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The New Marriage Era (Day Conference)

  • St Hilary's Kew 12 John St Kew 3101 (map)

Complex Questions and Considered Responses

As a result of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey in 2017, Australia has entered into a new era when it comes to the legal definition of marriage. In responding to this New Marriage Era, there are complex questions for the Anglican Church of Australia to consider. These questions involve theological, biblical, liturgical, and pastoral dimensions. Join us for a daytime conference with five plenary sessions and two seminar sessions as we seek to navigate these complex questions with some considered responses. This event is particularly suitable for clergy and other church workers and lay Synod representatives. 

 This event is a collaboration of EFAC Australia, St Hilary’s and the Peter Corney Training Centre

Plenary Speakers


9.30am Welcome/Setting the Scene (Bishop Matt Brain)

9.40am Marriage and the Anglican Church of Australia (Bishop Michael Stead)  

10.10am Marriage in the New Testament (Rev Natalie Rosner)

10.40am Question time 

10.50am Morning Tea

11.20am To bless or not to bless? (Rev Canon Dr Rhys Bezzant)

11.50am Responding to the Complex Pastoral Challenges at a Parish Level (Bishop Stephen Hale)

12.20pm Responding to the Complex Issues about Marriage in Synods (Bishop Richard Condie)

12.50pm Question time

1.00pm Lunch

2.00pm Seminars Session 1 (TBC) – (45 mins)

2.55pm Seminars Session 2 (45 mins)

3.45pm Wrap Up and Close (time for prayer)

4.00pm Head home

Seminar Sessions

Responding to the Complex Issues About Marriage in Synods – a follow on

This seminar is a follow on to the Plenary Session of the same title.  In many mixed Dioceses and in the General Synod, these are difficult debates that needed to be handled with care. This session will give some extra time to look at what we should be saying, how we should be saying it, and will also discuss some practical strategies for engaging in the Synod process.

Rev Colleen Arnold-Moore


EFAC International - a Fellowship for those who choose to stay and those who have to go

Globally we often hear stories of those who have chosen (or been forced) to leave the Anglican Church. At the same thine there are those who also choose to stay. How do we maintain fellowship and mutual respect whichever way we go? 

Bishop Stephen Hale is Lead Minister of St Hilary’s, a multi-site church in the inner east of Melbourne. He is Chair of EFAC Australia and a member of the EFAC International Executive Committee; Chair of Christian Coach Institute; and Chair of Arrow Leadership: International Development. He is a member of General Synod and was formerly Bishop of the Eastern Region of the Diocese of Melbourne. Stephen is married to Karen with two adult children.


Revisers or Revisionists?
Is a shift on same sex relationships a shift on everything?

What should we make of people who still think of themselves as Bible-believing Christians, but who adopt a new view on same sex relationships? How do we avoid rigid conformity on the one hand, and the abolition of truth on the other? Should we treat people with ministry responsibility differently to others? What does ‘speaking the truth in love’ look like in this situation? 

Peter Adam was born in Melbourne, and trained for the ministry at Ridley College Melbourne, and was ordained in 1970. His major ministries have included lecturing at St John’s College Durham, UK, serving as Vicar of St Jude’s Carlton from 1982-2002, and as Principal of Ridley College from 2002-2012. He is now Vicar Emeritus at St Jude’s. He has published a number of books, including Bible commentaries and Anglican history.

Engaging young people in responding to the changing environment on Marriage

Youth and young people are arguably in the most pressurised context when it comes to defining marriage in the new era. How can we as church leaders support our young people when there is seemingly only one response from their entire demographic? We will discuss how we can begin to equip and care for young people as they love their friends in the new era.  

Lars Vorlicek is the Youth Minister of the St Hilary’s Network and the Youth Director for CMS Victoria. He is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Theology at Ridley Theological College and a Diploma of Business & Leadership through the Charlie Bell School of Management. He is extremely passionate about ministry to youth and aims to be innovative and Christ-centred in all of his ministries.

Watch your language - making sure we're pastorally thoughtful and clear in how we speak

It's important to think carefully not only what we believe about marriage, but also how we articulate what we believe. Who we are speaking to and the context in which we're speaking are important factors to consider in thinking about what we say and how we say it. We may be speaking to Christians, to non-Christians, to an individual or in a corporate setting. We may or may not know the circumstances of the person or people we’re speaking to. This seminar will consider how these issues shape the way we communicate about marriage.

Denise Nicholls


Offering love and hope for same sex attracted and transgender members

The gospel offers hope for those dealing with issues around sex, need, and brokenness. Journey Australia works with people and pastors to support them to discover and live lives of hope in these areas where shame can typically hurt.  David will be sharing a pastoral framework to approaching need interspersed with testimony and discussion. 

David Desmond is a member of St Matthews Prahran, a business owner, dad of three and Director of Journey Australia, a discipleship ministry operating in Melbourne and Sydney with a focus on Identity, Relationships and Sexuality.  


Supporting families with same sex attracted and transgender members

When a person comes out as same sex attracted or transgender, the focus is generally on their need for support. However the family and especially the parents often need just as much support in navigating their way through this, especially those who still hold fast to the Biblical framework of gender and marriage. Now with the changed legal definition of marriage, and the current social climate, it can be an even greater challenge for these parents to hold fast to their faith, while still extending love to their family member. How as Christian parents is this manageable, and how best can the church support them in this? 

Sonja Schryvers is on the management committee of Renew Ministries and has run a support group in Melbourne for parents with same sex attracted and transgender children for the last 8 years. She is also a retired school teacher, and mother of 3 adult children.  

Earlier Event: August 12
Starting School Well