A conversation about the Doctrine Commission essays on marriage, same-sex marriage and the Anglican Church of Australia

Synod Representatives invited to a respectful dialogue about the Doctrine Commission’s essays

Friday 19 March 2021 from 9.00am to around 4:40pm – for Clergy Synod representatives
Saturday 20 March 2021 from 9.00am to around 4:40pm – for Lay – for Synod representatives

Where: St John’s Salisbury, 10 Church Street, Salisbury

If you wish to attend you must register for this event.

Before you attend, you should have read the collection of essays “Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage and the Anglican Church of Australia”, which you can download here.


Message from the Archbishop

Doctrine Commission essays, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage and the Anglican Church of Australia

Plan of the Salisbury site

Book of Proceedings

About the event

The Adelaide Synod is setting out to have a respectful dialogue about about the Doctrine Commission essays on marriage, same-sex marriage and the Anglican Church of Australia.

As everyone knows, these are emotive issues not only in our own Diocese but across the Church in Australia and, indeed, around the world.

But addressing these issues is not an inward-focused debate. As Archbishop Geoff noted in his Pastoral Address to the 2019 Adelaide Synod. “This is a missional question. How do we minister, how do we enact the good news of the kingdom of God in a society where two thirds of voters voted to change the Marriage Act? How do we enact the good news in a Church where there is a very significant difference of opinion? Those are difficult questions and we will need the grace and leading of God as we seek to work them through, and we will need to offer grace and self-giving love to each other in the process of discussing and deciding these matters.”

In Adelaide, we will hold two separate conversations for members of Synod – one for the Clergy and one for Synod representatives among the Laity.

The conversation will be held under the principles of Open Space Technology, which is designed to provide a respectful and safe place for people to dialogue about issues of importance to them, and for all voices to be heard.  More detail is provided below.

We have engaged an experienced Open Space Facilitator, The Rev’d Bronwyn Pagram, to lead us into the process and help us hold the space to ensure all our conversations remain respectful and productive.

We will gather to listen to each other and the movement of God’s Spirit as we ponder the issues.

Registrations are required. Please register via the Eventbrite link that has been emailed to you.

Please note that these are two entirely separate conversations. You cannot join one or the other. Only Laity can join the Lay conversation and only Clergy can join the Clergy conversation.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided, so make sure you note your dietary requirements on the Eventbrite form.

How did these conversations come about?

Members of the Synod will undoubtedly remember the resolution from the 2019 Adelaide Synod, which acknowledged the contributions by the Rev’d Associate Professor Matthew Anstey and the Rev’d Dr Katherine Smith to the Doctrine Commission’s then recently published collection of essays on “Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage and the Anglican Church of Australia.”

The 2019 Synod resolution called for at least two discussion forums allowing for respectful, mediated and safe discussion of the significant theological, pastoral and practical issues raised by this publication.

Alas, since then we have had a year of COVID-19 restrictions that have made those discussions impossible to organise until now. However, the conversations under Open Space Technology are a direct response to that resolution.

You can access the full collection of those essays, collected as Marriage, Same Sex Marriage and The Anglican Church of Australia here

We would encourage all participants in our Open Space Conversations to read these essays before dialogue begin.

What is Open Space Technology and why are we using it?

Open Space Technology is a simple, powerful way to get people and organisations moving and to run productive meetings for up to 2,000 people or more.

At its heart, the “technology” acknowledges and harnesses the power of self-organisation. Guided by a facilitator, participants create and manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around a central theme or question to devise a way that all stakeholders can respond to, support, and work together to create answers for?

It is aimed at getting the discussion to centre on what the participants want to discuss rather than have a discussion imposed upon them.

Open Space was developed by Harrison Owen, a former Episcopal priest in the US, when he realised that many of the most lively and energising conversations at conferences happened in the breaks or at the bar where people spoke about what was actually concerning them. That is why the Open Space ethos has sometimes been described as “the energy of a good coffee break”.

Owen suggests that Open Space Technology, through harnessing “self-organisation”, is aligned with the deepest process of life itself, as described by leading-edge complexity science, as well as ancient spiritual teachings.

There are some resources online that may help you get a better understanding of what to expect.

This two-minute video highlights the principles of OST.

And this video gives a quick look at how it works and what you should expect from our conversations.

If you have any further questions, please contact Joe Thorp, Secretary of the Synod at secretaryofsynod@adelaideanglicans.com or on 08 8305 9357