Synod supports Global South

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Listen to an MP3 of Archbishop Jensen's full statement here

Sydney Synod has overwhelmingly endorsed Archbishop Peter Jensen's support of Global South Primates who are holding the line against liberal trends in the American and Canadian churches.

In a special statement before a debate last night, Archbishop Jensen said Sydney Anglicans had a role to play particularly in networking and theological education.

"Sydney happens to be one of the few places with a concentration of evangelicals and a concentration of theological scholarship," Archbishop Jensen said.

"I think we would be fooling ourselves to think we will have a major role is such a seismic shift. But we would be equally foolish to think we would not be involved at all.”

Archbishop Jensen believes Sydney's support for Global South is crucial "precisely because we are from the West'.

"The fact that we exist gives, and we can speak out, brings comfort to thousands of people around the world. The motion we may pass tonight will go round the world and be a beacon of hope to many," he said.

"It shows that this is not just a battle between the West and the South. Or as some would like to pretend - the West with its educated way of doing things, and its cultural sophistication, and its wonderful zest for freedom - versus the South who really don't know what they are doing."

Archbishop Jensen added that the debate is about core doctrine such as the authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Christ.

On this point, he said that many leaders in the Episcopal Church were "syncretistic'.

Archbishop Jensen was particularly critical of the inaugral sermon of Katharine Schori, America’s Presiding Bishop-elect, where she described Jesus as "our mother'.

Archbishop Jensen quoted Bishop Steenson of the Rio Grande, who described the Episcopal Church as "America's cultural elite at prayer'.

Dr Jensen added that US society's "powerful individualism and triumphalist belief that it leads the world in civic freedoms has captured the church'.

"The new faith is a missionary religion," he said.

In contrast, Archbishop Jensen encouraged Synod to support the Global South, reminding representatives that it ‘includes 70 per cent’ of the world's ‘active Anglicans’, who have ‘a new sense of maturity and independence from the West’.

"A new breed of strong leadership is being raised up in these churches that is outward looking, missional, concerned and very impressive."

But he added that without good Bible teaching, the Global South, like any church, was only one generation away from disaster.

Debate on motion

Following Archbishop Jensen's statement, Synod debated a motion of support for the Global South primates.

Robert Tong in moving the motion said that true unity should not force Sydney Anglicans to be false to their biblical convictions.

To make his point, he quoted former British Prime Minister Harold McMillan, who said, when speaking to apartheid South Africa about remaining part of the Commonwealth, "Frankly there are some of your policies that make it impossible for us to support you without being false to our own convictions".

In seconding the motion, Bishop Peter Tasker said that Bishop Ivan Lee and himself had the privilege of visiting many dioceses in the past year.

He said that among the Dioceses seeking to discuss way Sydney can assist them with "biblically faithful' theological training for their clergy included some in Asia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zululand (South Africa), and Nelson (New Zealand).

Justice Michael Adams, representing St James' King Street, spoke against the motion.

However after debate on a number of amendments, the final motion passed easily on voices with only a few lonely "nos'.

Pray for Archbishop Williams

The Rev Gwilym Henry-Edwards, rector of Enmore and Stanmore parish, proposed a motion acknowledging the divisions in the Communion and calling on Synod to pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury.
"I actually read what the Global South Primates wrote," he said.

"It was with great pain that they wrote what they wrote… that the Anglican Communion that they love is impaired."

Mr Henry-Edwards' motion was accepted by the movers and overwhelming supported by the Synod.

Theological training for Global South

Alan Hohne, the registrar of Moore Theological College, proposed an amendment to encourage Sydney Anglicans to make partnerships with like-minded Dioceses when invited.

Mr Hohne said that he was aware that many Global South bishops are keen to form links with seminaries that are faithful in teaching the Bible, but "We need to put on record our recognition that we must be invited… and not just force ourselves on them."

After some discussion of editorial improvements so that the amendment would not confuse the main point of the motion, it too was passed.



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Faith in a Time of Crisis
Nigel Fortescue

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