Gender confusion is a topic that is hugely relevant in our society today and as Christians we want to strive for a biblical compassionate and loving response.
In the last few decades in the western world there has been huge cultural change. Some of these changes relate to how we see our sexuality and gender. In the past assigning someone’s sex had traditionally been based on biology – “It’s a boy or it’s a girl”. Yet now, in the media, we often hear stories of people transitioning from one sex to another, sometimes through hormone treatment. We have debates on whether we should have male and female toilets or what prisons transgender people should go to or even what we should teach our children in our schools concerning gender – and more.
How should Christians respond to all this? How do we react in the public sphere to these issues? or closer to home – how do we respond towards those whom we know and love who feel like the sex they were assigned at birth doesn’t correspond to who they feel they are? What do we say to our children who are confronted with these new changing attitudes at school? What does the Bible have to say concerning these things?
The following talks were delivered in September 2018 by Rob and Claire Smith in Tamworth and were organised by the Anglican Diocese of Armidale Commission for Education and Mission
The Anglican Diocese of Armidale affirms that all people have the right to be spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically safe.
The Bible identifies classes of vulnerable people who are to be protected and given special care and treatment in society because of their powerlessness such as the poor, widows, orphans and aliens. As His people Christians are called to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before Him (Micah 6:8).
The Anglican Church in Australia has made a commitment to keeping all people safe through the passing of canons and/or model ordinances relating to professional standards which have been adopted by our Diocesan Synod. Further to this, our parishes and special districts operate under the Parish Structures Ordinance 1979-2000 which seeks to govern the safe and respectful conduct of ministry at the local level.
We also live in a country that legislates for people’s safety, including legislation and regulations for the safety of children and vulnerable adults. Our Safe Ministry policy takes into consideration relevant legislation and regulations such as, but not limited to, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the New South Wales Crimes Act 1900, the New South Wales Child and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 and the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012.
The Diocese’s policies aim to:
ensure that leaders and programs are safe;
ensure that all people are respected and valued;
minimise the risk of abuse, ministry misconduct and the misuse of positional power having leaders and programs appropriately vetted; and
ensure that all cases of suspected abuse, ministry misconduct and grievances are handled in a fair and just manner.
At OVACC, we have been conducting our Safe ministry training using the material provided by Youth Works. If you have any questions please request a contact to our Safe Ministry Officer via the contact us form on the home page.
In January this year 21 Australians travelled across to the North Kigezi Diocese in South Western Uganda including Simon and Erin, Matthew and Lyndy.
The team went across to run the “Nextgen” conference. The Nextgen conference is a youth leadership conference that aims to equip youth leaders with skills to teach the bible in their local settings. One of the great strengths of the Nextgen conference is that it teaches a model that can be used on any bible passage.
Our team that went across said that a constant highlight of the conference was hearing the talks and bible studies that were prepared using the five stage model.
Simon reported that Johnson, one of the delegates, said with one of the biggest smiles he’d seen, that “he looked forward to going back to his parish and leading bible studies with much deeper questions”.
Previously, he said, his studies were ‘very shallow’.
On top of the conference, we were able to run a clergy marriage enrichment course and were able to be involved with Sunday Services.
Every two years a number of New England church ministers and church members travels to North Kigesi in Ugandan to support training in the local church through seminars and workshops with Ugandan church leaders, with the full support of Bishop Patrick Tugume-Tusingwire.
Plans are well underway for the team to return in January 2014 to continue this excellent partnership, providing Australian from the Armidale Diocese with the opportunity to travel and encourage Christian brothers and sisters from Uganda and to share resources and skills with them; generously hosted by those brothers and sisters in North Kigesi.