Updated Sunday evening
Muriel Porter reports in the Church Times that Sydney votes for diaconal and lay presidency.
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…
There is also a report of this on the Sydney Anglicans website Sydney restates Lord’s Supper position.
Sydney Synod has overwhelmingly restated its principled support for lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper.
More significantly – in what supporters said is ‘a great outcome’ for women deacons – the motion also ‘accepts’ the argument that there is no longer any legal impediment to deacons officiating at Holy Communion given the wording of The Ordination Service for Deacons Canon 1985 and the repeal of the 1662 Act of Uniformity by a recent General Synod Canon.
However the motion itself does nothing to change the legal situation.
“We don’t make law or change law in a motion,” said the Bishop of North Sydney, Glenn Davies, in moving the motion “we merely express our view.”