Muriel Porter’s book Sydney Anglicans and the Threat to World Anglicanism has been gaining a lot of media attention. The article by Roland Ashby on The Melbourne Anglicans’ News and Views pages is one of the most recent to discuss the issues raised in the book.
The article quotes the author’s comments made at the launch of her book in Camberwell in September:
“Writing this book gave me no pleasure… I was baptised and confirmed in what was at the time a typical Sydney parish – low-church Evangelical in every respect, but a parish that conformed entirely to the Anglican norms of formal, dignified prayer book worship and respect for the mother Church of England and worldwide Anglicanism generally… In all, it was the place where I was incorporated into the faith… [and] nurtured in the faith.
“But as the diocese began to change, my home parish became increasingly alien as it began to adopt the harsh sectarianism that now dominates Sydney Anglicanism.”
“Sydney,” she added, “is utterly convinced that it is always right and everyone else is always wrong, thus totally justifying their mission to spread their brand of Anglicanism into other dioceses and other countries. On the international and national scene, they are determined to get their way and to disenfranchise others. The rest of us have, I am ashamed to say, allowed them to silence us too often.
“That is why I have written this book, in the hope of re-energising us, and alerting the rest of the Anglican world to the dangers it is facing from this aggressive missionary activity. It is my very real fear than unless those of us who represent authentic Anglicanism begin to resist the Sydney incursions, our beloved church will be seriously damaged.”
Sydney Anglicans, always ultra-conservative in terms of liturgy, theology and personal morality, have increasingly modelled themselves on sixteenth century English Puritanism. Over the past few decades, they have added radical congregationalism to the mix. Sydney Anglicans and the Threat to World Anglicanism unpacks how Australia’s largest diocese developed its ideological fervour and explores the impact it is having both in Australia and the Anglican Communion.