Archbishop Geoff Smith today issued a statement in his capacity as Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia. You can download a PDF here.
I note the formal launch this week of a company named the Diocese of the Southern Cross. This company, while established by some members of the Anglican Church of Australia and structured to mirror some of the characteristics of an Anglican diocese, has no formal or informal relationship or connection with the Anglican Church of Australia. As such it will operate independently from the Anglican Church as, effectively, a new denomination.
It is unfortunate that confusion may well result from the establishment of this organization among existing members of the Anglican Church of Australia and among people wishing to connect with the Anglican Church of Australia.
The meeting of the General Synod held in May this year clearly affirmed the view that marriage is between a man and a woman, and declined to affirm same sex marriage. It is perplexing therefore that the leaders of this breakaway movement cite the reason for this new denomination as the failure of General Synod to explicitly express an opinion against the blessing of same sex marriages.
It is always easier to gather with those we agree with. But in a tragically divided world God’s call and therefore the church’s role includes showing how to live together with difference. Not merely showing tolerance but receiving the other as a gift from God.
My conviction is that the Anglican Church of Australia can find a way to stay together, graciously reflecting God’s great love, with our differences held sincerely. This week’s announcement makes achieving that end more difficult but not impossible.
I will continue to pray and work that God’s call on the church will be realised and encourage others to do the same.
The Most Reverend Geoffrey Smith
Archbishop of Adelaide and Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia