New Archdeacon for Reconciliation, First Nations Recognition and Treaty

21 June 2024

The Anglican Province of Victoria will commence a new Indigenous ministry and reconciliation initiative to strengthen the participation and leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the Anglican Church. The project will be led by Wiradjuri elder and Anglican priest, the Reverend Canon Glenn Loughrey.

On 30 June 2024, Uncle Glenn Loughrey will be commissioned as Archdeacon for Reconciliation, First Nations Recognition and Treaty, at a Provincial Evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne at 4pm.

The new ministry initiative was first conceived of during a meeting at Bishopscourt in Melbourne on 14-15 August 2018, chaired by the National Aboriginal Bishop, the Right Reverend Chris McLeod. Two significant outcomes from that meeting were the establishment of the Aboriginal Council of the Anglican Province of Victoria (ACAPV) and the drafting of a Statement to the Provincial Leadership, presented to the Provincial Bishops’ meeting in November 2018.

One key recommendation from the Statement was: ‘[That] the Diocese engage a full-time Indigenous Bishop or Archdeacon, whose key responsibilities would be to support Indigenous leaders and call on Anglican Parishes, agencies, and schools into a concrete practice of reconciliation’.

Over the next five years, Archdeacon Loughrey will coordinate the project, focussing on the following core objectives:

  1. The establishment of a Provincial Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Council comprised of both clergy and lay leaders.
  2. The development of skills for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clergy and lay leaders.
  3. The creation of a pathway for emerging Indigenous leaders within the church.
  4. Providing reports and advice to the bishops of the Province to support ongoing efforts in Recognition, Reception, Formation, and Self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglicans within the Anglican Church of Australia (ACA).

This project has received the endorsement of NATSIAC (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council). The Anglican Diocese of Bendigo will administer the project, with seed funding from trusts held by the Melbourne and Bendigo dioceses.

Archdeacon-designate Loughrey said: ‘This is a timely appointment welcomed by First Peoples inside and outside the Anglican church. It signals serious intent to engage respectfully with us and to heed our voices on issues such as reconciliation, recognition and treaty’.

Bishop Matt Brain said the province wanted the project to be a NATSIAC-endorsed, worked example of First Nations ownership and responsibility for ministry to the Anglican Church of Australia. Bishop Matt said this was important because in time the national church would consider how First Peoples were recognised within its constitution.

Photo of Uncle Glenn Loughrey courtesy of Jenan Taylor, The Melbourne Anglican.