This is the report that Paul Perini presented at our AGM on the 23rd of February, 2013.
CBE Sydney was established in 2011. Our original contacts came from people in Sydney who were members of CBE International. We formed an executive consisting of Jeannette Fogarty, Margaret Mowczko, Lesley Gray, Tom Mayne, Jo Holland, Alex Croyle, and myself. We advertised in church newspapers that we had commenced. We developed a website and face book page.
Our message is simple. We believe leadership in the church should be determined by experience, understanding and character, not gender. We believe within marriage both husband and wife are called to mutual service. We believe these understandings of church and family are an out working of the gospel. They reflect the mind and the purposes of God.
Paul’s words to the church in Rome apply to us all.
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
Our first public meeting, a Saturday Brunch, featured Barbara Deutschmann from Tear Australia and a member on CBE Melbourne. In 2012 our speakers were Mrs Robyn Claydon, Dr Alan Cradock, and the international president of CBE; Dr Mimi Hadad.
Although our message is simple, within much of the church it is controversial. To many, it is mistaken. CBE Sydney faces the challenge to have an egalitarian understanding of leadership in the church and within marriage accepted as being authentically biblical, beneficial for the life of family and church, and good for the proclamation of the gospel in a society, where both men and women clearly give good and capable leadership, and in a world where a patriarchal understanding of relationships has been cruel and oppressive.
CBE Sydney has a vital role to play in the life of the church in our city. We must offer a biblically supported alternative to a patriarchal/complementarian understanding of relationships. We must be able to critique such an understanding with clarity and grace. We must be able to point to best practice within marriages and churches. We must always have as our final objective the glory of God, who makes all things new.
Paul Perini 23 February 2013