Newcastle Anglican Synod Meets to Vote on New Bishop
September 13, 2013
| PHOTO: Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Northern Territory Greg Thompson (Supplied by the Newcastle Anglican Diocese )
The Anglican Diocese of Newcastle is today meeting to vote on a new bishop, after a previous vote failed to reach consensus.
Five candidates, including a woman, nominated for the last vote in March, to replace the retired bishop Brian Farran.
This time round the Northern Territory bishop Greg Thompson is the only candidate vying for the role.
Assistant bishop of the Newcastle Diocese Peter Stuart says about 300 clergy and lay people from across the diocese will attend the Synod to vote.
"The synod has careful process of prayer, speeches and balloting," he said.
"It is important for Bishop Greg to get two thirds majority if he's to be the bishop of Newcastle.
"If for some reason he doesn't achieve that two thirds majority of both the clergy and laity then the Synod will meet again in December."
Synod discusses sex abuse
The Anglican Diocese of Newcastle held its ordinary session of Synod yesterday, with topics of discussion including sexual abuse in the church and same sex marriage.
Bishop Peter Stuart told the gathering the reality is abuse by clergy and lay people is part of the Diocesan story.
He said the church needs to accept and come to terms with the reality that trusted people preyed on vulnerable members and the Church failed to see it.
"We have people who were members of our Anglican family telling us how, as children, serious sexual assault was perpetrated against them by respected clergy and/or laity," he told the Synod.
"Their recollections are profoundly heartbreaking.
"These children were often targeted because they were very vulnerable due to family or personal circumstances.
"We are now challenged by survivors who say, 'You should have seen it and you should have done something about it'."
In relation to same sex marriage, Bishop Peter told the Synod, the Anglican Church's constitution and rules will not allow for same sex marriages in the church or by clergy.
But he said there needs to be further discussion in the diocese about human sexuality, including whether some form of recognition or blessing of same sex couples may one day be possible.