The Perth diocese of the Anglican church has offered a “heartfelt apology” to Australia’s gay and lesbian community, saying the church was “deeply sorry for any harm we have done”.
As the Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Diocese Glenn Davies was announcing a $1 million donation to the no campaign in Australia’s non-binding voluntary postal survey on same-sex marriage this week, his colleagues in Perth were saying sorry for the church’s past behaviour.
At the 49th synod of the Perth Diocese, the membership passed a motion offering “a heartfelt apology” to “people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer whom we have hurt by words and behaviour that have not displayed the love of God”.
“We are deeply sorry for any harm we have done and repent of such ungodly behaviour,” the motion read. The church also stated a “desire to be places where LGBTIQ+ people will feel safe”, and encouraged its churches to “demonstrate our repentance in changed attitudes and conduct”.
The Sydney Diocese’s $1 million donation has been widely criticised by other sections of the church. But Perth’s diocesan secretary, Keith Stephens, said the timing was coincidental. “This motion came before the Perth Synod before we knew about the Sydney diocese, so I don’t think anyone in Perth even knew about Sydney,” he said.
He said the Perth apology was not in relation to any specific past action by the church, but for a “culture of tone, and how we have behaved in the past”.
“As a Christian I can say that it’s important we acknowledge where we have failed, and seek to reconcile ourselves to those we have hurt,” he said. “This was an outward expression of seeking that reconciliation [and] it is just asking for a cultural shift in our mind from where we have historically been on this this issue.” Read more via the Guardian