Friday, October 24, 2008

Sydney votes for diaconal and lay presidency

[Church Times] 24 Oct 2008--SYDNEY DIOCESAN SYNOD has affirmed that deacons — including women deacons — may preside at holy communion.
In a motion moved by a Sydney regional bishop, Dr Glenn Davies, the synod accepted arguments that there was no legal impediment to deacons’ presiding, given that, under a 1985 General Synod canon, deacons are authorised to assist the priest in the administration of the sacraments.

A report accompanying the mo­tion argued that, because deacons can administer the sacrament of bap­tism “in its entirety”, and because “no hierarchy of sacraments is ex­pressed in describing the deacon’s role of assisting the presbyter,” deacons are therefore authorised to “administer the Lord’s Supper in its entirety”.

Bishop Davies told the Synod that the Archbishop could not prevent a deacon’s “administering the Lord’s Supper”. But the motion, though it also affirmed lay presidency, could not approve lay people’s presiding at Sunday services, as the Archbishop would need to license them, Bishop Davies said. “The Archbishop will not license a lay person at this time.”

This reluctance is believed to relate to Sydney’s relationship with the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) bishops.

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