Australia's conservative Anglicans announce new diocese

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A new diocese has been formed in Australia for traditionalist Anglicans at odds with the liberal stance of their bishops on marriage and sexuality.

The Diocese of the Southern Cross has been formed by the orthodox Gafcon movement and is not part of the Anglican Church of Australia. 

It is instead "a separate, parallel" Anglican diocese.

The diocese will be headed up by Bishop Glenn Davies, the former Archbishop of Sydney.

"The effect of the creation of the Diocese of the Southern Cross is that there are now two Anglican jurisdictions in Australia," said Gafcon Australia. 

The new diocese was formally announced at the inaugural Gafcon Australasia Conference held in Canberra this week. 

The meeting was attended by over 350 Anglicans from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. 

The Diocese of the Southern Cross is intended primarily for Anglicans who have either already left the Anglican Church of Australia or are considering doing so because of revisionist teaching. 

"For those who are under pressure to accept revisionist teaching, the launch of the Diocese of the Southern Cross is great news. It will provide them with a means to leave but continue as Anglicans," said Gafcon Australia. 

"The Diocese of the Southern Cross provides an Anglican home for those who feel they need to leave their current Dioceses," said Gafcon Australia Chair, Richard Condie.

He added, "The issue for us is the authority of the Bible."

The new diocese has been formed after a contentious vote at the Anglican Church of Australia's Synod in May, when bishops blocked a motion rejecting same-sex marriage.