times beckon in Antipodean Anglicanism, where the former Canadian bishop Victoria Matthews - narrowly beaten to become Canada's primate last summer - has been elected Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, a place she has never visited. She is a theological conservative who nevertheless voted that gay partnerships do not violate core church doctrines, which should bring her into interesting relations with the arch-conservative Archbishop of Sydney across the Tasman Sea, Peter Jensen, who does not believe that women should be put in charge of anything, least of all a church.
Apparently her appointment still has to be ratified by the NZ Bishops and General Synod but she is not the first woman to be appointed a Bishop in NZ (Bishop Penny Jamieson was Bishop of Dunedin). +Jensen ignored her when she visited Sydney.
I remember fondly my visit to the Cathedral at Christchurch in November 2006

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More on the the letter to +Jensen

In case you are one of the few who might read here and not visit Caliban's Dream, please go visit. His report on what is happening regarding this letter in an ordinary Sydney parish has cheered me up immensely. I know my sister has spread it around many friends, good Anglican ladies who are keen to have a copy and send it individually. My sister may be slightly biased with her younger brother, but these ladies do not know my deep dark secret. My mother loved me unconditionally but she had a silly idea that my sexuality might be her fault and she would rather her friends did not know. (She was 96 when she died 18 months ago). I always respected her wishes and have only become more public since her death. Hopefully the Jensenites will find that their hard-line stand is not as accepted as they believe even in their own diocese. It is certainly becoming clear that they are a very small grouping in the Worldwide Anglican Communion.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Letter to Archbishop Jensen

Thankfully something is happening at Anglicans Together.

They have composed a letter to be presented in sympathetic parishes regarding the refusal of Sydney Bishops to attend Lambeth.
It is much more polite than anything I would compose, however I am publishing it here for the the many Anglicans in the Diocese of Sydney who may attend unsympathetic parishes or where the Rector is unwilling to put his neck on the line. They may like to copy and sign it individually and send to the Archbishop.

The Archbishop’s address is
PO Box Q 190
QVB Post Office 1230.


Dear Archbishop Peter,

We - the undersigned parishioners of ............................................................. – respect your sole authority to decide whether to attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference or not. We write to say that we are profoundly disappointed at your decision, as announced Saturday 2 February. We would like you to reconsider your decision, prayerfully, on the following grounds:
 . this decision has clearly alienated you from most of Australia’s Anglican bishops, including this Province of which you are Metropolitan;
. your decision, in conjunction with your decision to take a prominent role in the Global Anglican Future Conference, appears to many to be at variance with your professed claims of commitment to and prayers for the Anglican Communion;
 . the grounds given for your decision – standing for Biblical truth – impugn the integrity of many parishes and parishioners of this Diocese, who conscientiously seek to take the Bible with absolute seriousness in their Christian discipleship and evangelism, yet maintain different interpretations;
. the grounds of your decision suggest that authentic Christian belief and discipleship are inseparable from the most stringent interpretation of all biblical texts, which detracts from justification by faith alone;
. you and the other bishops have much to contribute and much to gain from Lambeth, with its rich, complex, and diverse engagement with fellow bishops, and its focus on equipping bishops to fulfil their leadership role in God’s mission;
. our experience is that bishops who have attended Lambeth Conferences in the past have returned with new energy and enthusiasm which they have then imparted to their dioceses, so we believe the Diocese of Sydney will be impoverished by your absence.

We therefore respectfully ask you again to reconsider your decision.

If you decide that you personally cannot attend, we ask that at least one of the Assistant Bishops attend, so we of the Diocese can benefit accordingly.

In His name,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


There are a number of matters I would like to blog about but by far the first in importance tonight is how proud I am of what is happening in Canberra today and tomorrow.
Today for the first time, Parliament opened with a 'Welcome to Country" ceremony from the local indigenous people. A recognition of our first people in such a way has been a long time coming. Many years ago I was struck by the greater recognition given to Maori people in New Zealand and this was also noticeable on my one visit to Canada and its First Peoples. In recent years there has been some growing recognition of indigenous peoples at meetings I have attended here in Australia but it is wonderful that it should finally have happened at the most important meeting in the country, the opening of Parliament. I observed last year that all worship services I attended in New Zealand began with a Maori greeting, but have not yet seen that here in Australia. I was pleased to work briefly in a High School last year where the original owners of the land were recognised at the commencement of each school assembly, I hope that practice is spreading.
Tomorrow, our parliament will finally say sorry, mainly to the stolen generations, but also for all "the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. "
Like many Australians, I signed a sorry statement many years ago. However we have had to wait for the election of a far sighted, compassionate Prime Minister before we have been able to witness the word 'sorry' being said on behalf of our Parliament.
I know I will have many criticisms to make of Kevin Rudd over the coming years, especially in his tardiness over gay rights reform but I will forever be grateful to him for what he is doing tomorrow. The comparison with the mean-spirited little man he replaced is huge. As I said at the beginning, after many years I can finally again be proud to be Australian.
I was both moved and amused by the following.
The Prime Minister followed the apology with the story of one woman from among the thousands of the stolen generation and included that the government in the 1930's decided the children would be put into the care of Christian Missions, but which one? They were put into 3 lines, those on the left became Catholic, those in the centre became Methodist, those on the right became Church of England (often this split brothers and sisters). As the Prime Minister said "Thus were complex problems of post-reformation theology solved in Outback Australia."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Replies re Jensen's boycott

Today's Sydney Morning Herald has letters to the editor. They did not publish mine which focussed on the point made by Jensen that the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson had made it difficult for the African Anglicans living amongst Muslims.
I wrote:
"If Archbishop Jensen is so worried about the opinions of Muslims, perhaps he will demand Anglican women wear the chador in future. Nothing would surprise me. He does not speak for the Anglican church. So far no other Diocesan Bishop in Australia agrees with him let alone the rest of the world. There are many of us forced to live and worship in Sydney who would like to request alternative oversight from the Bishop Newcastle, Dr Farran who represents true Anglican inclusiveness and diversity."
Five letters were published
I can ignore Rev. Scott Blackwell who is Anglican Chaplain to Macquarie University and comes from Christchurch, St Ives, a hotbed of fundamentalism and also Dr Peter Barnes who is a Presbyterian minister in Sydney so probably also indoctrinated at Moore College.
I did give Jensen his full title of Archbishop (although not in my blog, I admit) but Blackwell could not extend the same courtesy to Archbishop Aspinall, Anglican Primate of Australia. His origins are displayed in his snide comments regarding incense.
Archdeacon Ian Palmer is in the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn but apparently recently moved from Newcastle (Australia). While he criticises Jensen for his 'holier than thou' attitude and lack of courageous leadership, he also criticises the US Episcopal church for flouting the moral authority of Lambeth. I would remind him that 1968 Lambeth did not recommend women being ordained as priests but had changed its mind by 1978 AFTER TEC, Canada and New Zealand had followed Hong Kong(pre '68) in the ordination of women to the priesthood. If we always waited for Lambeth to act, very little would be achieved.
The two letters from apparent lay persons ridicule the obvious inconsistencies in upholding the infallibility of the Bible. I liked George Pugh's reference to "the Anglican evangelical wing's unhealthy excitement about homosexuals in the church."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

His Master's Voice?

Curiosity made me research Bishop David Mulready of the Anglican Diocese of North-West Australia and I found this just posted today referring to an ABC interview of a few days ago.
Women are prohibited from leadership in the Anglican Church, he said, because the Bible says so.

He quoted this passage, from Paul’s first Letter to Timothy: “Women should learn in silence and all humility. I do not allow them to teach or to have authority over men; they must be quiet.” The passage goes on to say: “For Adam was created first, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and broke God’s law.”

But he adds kindly: “But a woman will be saved through having children, if she perseveres in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.”
Nuff said. Quite obvious that he is a graduate of Moore College. Also I note all his new priests, sorry presbyters, come from Sydney.
The Diocese claims to be the largest in area in the Anglican church, however it only has 18 parishes and most of them are supported by funds from Sydney so I guess we can see Mulready head for Gafcon not Lambeth.

Sydney alone among the Aussies, Yeah

As I expected, Sydney is almost alone.
Bishops condemn Sydney dissent
THE Anglican Primate of Australia, Phillip Aspinall, said yesterday that it was difficult to understand the decision by the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, to boycott this year's Lambeth Conference, as virtually all Australian bishops declined to support Dr Jensen.

The Bishop of Newcastle, Brian Farran, said he was boycotting the "Futures" conference for conservative Anglican bishops being organised by Dr Jensen.
Dr Aspinall said: "I think the only way we can really address issues of deep difference in the life of the church is to come together, pray together, study the scriptures and speak openly with each other. That some bishops seem willing to forgo this important opportunity is disappointing."

I am pleased to see Bishop Brain of Armidale is not in support. He is from Sydney. There is no comment from North West Australia, where Bishop Mulready is also from Sydney.
The only other possibilities are the 2 extreme anglo-catholic dioceses in Victoria, no news yet. They make very strange bed-fellows for Sydney but are linked over their opposition to women priests.

Monday, February 04, 2008


How wonderful. Gafcon is a construction company in Southern California and "Gafcon ranks #12 on the San Diego Business Journal's Women-Owned Business list".

A prayer of an experienced traveller

I am a keen tourist, only hindered by lack of funds. I spend a lot of time on and pride myself on booking all aspects of my tours except air travel on the internet.
My sister has sent me the following. Being a good librarian I searched the net for a possible source but while it is found in many places, I could not find an original attribution.

A prayer of an experienced traveller.

Heavenly father, look down upon us, your humble obedient traveller servants, who are doomed to travel this earth, taking photographs, mailing postcards, buying souvenirs and walking in drip-dry underwear. We beseech you, oh Lord, that our car is not hijacked, our luggage is not lost and that our overweight baggage goes unnoticed. Protect us from surly and unscrupulous taxi drivers and English speaking guides.

Give us this day divine guidance in our selection of hotels. May we find our reservations honoured, our rooms made up and hot water running from the tap if at all possible. We pray that the phones work and that the operator speaks our tongue, that there is no mail waiting from our children which would force us to cancel the rest of our trip.

Lead us oh lord to good inexpensive restaurants, where the wine is included in the price of the meal, the food is superb and the waiters are friendly.

Give us the wisdom to tip correctly, in currencies we don't understand.

Forgive us for under tipping out of ignorance and over tipping out of fear.

Make the natives love us for what we are and not for what we can contribute to their worldly goods. Grant us the strength to visit museums, the cathedrals and the palaces listed as "musts" and if, per chance, we skip an historical monument to take a nap after lunch, have mercy on us for our flesh is weak!!

Dear God, protect our wives from "bargains" they don't need or cannot afford.

Lead them not into temptation, for they know not what they do!

Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in cafes and nightclubs.

But above all, please do not forgive them their trespasses, for they know exactly what they do.

And when our trip is over, grant us the favour of finding someone who will look at our home movies and listen to our stories so our lives as tourists will not have been in vain.


At least it moves that photo down the page. Thanks to Madpriest for the link, perhaps it explains the international visitors on the right. Lebanon? Slovenia? Perhaps I should ask here for travel tips. Anyone from the Baltic States? Thanks to Doorman-Priest for the link to NeoCounter, not sure how long it will stay, a bit distracting.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

"Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?"

No, I do not expect any men to turn out with swords but I do wish we could be rid of the Jensens and all their cronies. After reading yesterday that Akinola claimed the Sydney bishops would not be attending Lambeth, I searched for the evidence without success. I need not have wasted my time as the first news this morning had me jumping out of bed quivering with rage. It took a while to settle myself to my regular scripture reading. Yes, although a gay Anglo-catholic, I read my Bible every morning.
Sydney's bishops to snub summit.
The online photo is different from the one in the paper version. (above)
I do not know which one is more accurate. The online one shows him in collar and tie, apparently ashamed of his status as a bishop. The one in the paper while taken on one of those few occasions when he was wearing episcopal robes illustrates his viewpoint that he knows everything, how dare you think otherwise. (Why does it remind me of Phelps?)
I am adding some of the comments from Thinking Anglicans that display my views.
Oh well, never mind.
Posted by: Wilf

Yes, because, of course, the worst possible way to heal divisions in an organization is to gather and talk with those you may disagree with. The best way is to meet only with those who agree with you in another place and make plans to form a separate organization.

Yes, that's the way to healing.
Posted by: Pat O'Neill

It's probably very true to say that their presence wouldn't help heal the divisions within the communion
Posted by: James Rigney

Will they now stop going to the annual Australian bishops' conference as well? Please?
Posted by: Mrs Barlow

How childish can you get? "I'm not coming to your party!!"

I'll second the general thrust of Pat O'Neill's sarcastic comments too.
Posted by: Tim

... have decided not to attend the Lambeth Conference ...

... remain fully committed to the Anglican Communion ...

Posted by: Mark Bennet

God be praised. I would always appreciate from people of Jensen's 'heart' to stay home instead, wishing they knew more about people's sex lives or whatever ticks them off...
Posted by: Leonel

This IS good news! Now, perhaps Sydney will do Australian Anglicans a favor too, and stay away from their General Synod. GOOD RIDDANCE, I say!
Posted by: Kurt

>>the Archbishop and Bishops of the Diocese of Sydney ... remain fully committed to the Anglican Communion ... but sense that attending the Conference at this time will not help heal its divisions.

And exactly what is it, oh wise Australian Sydney bishops, that will help heal divisions?

Can't say I'm surprised, on one level, part of me can't say I'm bothered. From what I know of the Australian Church, there are plenty of people there that would much rather the Sydney diocese and its leadership would stay at home more often.

On another level, very sad that anyone decides they do not wish to be there this Summer - regardless of their churchmanship. It's another nail in the coffin of Anglican unity because some of those who are considered (at least by those who appointed them) to be our great and good, who are supposed to show leadership, humility, wisdom, faith and love by example to the rest of us, decide they'd much rather take their ball home and act like children than play with someone who might actually share a different opinion to their own.
Posted by: David

Well, as Jed Bartlet used to say "Decisions are made by those who show up". You don't show up, you don't get to complain about the decisions.

Posted by: Justin Lewis-Anthony

Oh the humanity. Jensen is speaking for himself and the other five bishops in the Diocese of Sydney. His title "Archbishop" derives purely from the fact that he is the bishop of Sydney. Sydney is a part of the Province of New South Wales of which he is metropolitan which means little as far as telling bishops what to do.

Appearances are not what they seem. I wonder if Akinola knows he's running with small fry, or if he's instead taking advantage of the difficulty in making these distinctions.
Posted by: John B. Chilton

and they should have added...

" And we shall be signing lay presidency into action shortly after Lambeth, which will rock the Angllican Communion to the core.
So we do not want to sign up to any wishy washy Covenant that infringes our jurisdictional independence, and stops that legitimate Biblical development, freeing Anglicanism from the last vestiges of priestcraft. "
Posted by: Robert Ian Williams

Broad tent Anglicans still live in Sydney. Do not underestimate Australians’ stoicism. The harder souls attempt to suppress and oppress Aussies, the greater their commitment to freedom and their determination increases inside their cores (we're very Jewish, in that sense).

There are still many examples of broad tent Christianity in Sydney. Many members and leaders of various faith communities are doing excellent work at peace making, revering Creation, offering hospitality, nurturing the poor, allowing souls to develop and manifest their gifts (including females). Secular leaders have continued to show more awe of God than some religious leaders.

The current communion is being divided, into those who abhor violence and desire peace, and those who crave power and vilification.
Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough

Perhaps TEC and the AngChurchAustralia can compare notes?

* How to restart a diocese (San Joaquin, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh)
* How to restart an Archdiocese (Sydney).

The important thing: as the wonderful people of "Remain Episcopal" (San Joaquin) have taught us, how BLESSED it is when the Anglican faith is FREE to be practiced again!

Better times in Sydney ARE coming. Alleluia! :-D

[Lord have mercy on the Brothers Jensen---and on us all.]
Posted by: JCF

When I was young we used to make fun of the "double speak" of the soviets, now I live under a president in the US who has done nothing but double speak for seven years. How sad an archbishop of my church must speak this disingenuous language as well.
Posted by: Canon G

I only wish it were possible for the comments of JCF to be true. Sadly there seems to be little objection from within the Diocese. I understand the unwillingness of priests to put their heads on the line but would like more laypeople to speak out. Very little comes from Anglicans Together. I have heard nothing since the dinner last October. Must we leave it to those like Muriel Porter from Melbourne.
I see the Rev Robert Wheeler at St Peter's Cremorne is retiring this month. Hope they can find a suitable replacement but almost has to be from outside the Diocese and who of integrity would want to come and work in Sydney at the moment?
I will have to post again soon, I could not stand to have that creepy photo on the first page for too long.

Friday, February 01, 2008

What's in a name?

Have had comments about the very unoriginal name for my blog. I have never been very innovative in such things and have tried all the variants I could think starting in B & R without success.
I have long known that Brian meant 'noble' and have now found that Ralph means 'wolf counsel' so 'Noble Wolf ' is as good as any. Will leave the old name for a few weeks so that my regular visitors do not feel disoriented.

Jensens and music

I am grateful to Madpriest for the following link.
How does he keep up with it all? He (living in Northern England) has posted titbits from the Sydney Morning Herald before I have even collected it from the front lawn.

Archbishop of Sydney 'vandalising' Anglican culture.

In case you do not read him, Peter Phillips, Director of the Tallis Scholars, has written an article accusing the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, and his brother Philip, the Dean of St Andrew's Cathedral, of vandalising Anglican music and culture in their city.

I would not even bother visiting the cathedral anymore. I believe the numbers are falling. Across the city at St James, King Street music is a very important part of worship. During January and continuing next week there has been a series of orchestral masses (yes the word mass in an Anglican church within the Sydney Diocese) by Charpentier, Haydn and Rheinberger. The church is always packed for such events even during the holiday season downunder.

Jensen was on TV during the week visiting St James for the annual Law service. It was a surprise to see him in his Bishop's robes, well what has always passed for bishop's robes here in Sydney, no cope or mitre here. Guess he would have felt a bit dowdy in his usual suit, tie and academic gown when all the judges were wearing red gowns and full wigs.
I do wonder what goes through his mind as he observes the crucifix on the wall behind the pulpit. A comment on Madpriest's blog referred to the altar in St Andrew's cathedral. Tut, tut, there is no altar in Sydney's cathedral. The communion table on wheels is only brought out when necessary. We do not want anything sacramental to be on display. Really communion is so unimportant we can leave it to the laity. I mean, give the women a job where they feel important, it is only like serving at tables anyway. Allow the men to do the real job of pontificating from the pulpit. And they still call themselves Anglican?????

Keelty's Keystone Kops

Mick Keelty, Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, does not want press reporting when his group of incompetents try to protect us from terrorists. I bet Mohammed Haneef does not agree. Without the revelations of the press assisted by Haneef's lawyers, Keelty might have got away with imprisoning an innocent man on hearsay. He was very upset that they revealed the full transcripts of interviews not just his careful selection and even more about allowing the truth of the whereabouts of a phone in the UK to be revealed. The courts may have hopefully granted justice after a few years. It is about time Keelty woke up to the fact that his political masters have changed. He acts like a politician, they do not like press coverage either except when it suits them, so he should resign and join the Liberal party then we can ignore him for at least 3 years.