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Gafcon forms new diocese in Australia — and is welcomed by the Archbishop of Sydney

16 August 2022

Roger Fitzhardinge

Dr Glenn Davies pictured at the conference this week, with the minister of the first church under his oversight, the Revd Peter Palmer

Dr Glenn Davies pictured at the conference this week, with the minister of the first church under his oversight, the Revd Peter Palmer

A FORMER Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, has been named as the first bishop of a new Gafcon diocese in Australia.

The creation of the Diocese of the Southern Cross was announced on Monday at the inaugural Gafcon Australasia Conference, held in Canberra. The diocese, which is to function Australia-wide, is expected to be an extra-provincial diocese under the auspices of Gafcon, the conservative Anglican movement begun at the Global Anglican Futures Conference in Jerusalem in 2008.

The current Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Revd Kanishka Raffel, who succeeded Dr Davies in May last year (News, 7 May 2021), welcomed the new diocese, saying that he was “happy to extend the hand of fellowship to the Diocese of the Southern Cross, and may God bless Bishop Davies and his work”.

The Bishop of Tasmania, Dr Richard Condie, who chairs Gafcon Australia, told the conference that the new diocese had been created in response to an “emergency”. He was referring to the refusal of 12 Australian diocesan bishops at the recent General Synod to declare same-sex marriage and same-sex blessings contrary to the teaching of Christ (News, 20 May).

“When some of our bishops have failed to affirm basic biblical teachings . . . to uphold what Christians have taught for millennia — you know there is an emergency”, Dr Condie said. The issue was “the authority of the Bible. . .

“The Diocese of the Southern Cross provides an Anglican home for those who feel they need to leave their current dioceses,” he continued. It was “a structure for Anglicans in Australia who can no longer sit under the authority of their bishop”. He said that the diocese already had its first parish, created in a Brisbane suburban golf club last weekend by a priest in the Brisbane diocese.

Plans for the new diocese were confirmed a year ago (News, 23 July 2021). The move had been foreshadowed by Gafcon Australia in 2020, when a decision of the Australian Church’s highest court, the Appellate Tribunal, opened the way for the blessing of same-sex marriages (News, 13 November 2020).

The Australian Primate, the Most Revd Geoffrey Smith, Archbishop of Adelaide, responded later in the week. Read his comments in the latest story.

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