THE Archbishop of Perth, the Most Revd Kay Goldsworthy, has responded to a letter circulated by the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Revd Kanishka Raffel, criticising her over recent ordination and licensing decisions.
In February, Archbishop Goldsworthy licensed the Precentor of St George’s Cathedral, Perth, the Revd Steven Hilton, who is in a same-sex civil union. Presently assistant curate of Manchester Cathedral, he will take up the Perth post mid-year. She also ordained as deacon a man who has been in a de facto relationship with a woman whom he has since married, and another man in a same-sex civil union (News, 11 March).
Last month, Archbishop Raffel wrote to all Australia’s diocesan bishops with a copy of a statement from Sydney diocese’s Standing Committee. The statement was also sent to all diocesan registrars, and the members of the General Synod’s Standing Committee.
The statement “calls on the Archbishop of Perth to repent of her actions”, accusing her of, among other things, denying the teaching of scripture, departing from the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, and “a divisive disregard for the repeated resolutions of General Synod” against the ordination of people in open committed same-sex relationships, and the expectation of chastity in singleness.
Writing to all the diocesan bishops, Archbishop Goldsworthy records her “shock and dismay at this very personal attempt to publicly shame me and call into question my character and integrity as a Bishop of this Church”. Bishops, she writes, “are authorised to conduct ongoing and appropriate pastoral ministry in the diocese in which they are elected. Part of this pastoral ministry has been shown in my response to those who make costly, personal commitments as they follow Jesus.”
She said that, in a telephone conversation, Archbishop Raffel had “pointed out that we do not live in silos. My personal experience of 30 years of not being welcome as a full and equal partner as priest and bishop in his diocese points to a different experience of the silo.” (The diocese of Sydney does not recognise women priests or bishops; if they visit Sydney parishes, they are expected to robe as deacons only.)