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Seminar 3:
Melbourne Anglicans
Diversity or Division?

Anglicans have long prided themselves on the theological and cultural diversity of the church in Melbourne. Unlike most Australian dioceses where one strand of Anglicanism has dominated, Melbourne has benefited from a potent mix of evangelical, catholic, charismatic, liberal and conservative beliefs and behaviours, all in one of the world's most multicultural cities. The first Anglicans, of British origin, attempted to reach out to indigenous Australians and Chinese immigrants, while in the twenty-first century the church has come to incorporate large numbers of Sudanese members. Yet much of the Melbourne Anglican outlook remains Anglo-Celtic, and in recent times diocesan politics have seen one party pitted against another in matters as diverse as liturgical expression, evangelism, and the election of an Archbishop.

This seminar will investigate the history of the diocese to find out whether Melbourne Anglicanism is indeed characterised primarily by healthy diversity or is in fact wracked by antagonistic division. It will unravel diocesan mythology to bring to light forgotten controversies and achievements, and aims to help contemporary Anglicans reflect on their future.

Peter Sherlock will consider four questions:

  • Who were the first Anglicans in Melbourne and how did their priorities set the tone for later generations?
  • How culturally diverse have Anglicans been and how have they engaged in cross-cultural mission?
  • How have the various strands of Anglicanism worked with each other and where have they pulled apart?
  • Finally, why has the diocese experienced so much conflict in appointing its bishops and archbishops?

Date Tuesday 15 April
Time 7.30 am - 9.30 pm
Venue St Peter's hall, Eastern Hill
Cost $15 (concession: $12)
Conductor Dr Peter Sherlock,
Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne. Peter is a member of the Council of the Diocese, and was Secretary of the Board of Nominators in 2005-06. He is the author of Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England (Ashgate, 2008), and editor with Megan Cassidy-Welch of Practices of Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Brepols, 2008).

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