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Encyclopedia > Sydney Anglicans

The Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia is unique in Western Anglicanism in that the majority of the diocese is Evangelical (low church) in nature, and committed to Reformed and Calvinist theology. Sydney is the capital city of the Australian state of New South Wales and Australias largest and oldest city (founded in 1788). ... Pope Pius XI blesses Bishop Stephen Alencastre as fifth Apostolic Vicar of the Hawaiian Islands in a Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace window. ... The Anglican Church of Australia, a member church of the Anglican Communion, was previously officially known as the Church of England in Australia (renamed in 1981). ... The term Anglican (from the Angles meaning English) describes the people and churches that follow the religious traditions developed by the established Church of England. ... The word evangelicalism usually refers to a tendency in diverse branches of Protestantism, typified by an emphasis on evangelism, a personal experience of conversion, biblically-oriented faith, and a belief in the relevance of Christian faith to cultural issues. ... Low church is a term of distinction in the Church of England, initially designed to be pejorative. ... The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations historically related by a similar Zwinglian or Calvinist system of doctrine but organizationally independent. ... In an unadorned church, the 17th century congregation stands to hear the sermon. ... Theology is reasoned discourse concerning God (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, word or reason). It also refers to the study of other religious topics. ...



The Diocese stretches from Lithgow in the west, the Hawkesbury River in the north and nearly to Batemans Bay in the South. It encompasses Australia's largest city as well as the city of Wollongong. It is, geographically, one of the largest Anglican dioceses in the world. Because of its historical link with the founding of Sydney and Australia in 1788, it is also one of the most wealthy Anglican dioceses in the world, rivalled probably only by the Diocese of New York. Lithgow is a city of approximately 12000 persons situated in central-west New South Wales, Australia and is also a Local Government Area. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Batemans Bay is a town on the South Coast of the State of New South Wales, Australia. ... Wollongong is an industrial city located on the eastern coast of Australia in the state of New South Wales. ... 1788 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... State nickname: The Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York City Governor George Pataki (R) Senators Charles Schumer (D) Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) Official languages None (English is de facto) Area 141,205 km² or 54,556 square miles (27th)  - Land 122,409 km²  - Water...

Since the beginning of the 20th century, Evangelicals within the diocese were concerned about growing Anglo-Catholicism and Modernism within the church and fought very hard to preserve Sydney's Evangelical nature. Out of this came the Anglican Church League, a body of evangelicals who worked within the politics of the diocese to further their evangelical cause. Their main aim was to ensure that the Archbishop would, at the very least, promote evangelical belief and theology over and above all other expressions of Anglican thinking. (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... The terms Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Catholicism describe people, groups, ideas, customs and practices within Anglicanism that emphasise continuity with Catholic tradition. ... It has been suggested that Modernist project be merged into this article or section. ... In Christianity, an archbishop is an elevated bishop heading a diocese of particular importance due to either its size, history, or both, called an archdiocese. ... Theology is reasoned discourse concerning God (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, word or reason). It also refers to the study of other religious topics. ...

The Sydney Diocese has changed somewhat since the early 20th century. A reliance upon outsiders for resources meant that many of the priests and bishops were trained and sourced from England. By 2004, however, Moore College, the official Theological college (seminary) for Sydney Anglicans, had in excess of 400 students studying for the ministry, many of whom would end up in a ministry outside the ecclesiastical and geographical boundaries of the Sydney Anglican Diocese. Roman Catholic priest LCDR Allen R. Kuss (USN) aboard USS Enterprise A priest or priestess is a holy man or woman who takes an officiating role in worship of any religion, with the distinguishing characteristic of offering sacrifices. ... A bishop is an ordained member of the Christian clergy who, in certain Christian churches, holds a position of authority. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Moore Theological College, otherwise known as just Moore College, is the Theological Training Seminary for the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia. ... A seminary is a specialized university-like institution for the purpose of instructing students in religion, often in order to prepare them to become members of the clergy. ...

There are considerable organisational differences between the Sydney Diocese and those in England. These differences promote a uniformity in practice and style of preaching throughout the Diocese.

Evangelical Distinctives

Because of Sydney's commitment to Evangelical theology and practice, many non-Evangelical Anglicans within the diocese have felt threatened and isolated. These include not only churches that are committed to an Anglo-Catholic style of liturgical practice and more theologically liberal understandings of the Bible but also those churches which, while committed to Evangelical theology, continue to maintain robed priests, traditionally structured services and traditional hymns. ... From the Greek word λειτουργια, which can be transliterated as leitourgia, meaning the work of the people, a liturgy comprises a prescribed religious ceremony, according to the traditions of a particular religion; it may be refer to, or include, an elaborate formal ritual (such as the Catholic Mass), a daily...

Sydney's relationship with other Australian Anglican Dioceses has always been problematic. The result of this has been a passive antagonism towards Sydney and a reluctance to allow Sydney-trained Priests into their own dioceses. This antagonism has been reciprocated by Sydney's own hard-line attitude towards any non-evangelical priest who wants to minister in Sydney.

Perhaps the most visible difference between Sydney and other Anglican dioceses has been its unwillingness to allow the ordination of women to the priesthood. This issue is an indicator of Sydney's difference in ecclesiology and theology to other Anglican dioceses. For many Anglicans outside Evangelical churches, the central act of worship is the celebration of the Eucharist. The Eucharist can only be presided over by an authorised priest. For many of those who, throughout the Anglican Communion, have opposed the ordination of women, the gender of the priest who presided at the Eucharist has been a major issue. But in The Sydney Diocese the gender of the person who presides at the Eucharist is of less significance. The matter is much more one of headship in the church and in the preaching and teaching which is central to Evangelical ministry. The Eucharist is the rite that Christians perform in fulfillment of Jesus instruction, recorded in the New Testament, to do in memory of him what he did at his Last Supper. ...

In Sydney, Calvinist and Reformed theology places a much lower emphasis upon the Eucharist, which is celebrated far less often during church services than in other dioceses. Moreover, the whole system of Catholic order is in the process of being questioned within the Sydney diocese, with the three-fold order of Deacons, Priests and Bishops being largely ignored in practice. Because of this, Lay presidency is being seriously considered, whereby the Lord's Supper (an evangelical term for the Eucharist) could be celebrated by Deacons and even unordained church members. Lay presidency is a form of celebrating the Lords Supper (sometimes called the Eucharist) whereby the person presiding over the sacrament is not an authorised or ordained minister of religion. ...

The reason for Sydney's strong opposition towards the ordination of women is based mainly upon the teachings of The Apostle Paul in respect to the understanding of the Greek word kephale (κεφαλη) mentioned in Ephesians 5:23, as well as the prohibition given to female teachers in 1 Timothy 2:11. Sydney's continued stand on this issue has been a source of bitterness for a significant minority within the diocese, as well as a major cause of enmity between Sydney and the diocese in Melbourne. In the latter case, the Sydney Diocese attempted by litigation to prevent the diocese of Melbourne from ordaining women as priests, arguing that Melbourne was an "off-shoot church". An early portrait of the Apostle Paul. ... The Epistle to Ephesians is one of the books of the Bible in the New Testament, written by Paul at Rome about the same time as that to the Colossians, which in many points it resembles. ... (Redirected from 1 Timothy) This article or section should be merged with Second Epistle to Timothy The First Epistle to Timothy is a book of the canonic New Testament, one of the three so-called pastoral epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and the Epistle to Titus). ...

Sydney Anglicans have often been described as Fundamentalist and sect-like by its opponents, but these terms are unhelpful in describing the differences. Fundamentalism, while taking the Bible at face value, has always been anti-intellectual. By contrast, Sydney Anglicans are encouraged to study and use their intellect so long as they continue to hold on to the central truths of the Evangelical faith. Moore College, the theological seminary for Sydney Anglicans, is staffed by evangelical academics who have completed post-graduate work at Oxford University, Cambridge University, Yale and Princeton among others. Fundamentalism is a movement to maintain strict adherence to founding principles. ... A sect is a small religious or political group that has branched off from a larger established group. ... In comparative religion, fundamentalism has come to refer to several different understandings of religious thought and practice, including literal interpretation of sacred texts such as the Bible or the Quran and sometimes also anti-modernist movements in various religions. ... A seminary is a specialized university-like institution for the purpose of instructing students in religion, often in order to prepare them to become members of the clergy. ... The University of Oxford, located in the city of Oxford in England, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. ... REDIRECT [1] ... Yale University is a private university in New Haven, Connecticut. ... Princeton University, located in Princeton, New Jersey, is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. ...

Sydney Anglicans have also successfully resisted the influence of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement. Because evangelicals take the Bible, rather than personal experience, as the sole authority for faith and belief Charismatic and Pentecostal Christians have not always felt welcome within the church. Charismatic is an umbrella term used to describe those Christians who believe that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit seen in the first century Christian Church, such as healing, miracles and glossolalia, are available to contemporary Christians and ought to be experienced and practiced today. ... The Pentecostal movement within Protestant Christianity places special emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. ...

Political bias

There have been attempt by certain academics (including John Shelby Spong and Sydney Morning Herald writer Chris McGillon) to link Sydney's Evangelical belief system to the growth of conservative politics, especially in America. However, a cursory analysis of leading Sydney Anglican publications (such as Southern Cross and The Briefing) shows that, while a conservative line is taken in areas of Christian belief, there is no overt support for right wing political parties or candidates. Moreover, American organisations such as Focus on the Family, and the Australian Christian political party Family First, are not overtly supported either. While it is true that Sydney Anglicanism makes a stand against issues such as euthanasia, homosexuality and abortion, there is no equivalent stance taken upon economic and political issues, including the support of economic neoliberalism. What this proves is that, while Sydney Anglicans are conservative in terms of Christian belief, they are not necessarily politically conservative. The Right Reverend Doctor John Shelby Spong. ... The Sydney Morning Herald is a prestigious and important newspaper in Australia, published daily in Sydney, the most populous city in Australia. ... Focus on the Family (FOTF or FotF), founded in 1977, is a evangelical Christian 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in the United States. ... The Family First Party is a political party in Australia. ... Neoliberalism refers to a political-economic philosophy that has had major implications for government policies beginning in the 1970s – and increasingly prominent since 1980 – that de-emphasizes or rejects government intervention in the economy (that complements private initiative), focusing instead on structured free-market methods, and fewer restrictions on business...

In Australia, it is mainly the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches that have taken on board conservative politics - as shown by the rise of Family First. Since Sydney Anglicanism is antagonistic towards these church movements, it is less likely that any collaboration will occur.

Influences on Sydney Anglicanism

The Sydney Diocese has been shaped by the activities and beliefs of many influential men throughout the 20th century:

  • TC Hammond was an Anglican from Ireland who moved to Australia to become principal of Moore College during the 1930s. Hammond's influence was critical as he injected an intellectual Calvinism into his students. "In Understanding Be Men", a summary of Christian Doctrine, was his lasting legacy and is still in print today.
  • D Broughton Knox was Principal of Moore College from the 1950s until 1985. Along with Donald Robinson, Knox pioneered the study of "Biblical Theology" which then influenced their ecclesiology (study of the church). This intellectual rigour ensured that Moore College graduates were less likely to accommodate more Catholic practices during their parish ministry.
  • John Chapman was head of the Department of Evangelism during the 1960s and 1970s. He used his ability as a public speaker and evangelist to promote church missions in their local area. Evangelism therefore became a priority within the Anglican church at around the same time as church-going became less important to mainstream Australia. Chapman's influence ensured that Sydney Anglican churches were able to mobilise in Evangelism to prevent too many people from leaving.
  • Billy Graham, the American Evangelist, visited Sydney for a Crusade in 1959. Many who were converted at this crusade ended up studying at Moore College and entering the ministry, including Peter Jensen and Phillip Jensen (below). The after effects of this crusade had a permanent influence upon Sydney Anglicans who therefore put a great priority upon preaching the Gospel and calling for a personal decision of faith amongst the listeners.
  • John Stott, the English preacher and former Rector of All Souls', Langham Place, visited Australia many times during the 1960s and 1970s. He introduced Sydney Anglicans to Expository preaching as the main method of preaching sermons. The result of this is that many Anglican churches in Sydney are regularly exposed to a preaching style that works through Bible passages, explains them and applies them to everyday life. Rather than preaching topical or theological sermons, Sydney Anglican preachers are more likely to preach through verses, chapters and books of the Bible in a systematic manner.
  • Peter Jensen entered Moore College in the late 1960s, and was appointed Principal in 1985. In 2001 he was elected Archbishop of Sydney, and immediately called upon all churches in the Sydney Diocese to aim to reach 10% of their communities by 2012. While such a massive goal is likely to fail in secular Sydney, the result has been an unprecendented increase in church planting and related activities.

1877-1961 Irish-born Anglican clergyman, principal of Moore Theological College, Sydney Thomas Chatterton Hammond, was born in Cork on February 20, 1877. ... Doctrine, from Latin doctrina, (compare doctor), means a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system. ... Biblical Theology is a discipline within Christian theology which studies the Bible from the perspective of understanding the progressive history of God revealing himself to Man following the Fall and throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. ... John Chapman is a well-known preacher and evangelist associated with the Sydney Anglican church. ... Evangelism is the preaching of the Christian Gospel, or by extension any other form of preaching or proselytizing. ... For other uses, see Billy Graham (disambiguation) and Bill Graham. ... Evangelism is the proclaiming of the Christian Gospel. ... The Most Rev Peter Jensen (born 11 July 1943), is the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, and Metropolitan of the Province of New South Wales. ... The Very Reverend Phillip Jensen is a prominent Australian clergyman of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, currently the Dean of St. ... This article discusses faith in a religious context. ... John Stott Dr. John R. W. Stott (born 27 April 1921) is a British Christian leader and Anglican minister who is noted as the one of the leaders of the world-wide evangelical movement. ... Preacher is a colloquial term for a clergyman, in particular a local priest, pastor or Minister; one who preaches. ... The word rector (ruler, from the Latin regere) has a number of different meanings. ... Expository preaching is preaching that expounds upon the meaning of a particular text or passage of Scripture. ... A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. ... The Bible (sometimes The Book, Good Book, Word of God, The Word, or Scripture), from Greek (τα) βιβλια, (ta) biblia, (the) books, plural of βιβλιον, biblion, book, originally a diminutive of βιβλος, biblos, which in turn is derived from βυβλοςâ... The Most Rev Peter Jensen (born 11 July 1943), is the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, and Metropolitan of the Province of New South Wales. ... This article concerns secularity, that is, being secular, in various senses. ... Church planting is a process by which churches are begun in new areas. ... The Very Reverend Phillip Jensen is a prominent Australian clergyman of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, currently the Dean of St. ... A chaplain is typically a priest or a member of the clergy serving a group of people who are not organized as a mission or church, lay chaplains are also found in some settings such as universities. ... University of New South Wales The University of New South Wales is a university in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. ... Conservatism or political conservatism is any of several historically related political philosophies or political ideologies. ... Radical is derived from the Latin word radix, which means root. In various fields of endeavor, it can mean: Sciences in chemistry, either an atom or molecule with at least one unpaired electron, or a group of atoms, charged or uncharged, that act as a single entity in reaction. ... Illustration of the Beeldenstorm during the Dutch reformation Literally, iconoclasm is the destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually for religious or political motives. ... An Australian based apprenticeship scheme for those interested in evangelical Christian ministry. ... Moore Theological College, otherwise known as just Moore College, is the Theological Training Seminary for the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia. ... In religious terminology, a dean is a title accorded to persons holding cartain positions of authority within a religious heirarchy. ... A cathedral is a Christian church building, specifically of a denomination with an episcopal hierarchy (such as the Roman Catholic Church or the Lutheran or Anglican churches), which serves as the central church of a bishopric. ... Nepotism means favoring relatives or personal friends because of their relationship rather than because of their abilities. ...

Some Notable Bishops

  • Donald Robinson, a theologian highly regarded in Sydney for his Evangelical teaching, became Archbishop in the early 1980s. He put much energy into the expanding of the church into new housing areas and in building up existent churches in populous low-income suburbs. He was strongly opposed to the ordination of women.
  • Harry Goodhew, Archbishop in the 1990s, strove to heal rifts within the Diocese. He continued to promote the Archbishop's Vision for Growth founded by Donald Robinson, his predecessor. He opened pathways between the Anglican Diocese of Sydney and other churches, promoted communication between Christians and Jews and supported the Catholic-founded Cursillo movement which has rapidly expanded among more progressive Anglicans within the diocese. In order to ease the tensions involved in the debate over women's ordination, he placed a moratorium on discussing the issue for a time.

Cursillo is a renewal movement of the Roman Catholic Church, founded in Spain by a group of men in the 1940s, while they were refining a technique to train pilgrimage leaders. ...

Sexual abuse

Like many churches in Australia and the USA, Sydney Anglicanism was rocked in the 1990s and 2000s by revelations of sexual abuse. One minister, Victor Cole, [1] Rector of St Davids Anglican Church Forestville, a member of standing committee and a former president of the Anglican Church league, was named in the Pedophile Enquiry of the Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service. Cole confessed to the abuse. In 1996 he was asked to resign from St Davids and in 2003 he was asked by the archbishop to relinquish his orders - a voluntary defrocking. However his victim, Clare Pascoe Henderson, maintains that "the church still fails victims miserably. ... I have come to the inevitable conclusion that the church's stand is about political power and protection of the system and its own members, rather than healing the broken and providing solace for the hurting." Sexual abuse is a relative cultural term used to describe sexual relations and behavior between two or more parties which are considered criminally and/or morally offensive. ... The Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service (Wood Royal Commission) was held in the State of New South Wales, Australia between 1994 and 1997. ...

In response to the growing national and international coverage of sexual abuse within various Christian denominations, a new code of conduct was adopted in 2004 to ensure that all persons who hold ministry positions within the church (formal and informal, paid and unpaid) are given strict guidelines on ethical behaviour. Included in the code is the expectation that clergy and church workers adhere to "faithfulness in marriage and chastity in singleness". Given the history of many other church bodies to procrastinate on the issue of sexual abuse, only time will tell whether this code of conduct will be effective. 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Moore Theological College, otherwise known as just Moore College, is the Theological Training Seminary for the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia. ... Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC) is an independent, evangelical Bible college located in Sydney, Australia. ...


  • Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney - Official Diocese website
  • Anglican Youthworks Growing young people in Christian community
  • Anglican Church League
  • Anglicans Together - A group of Sydney Anglicans who represent more progressive beliefs
  • Sydney Anglicans. - the website of Anglican Media Sydney, the media and communications arm of the Diocese of Sydney
  • Campus Bible Study - University of New South Wales
  • Clergy Sexual Abuse in Australia
  • Katoomba Christian Convention
  • Matthias Media (The Briefing)
  • Ministry Training Strategy
  • Moore Theological College
  • St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney
  • Two Ways to Live (Evangelistic Tract)
  • Christ Church St. Laurence: An Anglo-Catholic parish in the Diocese of Sydney



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