Marriage and the Anglican Church of Australia

The Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia binds our church – unalterably – to the “commands”, “doctrine” and “discipline” of Christ, and to the “doctrines and principles” of the Book of Common Prayer. This session explores what implications this has for the doctrine of marriage of our church.

Rt Rev Dr Michael Stead is the Bishop of South Sydney. Prior to his consecration as bishop in 2015, he was the rector of St James Turramurra. He is married to Felicity, and the couple have three children. Michael has extensive experience in church affairs nationally and internationally.  He is a member of the General Synod Standing Committee and has been the Secretary of the General Synod Doctrine Commission since 2005. Internationally, he is an active supporter of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon). He is Chair of EFAC NSW and Vice President of EFAC Australia.

Marriage in the New Testament

As the Anglican Church of Australia considers its response to popular and legal changes to the shape of marriage in Australia, it is essential to reflect on the picture of marriage painted in the Bible. In particular, what does the New Testament say about who marriage is for, the purpose of marriage and the essential nature of marriage? And how should the New Testament’s view of marriage shape our doctrine and behaviour in the Anglican Church of Australia today?

Rev Natalie Rosner, formerly a lawyer, is an Associate Minister at St Hilary’s, Kew and the Director of the Peter Corney Training Centre. In the past she has been a chaplain and faculty member at Mary Andrews College, Sydney and has also held a number of different ministry positions in Anglican churches in both Sydney and Melbourne. Natalie is a Vice-President of the New Cranmer Council, a Lay Ministry Examining Chaplain for the Diocese of Melbourne, and writes for Fixing Her Eyes. She is married to Brian and has one son and three step-children.

To Bless or Not To Bless?

In the media, and often in church, the language of blessing is used in a variety of ways. However, when considering the nature of blessing in terms of same-sex marriage, we must consider theological, liturgical, and pastoral dimensions in using this concept. This talk will provide insights into the language of blessing in the Bible's story line, in Anglican practice, and in our own pastoral encounters. 

Rhys Bezzant lectures in Church History at Ridley College. Ordained as an Anglican minister in Melbourne, he has worked in university and parish settings, and is Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center Australia and Visiting Fellow at the Yale Divinity School. His most recent publication is Edwards the Mentor (Oxford University Press 2019). He serves as Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, and on both the Liturgy Commission and Doctrine Commission of the General Synod.

Responding to the Complex Pastoral Challenges at a Parish Level

In every faith community there are many complex pastoral challenges in relation to same sex relationships.  How do we balance upholding orthodoxy and yet being genuinely inclusive? How do we support families with same sex attracted members? How do we hold together in an area with a wide range of views and responses as well as a high level of emotion? How do we keep the doors for conversation open? Can having a well-crafted set of pastoral guidelines help?

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.