Emptying the churches

In the breaking news this week, two venerable church centres, one a parish and one a diocese, are being targeted by theological revisionists. The cases are frightening in their similarity and for what they presage for others.

Both St George's, Tron in Scotland and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina are in the news this week. Both, despite having flourishing ministries, have been the target of those who want to impose liberal theology, including, but not restricted to, the ordination of practising homosexuals.

In the case of Tron, there are remarkable similarities to the case of St John's Shaughnessy in Vancouver, Canada, where the largest Anglican church in the country was thrown out of its building because of its orthodoxy. Tron is an active evangelical church that just seeks to get on with preaching the gospel. The Tron case has had some media coverage, especially with the support of Archbishop Jensen, and there's an update from the senior minister here.

The other big case this week is the action by the head of the Episcopal church in the US (TEC) to charge the Bishop of South Carolina, Mark Lawrence, with abandonment of his post. The church, under Lawrence, has been seeking to remain faithful to orthodox ministry while remaining in the increasing liberal TEC. In the end, TEC blinked first and declared Bishop Lawrence guilty of abandonment. Immediately their bishop was attacked, the diocese withdrew from TEC and will now hold a convention to decide its next steps.

These two cases are the most significant since Vancouver.

Other things in our speed read this week, charities in the news here and here, the euthanasia push revving up again, and Nigerian christians still in the midst of violence.

Russell Powell has more than 30 years experience across all forms of media, with a long career as one of Australian radio's most prominent journalists and presenters. He was one of the pioneers of the ABC's NewsRadio network. As well as his on-air work, he has taught at the Australian Film, TV and Radio School. He is now the CEO of Anglican Media Sydney and the Archbishop of Sydney's Media Adviser.


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