Magazine article Anglican Journal

Australia Says No to Women Bishops

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Australia Says No to Women Bishops

Article excerpt

Conservatives dominated the Anglican Church of Australia's triennial General Synod, where delegates declined to allow female bishops, blessing ceremonies for gay couples and the ordination of homosexual men and women.

The synod, meeting Oct. 2-8 at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, also passed a motion supporting the traditional definition of marriage as "the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life."

The triennial governing convention also unanimously approved a set of national rules that will govern clergy and church workers who interact with children. The so-called "safe ministry check" will include a questionnaire with inquiries about criminal history and a code of conduct and behavioural guidelines.

One initiative that the conservative diocese of Sydney--with 52 members a powerful force at the 235-member conference--introduced did not gain wider support, that of allowing lay people to preside over the eucharist. The church agreed to continue the discussion, but no action was taken.

Synod also decided to limit the next primate to a three-year term while the church considers appointing a full-time national bishop with no diocesan responsibilities. The current primate, Archbishop Peter Carnley, who is also the bishop of Perth, retires in May. Currently, as in Canada, the primate serves for an open-ended term, with a mandatory retirement age of 70.

The vote on women bishops was close, with a total of 62.5 per cent of the delegates voting yes, but falling short of the two-thirds, or 66. …

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