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Colliding Galaxies – Hubble Telescope’s 18th Anniversary


Cosmic Collisions Galore!
Astronomy textbooks typically present galaxies as staid, solitary, and majestic island worlds of glittering stars. But galaxies have a dynamical side. They have close encounters that sometimes end in grand mergers and overflowing sites of new star birth as the colliding galaxies morph into wondrous new shapes. Today, in celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope’s 18th launch anniversary, 59 views of colliding galaxies constitute the largest collection of Hubble images ever released to the public. This new Hubble atlas dramatically illustrates how galaxy collisions produce a remarkable variety of intricate structures in never-before-seen detail.

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The Rev’d Canon Barbara Darling to be Victoria’s first woman bishop

The Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, has announced the appointment of Canon Barbara Darling as an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Melbourne. She is currently the vicar of the parish of St James’, Dandenong.

Canon Darling (60) is only the second woman to be made a bishop in Australia, following the recent appointment of Archdeacon Kay Goldsworthy as an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Perth. Canon Darling will be consecrated as a bishop on 31 May in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne. 

The members of Archbishop in Council which met last night greeted the nomination of Canon Darling with great warmth and affirmation across the board, many members sharing their experiences of her as a pastor, mentor and colleague. She was described as a steady, wise and deeply caring individual with many gifts to offer as a bishop.

Canon Darling was among the first women in Australia to be ordained priest in 1992 in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne. She was elected as a canon of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1995, and appointed as an Examining Chaplain in 1998. Before becoming the Vicar of St James’ Dandenong in 2005, she was the Vicar of All Souls’ Sandringham for almost 10 years, from 1995-2005, and before that she was the Minister in Charge and then Vicar of St Paul’s with All Saints, Ascot Vale, from 1989-1995.

She has many years experience as a teacher, including six years at secondary level, and 14 years as a lecturer at Ridley theological College, Melbourne. Her qualifications include an MA from the University of Melbourne, a BA and a Diploma in Education from the University of Sydney, and a Licentiate of Theology with First Class Honours from Ridley College, Melbourne.

In announcing the appointment, Dr Freier said that he believed Canon Darling is a woman of “deep faith, as well as outstanding pastoral, teaching and organisational ability,” and that he was greatly looking forward to working with her as a member of his Episcopal team.

Canon Darling said that she was “delighted, particularly for all women – both clergy and laity. We have been waiting many years for this opportunity, and now, at long last, the day has arrived.”

“I felt called by God to some form of Christian ministry from an early age, and gradually I felt called to ordination, first as a deacon and then as a priest. I am now surprised and somewhat humbled, yet excited, about responding to the call to be a bishop.”

She wants to be a bishop, she said, who “walks alongside people.” “Being aware of people’s concerns, fears and doubts and helping them to grow and develop, and to understand where God is in their lives, is very important to me.”

She is also passionate about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. “I love teaching and making the Gospel relevant to people’s lives and in the Australia of today.”

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Conversation Morum is moving soon


Yes, this blog is moving. In the next week this location will ceased to be updated, and the new location will be unveiled.

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Today is ANZAC Day in Australia. We commemorate and remember the men and women who served in the various military forces during wars throughout the 20th century. It is a bittersweet day, when we mourn those who lost their lives, while giving thanks that their sacrifice was not in vain.

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I’ll let it speak for itself


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Female bishop sets Church on wider path – Eureka Street

Female bishop sets Church on wider path

The Rev. Canon (sic) Kay Goldsworthy will be consecrated a Bishop in the Church of God on 22 May, in St George’s Anglican Cathedral, Perth. She will be the first woman to become a bishop in an Australian church, although women have been appointed as bishops elsewhere in the Anglican Communion since 1989.

No-one who knows Kay Goldsworthy would question her spiritual, intellectual, pastoral or administrative capacity for episcopal ministry. She was one of the first women ordained deacon in 1986, and one of the first ordained priest, in 1992. She has held school, parish, diocesan and international positions.

The celebration of this day in this year may bring challenges, but it may also be a sign of hope of Christian churches walking down a wider path.

But Bishop Goldsworthy will face significant pressures. Some will arise from the nature of a bishop’s vocation. Others will come from those who cannot accept the legitimacy of a woman as bishop, and from those who have been waiting for this moment for decades.

The Anglican bishops, meeting this week in Newcastle, have worked hard on ways of accommodating opposition, but at local level this is unlikely to be a large issue. Opponents will have little direct contact with the new bishop.

Supporters of the ordination of women, on the other hand, can place unhelpfully high expectations on both the women concerned, and on the church as an institution. As time has passed, these pressures have eased, but may be reignited. Where clergy constitute a mix of women and men it is soon realised that holiness, effectiveness and pastoral sensitivity are not the preserve of either gender.

But deacons and priests function largely in congregations, where they become known personally. That they are male or female is less significant than their ordained identity. A bishop is seen much less regularly at parish level, and a new bishop is something of a curiosity to those who do not know them already. Bishop Goldsworthy may need considerable patience to help some supporters move beyond stereotypes.

And a bishop is a representative person, a personal sign of the wider church to the congregation. Here, many people retain the deeply-held presumption that men can represent both women and men, but women can only represent women. This is unlikely to be an issue in Goldsworthy’s home diocese, where she has undertaken episcopal roles for some time. Yet it may present issues in relating to other parts of the Anglican Church, and ecumenically.

This situation will be eased considerably when another woman is nominated or elected as bishop in the near future — it is not as if Australian women with the capacity to be a bishop are few in number. That would at least dilute the pressures of being the ‘token woman’, especially in bishops’ meetings, where Bishop Goldsworthy would be a lone voice, and with the best of intentions still expected to give ‘the women’s point of view’.

Fortunately, she has the opportunity to experience working in a mixed group of bishops when she participates in the Lambeth Conference in July.

One interesting aspect of this appointment is the date. It is traditional practice for a bishop to be consecrated on a ‘red-letter’ feast day. In 2008, 22 May is the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, ‘Thanksgiving for the Institution of the Holy Communion’ — ‘Corpus Christi’. It is a feast included in the Australian Anglican Calendar only in 1995, a tangible sign of ecumenical progress.

Charles Sherlock is an Anglican theologian, currently Registrar of the Melbourne College of Divinity, and a Canon of St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne.

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