What happened at the conference?
Gafcon Australasia Conference was held in Canberra with 360 people present from across Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. The theme of the conference was ‘Proclaiming Christ Faithfully’ and the focus was on mission. However the conference also formally announced the creation of the Diocese of the Southern Cross. This will be a parallel Anglican jurisdiction for those who have had to leave the Anglican Church of Australia because of revisionist teaching.
What is the revisionist teaching?
The presenting issue is the failure to uphold the teaching of Jesus on marriage and human sexuality. The underlying issue is the denial of the clarity and authority of scripture and the attempt to revise the teachings of Jesus to conform to contemporary western secular ethics.
Why has the Diocese of the Southern Cross started now?
Faithful Anglicans have been concerned about revisionist teaching for some time. Many had therefore already left Anglican churches. Their ministers had faced sanctions from revisionist bishops. In some areas of Australia this had reached a crucial point and action needed to be taken.
Is it Anglican?
Yes. Member churches will commit to uphold the 39 Articles, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal. It is overseen by an Anglican bishop. It has been recognised by the Gafcon Primates, Anglican leaders who represent the majority of Anglicans worldwide.
Is the Diocese of the Southern Cross part of the Anglican Church of Australia?
No. The Diocese of the Southern Cross is not part of the Anglican Church of Australia which has its own dioceses, bishops and constitution. Rather, it is a separate, parallel Anglican diocese.
The effect of the creation of the Diocese of the Southern Cross is that there are now two Anglican jurisdictions in Australia.
Has this ever happened elsewhere?
Yes. Many western countries already have two parallel Anglican structures. This is true in New Zealand, the US, Canada, Brazil, Europe and the UK. In every case, revisionist teaching was the catalyst for the creation of new structures.
What will it mean for my diocese/parish?
It depends. For parishes in places that remain committed to following the teaching of Jesus they will happily continue just as they are. For those who are under pressure to accept revisionist teaching, the launch of the Diocese of the Southern Cross is great news. It will provide them with a means to leave but continue as Anglicans. Regardless of your situation we ask that you pray for the new diocese and those needing to join.
Who will the bishop be?
Bishop Glenn Davies, the former Archbishop of Sydney, is the initial bishop of the Diocese of the Southern Cross until the first synod.
Will dioceses or parishes leave the Anglican Church of Australia to join the Diocese of the Southern Cross?
No. Existing Anglican parishes and diocesan structures will remain unchanged. It is people (rather than a parish) who will leave the Anglican Church of Australia on grounds of conscience. Many members of a parish may leave together, to incorporate a new church that will formally join the Diocese of the Southern Cross. Existing parish property will not transfer to the new church.
How many member churches will be part of the Diocese of the Southern Cross?
We don’t know yet. Under God, we hope that many new Anglican churches will be established.
What can I pray?
- For humility, grace and love on the part of those who are leaving
- For repentance from those who are seeking to undermine the teaching of Jesus
- For God’s comfort for those who are forced to leave amid fractured relationships
- For God’s provision for churches who have to leave behind church property and assets including appropriate facilities in which the new church can gather
- For ministers pastoring their flock through a time of upheaval, uncertainty and stress
- For wisdom, strength and faithfulness for Bishop Davies
How can I help?
Visit the website – scd.org.au and find out how to partner with us financially and in prayer.
How can I be part of the Diocese of the Southern Cross?
Contact us if you’ve like to know more. Get in touch at scd.org.au. We’d love to connect you with someone who can answer all your questions.