August 07, 2013
Sydney’s first new Anglican Archbishop in more than a decade says he will use the role to lobby the Federal Government to treat asylum seekers with more dignity and humanity.
Bishop Glenn Davies was elected as the Anglican Church’s 12th Archbishop of Sydney last night by the church’s synod, or governing body.
The synod is make up of 800 members from 280 churches around the diocese.
Dr Davies says he is overwhelmed and humbled by the appointment.
“I was a reluctant nominee, because I thought at the age of 62 that it was probably a younger man’s job,” Dr Davies said.
“But I think the synod thought my experience equipped me for the kind of challenges that the Archbishop of Sydney faces.”
He says he plans to tackle the issue of asylum seekers in his new role, because it is incumbent on Christians to show them empathy.
“What we need to do as a Christian church is call upon the Government to act with compassion and care for people who are made in the image of God, regardless of their ethnic origin, their religious affiliation,” Dr Davies said.
“My concern is that often asylum seekers when they’re in detention are unemployed and I cannot see, unless I’m mistaken, we don’t give them any gainful work to do.
“Part of God’s gift is to be able to be creative and to do things. If you’re just sitting in a detention centre, that’s demoralising and demeaning.”
He replaces Peter Jensen, who retied on his 70th birthday last month after 12 years in the position.
Dr Davies will be officially inaugurated at Sydney’s St Andrew’s Cathedral later this month.