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Archbishop’s term extended amid applause, tears

Archbishop’s term extended amid applause, tears

The Diocese of Sydney has announced the extension of the term of office of its most senior cleric, Archbishop Glenn Davies.

Standing Committee has voted overwhelmingly to extend the term of Archbishop Glenn Davies until 2020.

Without the vote, Dr Davies would have been due to retire on attaining the age of 68 years on 26 September 2018.

Dr Robert Tong moved a motion in Standing Committee on Monday, 15th February, 2016 that the Archbishop’s term be extended for another two years.

Dr Davies was elected in August, 2013.

Dr Tong told Standing Committee that the Archbishop has shown leadership in three key areas.

“Clearly by his preaching and modelling servant leadership, he has demonstrated spiritual leadership” he said.

Dr Tong also cited the Archbishop’s leadership in Anglican organisations within and outside of the Diocese and his leadership in the ‘public square’.

“He is across the issues, he makes a contribution and offers leadership from his own experience and learning” Dr Tong said.

The motion, seconded by the Principal of Moore College, Dr Mark Thompson, passed overwhelmingly and was announced to the applause of Standing Committee.

Glenn Davies has been the Archbishop of Sydney since 2013; previously, he was the Bishop of North Sydney.

The news of his extension, however, comes in the wake of discomfort over remarks that Davies recently made at an Anglican Service for Anglican School Leaders. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports,

Before delivering a speech to year 12 prefects during the Annual Service for Anglican School Leaders on Thursday, Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies faced a series of robust questions from male and female students about the place of women.

In explaining his view that the Bible says men and women have different roles in society and that God intended men to be the “heads” of women, many present believed he was saying women should not aspire to the same career heights as men. …

A prefect at one of Sydney’s most prestigious girls’ schools, who declined to be identified because the students had been advised by their school not to speak to the media, said she and her friends were “angry” and “confused” that the Church was telling them the opposite message about gender equality to that told to them by their parents, educators and society in general. …

However, some school staff in attendance said they did not see anything “out of the ordinary” at this year’s service and that it proceeded as normal. They said if offence was taken, it was because the comments were misinterpreted by the school students.

But one school staff member, who declined to be identified, said he “felt like crying coming out of it”, because it was exactly the opposite of the message that the schools had been trying to drum into their girls.

The Sydney Anglican Diocese told The Drum there was no transcript of the speech delivered by Archbishop Davies, nor would it confirm what was said during the service.

There is one woman listed among the senior clergy on the Diocese of Sydney web page – she is Kara Hartley, the Archdeacon for Women.

Photo: Archbishop Glenn Davies, via Diocese of Sydney




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Anne Bay

It is wise to let people retire when the due date comes. The young people that heard his comments about men being the heads of women must be surprised and bewildered at what they heard. Luckily I had a very bright and talented mother who could do many things and made it clear that even if you are married, you are your own person. My husband and I were at a pipe organ concert at one of our local Episcopal Churches. I’m afraid the Archbishop would have been very surprised. It’s a beautiful 100 year old church. Most of the clergy and the staff are all women, from the Rector and Associate Rector on. Half of the Vestry are women. The Director of Music is a woman. The Director of the Day School (one of the best around) is a woman. The treasurer of the parish is a woman. Does this mean the Archbishop thinks that before they can do their jobs, they need to consult a man? I thought this kind of out of date mentality was no where to found in the current church–even if it is in Sydney.

Bruce Robison

Michael, note that the canon requires resignation of priests and bishops from tenured positions (rector, bishop diocesan, bishop suffragan) at 72. Many bishops and priests continue to serve in stipendiary full and part time ministries well beyond their 72nd birthdays in non-tenured status.

Bruce Robison

John Chilton

Australia is fortunate that Davies is merely the Archbishop of Sydney, and not of the entire province. Sydney, the Diocese, is not representative of the province.

One wonders whether the diocese reflects the city of Sydney. Somehow I doubt it. Happily it’s not representative of the Sydney church schools system.

Is the treatment of women a matter of core doctrine? As in the dignity of every human being.

I imagine there won’t be Q&A the next time Davies comes to visit, if he does.

Kurt Hill

Why don’t these Jensenite Calvinists just have themselves appointed for life, and get it over with? That’s what their Puritan betters would have done 350 years ago…

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

John McBride

Well then, you conceded my point, Kurt. Archbishop Davies’ term in office is quite short compared to Tec. Who knows if the catastrophic decline of Tec under the previous Presiding Bishop, the 700+ depositions of priests and bishops (something unheard of since 1662) and its de facto suspension from the Anglican Communion might have been averted or at least ameliorated if she had gone earlier and a more suitable orthodox leader had been at the helm? You have no time for the Archdiocese of Sydney, but the fact is it is still growing and seeking to reflect the multiracial identity of the new Sydney, where an extraordinary number of people are born of parents born overseas. Sydney is rising to this challenge, and its bishops and clergy (like the English-born Indian Dean of Sydney) reflect this. This evangelism began under Peter Jensen and is being continued by Glenn Davies, in a country where religious belief is considered weird by the paparazzi and the twitterati – rather like New York, in fact.

JC Fisher

My goodness, John McB. A comparison of episcopal ages of retirement/terms of office turned into…Something Else.

Does the Archbishop have a Lenten tie, or does he just wear the Advent blue year round? ;-/

Kurt Hill

Please spare us the so-called Sydney “Anglican” (more accurately, Sydney Puritan) party line, John. From the first Anglican services convened 450 years ago in what is now the US, our Church has experienced flows as well as ebbs, membership expansion as well as membership contraction, building construction as well as building abandonment, over the centuries. If you think that our membership decline over the past fifty years (which all mainline churches here are experiencing) has been “catastrophic”, our near destruction in the aftermath of the War of the Revolution (1775-1783) would probably curl your sox and wax your toenails. But then Sydney “Anglicanism” is comparatively new to the world Anglican scene, isn’t it? The product of the Eclectic Society and a fluke of history which established a British penal colony at the end of the world, complete with “flogging parsons.” In fact, Sydney obtained its first bishop only in 1836, didn’t it? Perhaps in a couple of centuries or so, John–after you and your mates have experienced some real religious history–Jensenites won’t be so smug and self-satisfied. As one who takes history seriously, believe me when I say that history can happen to you when you least expect it…And it’s not always agreeable…

Our situation is unlike that of Anglicanism in Australian and New Zealand. The American Episcopal Church (with the exception, perhaps, of Virginia) has always been an assemblage of minority communities existing as islands within a sea of Evangelical “sectaries”. While Sydney “Anglicanism” is a bit too provincial a brand of Calvinism to interest many American Evangelicals, there are some fundamentalist, conservative Evangelical denominations here that are expanding far faster than Sydney. Of course, the down side is that they are composed of some of the most educationally and financially challenged people in the land. In America, we have always had such denominations that have expanded and prospered for a time, and then faded from memory—such as the “Shakers” or, “serpent handers”, or the “Crystal Cathedral” movement of Robert Schuller of more recent history.

Don’t worry, John, The Episcopal Church isn’t going away anytime soon, and if history is any judge, TEC will survive and flourish later in the 21st century.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

John McBride

Even you would admit that a five-year term as archbishop is quite brief; aren’t episcopal positions in Tec for life (until 70)? So I don’t understand your complaint. Are you saying Tec bishops should stand down after five years?

David Allen

68. He turned 65 last SEP.

John Chilton

So the rules in Sydney are that you retire at 65, right?

The question is, does the Standing Committee have the authority to extend your term beyond age 65 at its discretion?

I didn’t see anywhere in the article where such authority was expressly referenced. Was it implied?

Michael Hartney

In The Episcopal Church the required retirement age is 72 for Bishops, Priests, and Deacons (Title III.12.8; Title III.9.7; Title III.7.7).

Kurt Hill

“Are you saying Tec bishops should stand down after five years?”

If that is their term of office, yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Term limits for Jensenites (and anyone else, for that matter).

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Jean Lall


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