Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (5.1 MB)

Multiculturalism’s challenge to Sydney Anglican Identity: a study of a minority radical tradition (1987 – 2000)

Download (5.1 MB)
posted on 2022-03-29, 03:00 authored by Mersina (Tonys-Soulos) Papantoniou
This is a study of the origins, activities and closure of the Department of Cross-Cultural Ministries (DCCM) within the Home Mission Society (HMS) of the Anglican Church, Diocese of Sydney. The story is told in the third person by the Co-ordinator of the Department. It is told from her perspective and therefore cannot lay any claims to objectivity. But it is based on original, primary sources as well as on the recollections of those who participated in the activities covered by this research. In the 1970s and 1980s Australian governments, in response to the demographic tidal wave of postwar immigration, sought to re-orient social attitudes towards the creation of a genuinely multicultural community. This necessitated a greater openness to non-Anglo-Celtic cultures from Europe and Asia and also to Australian Indigenous cultures. Some leaders in the Anglican Church, first in Melbourne,and then in Sydney, supported this development. They were mainly socially-aware evangelicals, who departed from their more conservative co-religionists under the influence of the 1974 Lausanne Congress which committed evangelicals to social action as well as evangelism. Those leaders are identified in this thesis as belonging to a ‘minority radical evangelical tradition’ within the Diocese of Sydney. These evangelical radicals were responsible for the conception of the DCCM and the appointment in1987 of Mersina Tonys-Soulos as Co-ordinator. She, with others, conceived and trialled in some Sydney parishes and area deaneries what this thesis has called ‘the Christian community development’ agenda. This involved ESL ministries and other evangelism/welfare ministries for people of NESB (non-English speaking background). Run by clergy and parishioners, these ministries achieved considerable traction within the Diocese by the mid-1990s. Sometimes they were assisted by government grants, but (significantly) others continued without government help, for it was important for the Coordinator and other ‘radical evangelicals’ to develop ministries not subject to government ideologica land financial control. A conservative reaction to multiculturalism began in 1996 with the electoral victory of the Howard Liberal/National Party government. This was paralleled within the Anglican Diocese of Sydney by a push-back against the ‘radical evangelicals’ and a reversion to a prioritising of the evangelism of Anglo-Celts over the provision of evangelism/welfare/ESL services for the NESB. In 1997 HMS was rebadged as ‘Anglicare’ and adopted more of a corporate model, becoming more dependent on government funding and more distant from the parishes. At the same time the Diocese was regionalised with a bishop in each of its regions now responsible to the Archbishop for ministries which before then were centralised. There was now no central base for the DCCM which was abolished, and its staff including the Co-ordinator either terminated or reassigned. The chief casualties were the Christian Community ministries which had depended on the now impoverished close relationship with parishes.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Map of the Sydney Diocese 1996 -- Chapter 1. Before the formation of the Department of Cross-Cultural Ministries (1970s-86) -- Chapter 2. The makings of the department - the influences, sacred and secular -- Chapter 3. The birth of the Department of Cross-Cultural Ministries (1987) -- Chapter 4. The interplay of church (Anglicanism) and state -- Chapter 5. Laying the CCM foundations : the Department takes shape -- Chapter 6. The Department of Cross-Cultural Ministries at work, 1987-93 -- hapter 7. The beginning of the end (1993-1996) -- Chapter 8. Evangelism versus social welfare responsibility : exposing the problematic identity of Sydney Anglican evangelicals in the decade of the 1990s -- Chapter 9. ‘The Perfect Storm’ and the collapse of the Department of Cross-cultural Ministries -- Chapter 10. Conclusion -- Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 368-421 Theoretical thesis. At foot of title page: Centre for the History of Christian Thought and Experience, Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Ancient History

Department, Centre or School

Department of Ancient History

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Stuart Piggin

Additional Supervisor 1

Alanna Nobbs


Copyright Mersina (Tonys-Soulos) Papantoniou 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




New South Wales


1 online resource (xv, 421 pages) illustrations (some colour), 1 map, portraits (some colour)

Former Identifiers