The Anglican Church of Australia has elected its new primate — the Most Rev. Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne — and affirmed its “openness to participating in any further consideration of a covenant proposal.” Abp. Freier, 59, has led Melbourne since December 2006. He believes that sustaining a national presence and strengthening the church’s contribution to rural communities are among the most important challenges facing the Anglican Church of Australia.
“I look forward to the opportunity of working with the church around the country,” he said. “The church across its parishes, schools and service agencies makes a powerful contribution to Australian society.”
Abp. Freier was elected by a special synod of laity, clergy, and bishops from around the country, and takes over after the church’s three-yearly parliament ends in Adelaide on July 4. Abp. Phillip Aspinall is stepping down as primate after nine years. The church’s General Synod convened on June 30.
The motion regarding the Anglican Communion Covenant neither adopted nor rejected it, but left the Australian church open to new developments. The synod debated two amendments to the motion and rejected them.
This is the full text of the motion, as posted by the Australian church’s Anglican Board of Mission:
15.3 Motion relating to Anglican Communion Covenant
Archbishop Jeffrey Driver moving, the Hon. Robert Fordham seconding
That this General Synod:
- Affirms the commitment of the Anglican Church of Australia to the Anglican Communion;
- Affirms its openness to participating in any further consideration of a covenant proposal; and
- Urges upon the Instruments of Communion a course of action that continues to see reconciliation and the preservation of the Communion as a family of interdependent but autonomous churches.
Image: Archbishop Philip Freier is the newly elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia • Archdiocese of Melbourne photo