Thanks for our history as we tackle God’s task ahead 

by the Archbishop of Adelaide, Geoff Smith

This year, 2022, marks the 175th anniversary of the establishment of the Diocese of Adelaide but we are not alone in celebrating this very significant milestone. The Dioceses of Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle were also established in 1847 – quite a year in Australian church history. So together we give thanks to God this year for the faith-filled people who worked to see the Anglican Church in Australia grow and develop through the establishment of new dioceses all those years ago. 

That we are part of something bigger than the local expression of the church is significant to the understanding of the Anglican Church. There were Anglican churches in Adelaide before
1847 but when the Diocese was established, those individual church communities became part of something bigger than themselves. They may have had to give up some independence but in return they were not alone, they received the prayers, support and encouragement of all the Anglicans in the Diocese and had the opportunity to offer their partnership as the Diocese struggled with the many challenges it faced. 

In some ways joining together as the Diocese of Adelaide ran counter to the culture of South Australia at the time. The colony of South Australia has been described as a “paradise of dissent” with many non-conformist and independent chapels and churches being established in the early years. There was strength, though, in being together, working together, sharing resources and this was seen clearly and encouraged enthusiastically. 

Download pictures from our 175th Anniversary dinner with guest of honour the Archbishop of Canterbury

As we celebrate our anniversary in 2022 we live in a fragmented world and a society which struggles to find hope and meaning. In a very rich Australia, the quality of many lives is poor. Individualism is the prevailing culture and a sense of community is not strong. 

While it is right for us to give thanks for 175 years of the Diocese – in a sense looking back – this anniversary is also a time for looking forward. We must not lose sight of the task we continue to have – to proclaim by word and deed the love of God for all people and the whole creation shown so clearly in Jesus Christ and to work towards a world which reflects God’s will. 

This task is one which is best done together. It is best done when we reflect the reality that we are the body of Christ. It is best done when we pray together and for each other, share resources, inspiration and encouragement. It is best done when we are what we are – the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide, united and connected, serving the mission of God. 

A 175th anniversary is very significant, there are very few other organisations in Australia that are 175 years old. But as we celebrate that anniversary and give thanks for all that has been done by God’s grace, we commit ourselves to the next years. God’s work is not yet done – so neither is ours. 

Geoff Smith 
Archbishop of Adelaide 

Download our 175th Anniversary Commemorative Booklet here

Read coverage of the 175th Anniversary Celebrations in the Adelaide Guardian

Archbishop of Canterbury helps Adelaide celebrate 175 years

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