Synod in Past Years
General Synod Session 2004
(A report from the Standing Committee.)
1. The 13th General Synod was held in Fremantle from 2-8 October 2004. The 14th General Synod will be held in 2007.
2. The 13th General Synod consisted of 239 members of whom 53 were from the Diocese of Sydney. 78 resolutions were passed and 13 canons, 4 provisional canons and 2 rules were made. A number of elections also took place for General Synod boards and committees.
3. Many of the 78 resolutions related to formal matters concerning the business of General Synod. Others were of more significance. The following paragraphs summarise those resolutions of particular interest.
4. The General Synod received the report of the Child Protection Committee and adopted the following from the report as the Church’s Safe Ministry Policy Statement -
5. The General Synod also adopted -
6. The General Synod Standing Committee was authorised to review the Safe Ministry Check and Faithfulness in Service.
35/04 Child Protection - 3
7. General Synod recommended that each diocese, parish and church organisation adopt the Church’s Safe Ministry Policy Statement and develop and implement safe ministry policies and structures. In particular, the General Synod recommended that each diocese adopt -
8. The General Synod also made recommendations in relation to -
36/04 Child Protection - 4
9. The General Synod commended the National Council of Churches in Australia for organising Safe as Churches? a national ecumenical consultation on sexual misconduct and abuse in the Australian churches and recommended that the National Council of Churches in Australia facilitate joint action to promote the physical, emotional and spiritual welfare and safety of all people within their communities.
10. The General Synod also recommended that -
38/04 Apology for Sexual Abuse
11. The General Synod acknowledged with deep regret and repentance the past failings of the Church and its members and apologised unreservedly on behalf of the whole Anglican Church to those who have been harmed by sexual abuse perpetrated by people holding positions of power and trust in the Church. The General Synod also apologised for actively working against and discouraging those who came forward and reported abuse and acknowledged to its shame that the Church only took notice when the survivors of abuse became a threat. The General Synod apologised and sought forgiveness for the Church’s failure at many levels to listen to and acknowledge the plight of those who have been abused, and to take adequate steps to assist them and to prevent abuse from happening or reoccurring. The General Synod committed the Church to listen to survivors of abuse and to respond with compassion to all who have been harmed and to deal appropriately, transparently and fairly with those accused of abuse and negligence.
12. The General Synod noted the Report of the Refugee Working Group and continued to express its concern for the millions of displaced people in the global community. It applauded the work of Anglicans and Anglican agencies throughout this country working to support refugees and asylum-seekers and noted the ongoing dialogue between the Minister of Immigration and the Primate and former chair of the Working Group. The General Synod supported the concept of a Complementary Protection Visa as promoted by the NCCA, Amnesty International and the Refugee Council of Australia. The General Synod also commended to the dioceses the plan for a diocesan education program on these matters as suggested in the report of the Working Group.
41/04 Our Neighbours in Distress
13. The General Synod acknowledged the challenges faced by the church and peoples in Melanesia and committed itself to raising awareness in the Church through visiting our Melanesian brothers and sisters and through articles in our church media. It also committed itself to encouraging members of the Church to become volunteers in practical projects and through the development of policy and strengthening of governance through agencies such as ABM, Anglicord and Government Agencies. The General Synod also committed itself to encouraging the Public Affairs Commission to continue its work in this area.
46/04 Women in the Episcopate
14. The General Synod acknowledged that it had reaffirmed its in-principal support for the ordination of women to the episcopate and noted with thanks the generosity of spirit which had characterised the debate. It acknowledged the pain of many faithful and loyal Anglicans at this outcome and committed itself to maintaining the overall unity of the National Church, including the unity of each diocese under the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop and believes such unity is essential for the overall effectiveness of the Church’s mission to bring the Gospel of Christ to all people. The General Synod also affirmed that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate are both loyal Anglicans.
49/04 Anglican - Muslim Dialogue - 2
15. The General Synod noted that Tony Payne’s book Islam in our Backyard, had been circulated to all Federal politicians and some politicians at the State level. The General Synod resolved to resist the banishment of religious discussion from the public arena, and commended open public discussion of the truth claims of both Islam and Christianity (and other religions). It also resolved to urge Federal and State politicians to resist any moves to stifle open, honest discussion of the disparate truth claims made by any religion or political party or philosophical group that seeks to utilise freedom of speech in Australia to make their views known. The General Synod also requested the General Secretary to write to Federal and State political leaders expressing the sentiment of the resolution and asking that they show particular care to maintain an environment that allows for free speech, honest discussion, and genuine persuasion.
51/04 The Forgotten Australians
16. The General Synod noted that a report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children - the Forgotten Australians report - was tabled in Federal Parliament on 30 August 2004. It noted that the report calls on governments, churches and agencies to issue formal statements acknowledging their roles in past institutional care policies and practices and the impact these have had on the lives of many care leavers. To this end the General Synod acknowledged that many children who were placed in institutional care during the last century experienced neglect, harm and distress; and in particular cases, experienced serious physical and sexual abuse and assault - the effects of which are life-long. The General Synod resolved to extend a formal apology to those children and requested each diocese involved in the provision of institutional care extend an apology in similar terms. The General Synod acknowledged that the Church is called to assist and support those persons who have been harmed by and in its institutions; and requested each diocese to consider appropriate strategies - which recognise the personal significance of the harm done to individual persons and their likely distrust of the Church - to encourage those who have been harmed to come forward. It also commended the report to the dioceses, institutions and agencies of the Church and requested that they prayerfully and objectively consider the report and its implications.
59/04 Faithfulness in Service
17. The General Synod approved “Faithfulness in Service” as the code of conduct for observance by Bishops.
18. The General Synod noted the Lambeth Conference resolution on human sexuality and subsequent developments in various parts of the Anglican Communion. It welcomed the publication of the study guide to Faithfulness in Fellowship and urged dioceses to promote the use of the study guide. It also commended to the dioceses the Doctrine Commission’s recently published essays Lost in Translation. It requested that dioceses commit themselves to listen as the church develops a Christian response to the contemporary experience of human sexuality.
62/04 Sexuality and Gender Relationships - 2
19. The General Synod, recognising that this is a matter of ongoing debate and conversation in this Church and that we all have an obligation to listen to each other with respect, resolved not to condone the liturgical blessing of same sex relationships.
63/04 Sexuality and Gender Relationships - 3
20. The General Synod, recognising that this is a matter of ongoing debate and conversation in this Church and that we all have an obligation to listen to each other with respect, resolved not to condone the ordination of people in openly committed same sex relationships.
64/04 Sexuality and Gender Relationships - 4
21. The General Synod welcomed the initiative of the Federal Parliament in clarifying that marriage, at law in this country, is the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.
67/04 Mission and Attendance
22. This resolution was moved by Archbishop Peter Jensen and is extracted as an attachment to the report at Appendix A.
74/04 Lay Presidency - 1
23. The General Synod requested Diocesan Councils and Standing Committees to consider the theological, doctrinal and ecclesial implications of lay and diaconal administration or presidency of the eucharist. The General Synod requested its Standing Committee to consider the implications of a diocese of the church professing to authorise and implement lay and diaconal administration. The General Synod also noted the opinion of the Appellate Tribunal that although Lay Presidency is consistent with the Constitution it requires a Canon of the General Synod to implement it, and urged any Diocesan Synod considering legislation on this matter to consider the Appellate Tribunal’s opinion, the theological and legal issues and the implication for the unity of this Church, the Anglican Communion and our ecumenical partners. The General Synod resolved that it does not condone the practice of lay and diaconal administration at the eucharist in this Church.
24. In 2004 the General Synod passed the following canons -
25. In 2004 the General Synod also passed the following canons as provisional canons -
26. Some of the canons referred to in paragraph 24 have already taken effect, others will not take effect unless the requisite majority of diocesan synods assent by ordinance, and still others will not take effect in Sydney until they are adopted by our Synod. The canons will be referred to our General Synod Canons Committee for comment and, in due course, a further report prepared for the Synod.
27. The following persons from Sydney were elected to the following General Synod boards and committees.
For and on behalf of the Standing Committee
17 August 2005
67/04 MISSION AND ATTENDANCE
That this General Synod:
Peter Jensen - 7 Oct 04
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