Monday, January 17, 2011

Church tells women's march to find new spot

From Australia-

FOR ALMOST 40 years the International Women's Day march has set off from Sydney Square, between the Town Hall and St Andrew's cathedral in the city.

But this year the march organisers received a rude shock. Unknown to them the square is mostly owned by the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. And the church has put the International Women's Day Collective on notice.

Yes, women can rally in the square one more time - on Saturday, March 11 - before heading down George Street. But in future years they must start the march somewhere else, ''on public land''.

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''It's just amazing,'' said Anne Barber, one of the organisers. ''It's a traditional meeting point and somehow the church has right of veto.''

The Sydney diocese, under Archbishop Peter Jensen, prescribes that women must submit to the ''headship'' of men in the church and in their marriage. It also opposes ordination of women.

But a spokesman for the diocese, Russell Powell, said the women were not being singled out. A new policy on all rallies in the square was being considered by the board of the Glebe Administration Board, which is the church's business arm.

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