Welcome/Setting the Scene

Having been born in Sydney, and grown up in Perth, Bishop Matt Brain has lived and ministered with his family across the breadth of Australia. Bishop Matt was ordained in the Anglican Diocese of North-West Australia in 2003, moved to the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn in 2010 and was consecrated a bishop in 2015 at Goulburn. In early 2018 Bishop Matt was installed as the tenth Bishop of Bendigo. Bishop Matt has published numerous books, articles and conference papers. His doctoral thesis was Treasure in Jars of Clay: Towards a new Pauline Pastoral Theology of Mission to Generation Y in Australia. He has a keen interest in advocacy and is a trustee of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund – Australia. Bishop Matt is married to Rachael and they have five children.

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.

Responding to the Complex Issues about Marriage in Synods

Many of our Synods have already seen motions supporting same-sex marriage in the church, and we anticipate more of these to come. In many mixed Dioceses and in the General Synod, these are difficult debates that needed to be handled with care. This session will look at what we should be saying, how we should be saying it, and some practical strategies for engaging in the Synod process.

 Richard Condie is the Bishop of Tasmania and Chair of Gafcon Australia. He has been involved in Synods for many years in the Diocese of Melbourne, the General Synod and now Tasmania, and is keen that we honour Christ in our dealings in these meetings. He has been married to Helen for 29 years and they have two adult children.