Australian Church Legal Tribunal Rules Against Diaconal Administration
sydneyanglicans.net have a helpful summary of the situation…
An Anglican judicial panel has disagreed with Sydney’s Synod on the introduction of diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper.
The Diocese of Sydney Synod in 2008 overwhelmingly agreed there was no impediment to persons other than a presbyter administering Holy Communion.
The national church’s Appellate Tribunal - consisting of three bishops and four senior lawyers - has given an advisory opinion both on lay administration, which is not sanctioned in the Diocese of Sydney and on administration by deacons, which is practised.
Since the 2008 Synod resolution, some Sydney parishes have allowed deacons to administer the Lord Supper where a presbyter is not able to do so.
Lay administration is neither authorised nor sanctioned in the Diocese of Sydney.
Although both forms are quite distinct, they have often been confused in the debate.
The tribunal’s advisory opinion jointly considered lay and diaconal administration and concluded that a general synod canon would be required to implement either practice.
A previous opinion had declared that lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper was consistent with Scripture, the Book of Common Prayer, and the 39 Articles, which are the bedrock of the National Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia.
The matter was referred to the tribunal in 2009.
The tribunal was not asked to consider the theological merits of persons other than a presbyter administering the Lord’s Supper, given a previous opinion which endorsed its doctrinal validity.
Instead, it considered only legal argument.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Sydney says “The advisory opinion of the Tribunal will doubtless receive attention at the Diocesan Synod to be held in October.”
Doubtless. We’ll bring you news of that response later in the year as it happens.
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