There were no great controversies, but some useful 'housekeeping' matters were attended to. Archbishop Glenn Davies used his Presidential Address to focus on mission, but spent most of his time speaking about marriage. He said that 'the antagonism to the Word of God is perhaps seen nowhere more acutely than in the virulent challenge to the definition of marriage which pervades conversations in the media, the workplace and even in our places of leisure. The bombardment, both subtle and not so subtle, is relentless.' He said that to hold to a traditional, biblical view of marriage as being between a man and a woman 'will kindle criticism, provoke ridicule and invite hatred' and encouraged us to persuade with gentleness.
That was followed by a motion affirming marriage between a man and a woman as a gift from God, and calling on Australian Christians to engage respectfully in the debate over marriage. We discussed whether clergy should continue as marriage celebrants if same-sex marriage were to be declared legal, but considered that clergy should continue as authorised marriage celebrants, provided they were not legally compelled to solemnise marriages other than in accordance with God's law.
Some of the other matters before us concerned licensing of lay ministry, provision of parental leave for clergy, dealing with unacceptable behaviour in a church, and assisting refugees.
I am happy to talk with you about any of the issues discussed at synod this year.