Sydney to proceed with diaconal presidency

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The Church Times reports that the diocese of Sydney plans to proceed with plans to permit Deacons to preside at the Eucharist despite the finding of the Anglican Church of Australia’s Appellate Tribunal that the move is unconstitutional.

THE diocesan synod in Sydney has reaffirmed its 2008 decision to permit deacons to preside at holy communion, despite the recent majority decision by the national Church’s Appellate Tribunal that diaconal presidency is unconstitutional.

The synod rejected several attempts to amend a motion, brought by a Sydney regional bishop, Dr Glenn Davies, which “noted” what it described as “the advisory opinion” of the Tribunal but reaffirmed the 2008 motion that the Tribunal declared unconstitutional.

The 2008 motion asserted that the synod’s “conviction that lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper” was “consistent with the teaching of scripture”, and that “the Lord’s Supper in this diocese may be administered by persons other than presbyters”.

This first motion, on the basis of which deacons have presided at the eucharist in some Sydney churches, prompted the reference to the Tribunal.

According to a report on the Sydney diocesan website, the Dean of Sydney, the Very Revd Phillip Jensen, said that “the Appellate Tribunal opinion displayed little understanding of the real pastoral and theological issues. . .

“The way forward is to say thank you for your opinion; here is our opinion; and that is how we fellowship together in disagreement. The Lord’s Supper is a gospel issue, and we need to make clear it is a gospel issue in world Anglicanism.”

Since 2008, Sydney diocese has implemented a permanent diaconate, ordaining clergy to the priesthood only when they become parish rectors. Assistant clergy and chaplains remain in deacon’s orders. The 215 active deacons in Sydney constitute just over one third of the licensed clergy, and are increasingly leading new congregations and church plants.

h/t Thinking Anglicans

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Jay
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The prospect of deacons officiating at Holy Communion is par for the course in an Anglican/Episcopal church gone haywire. It will only be a matter of time. What's hilarious, though, is that the same clergy who have been preaching about human rights and social justice for decades don't like it one bit when the social justice in question involves them having to share their exclusive, priestly powers with deacons. (This was -- and is -- the same mentality of the priestly old boy network that railed against women joining their ranks.) You can't unleash secular, social reforms on the church and not expect the Holy Orders to be immune.

Jay

ed.note - please sign you last name Jay - thanx

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Bill Moorhead
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Bill Moorhead

Thank you, Andrew -- that's helpful. I had been under the (obviously mistaken!) impression that Sydney (i.e. the Jensens) didn't mind a woman deacon leading the communion office, which apparently is not a big deal for them, but would not allow a woman to be a presbyter serving as a parish rector, because that would involve holding authority over men! Heaven forfend! Evidently I was wrong in my interpretation, but it's still a very peculiar and thoroughly un-Anglican, uncatholic notion of ministry all around.

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ATGerns
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Bill,

The agenda is hidden somewhere in 17th century, I believe. The Jensen brothers hold to unique interpretation of orders that holds that the prebyterate is reserved to those men who oversee congregations (preach and teach)...literally leaving each congregation with one representative of the bishop in each parish. Apparently the theory doesn't work in practice because there appear to be many parishes with presbyteral oversight, or where there are congregations overseen by deacons (perhaps parochial missions or under the oversight of the priest of another parish?).

To say that Jensen's have a "low" view of the sacrament with a very limited understanding of real presence would be an understatement.

As for women, both Bishop Jenson and his brother-the-Dean are on record as preferring the Eucharist to be presided over by a lay man than an ordained woman.

Andrew Gerns

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Bill Moorhead
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Bill Moorhead

"Since 2008, Sydney diocese has implemented a permanent diaconate, ordaining clergy to the priesthood only when they become parish rectors. Assistant clergy and chaplains remain in deacon’s orders."

I confess that I have not done my homework on this, but it seems to me that Sydney must have some hidden agenda here. Where are they on the ordination of women? This sounds more like a Calvinist-presbyterian structure than like catholic order (well, surprise!). They seem to be assuming that the presbyterate is not a sacramental order but an office of authority. I guess they can structure their ordained ministry however they like, but this ain't Anglican.

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Michael Russell
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Michael Russell

Gosh hasn't anyone mentioned subsidiarity to ++Jensen? Has he checked this unilateral innovation out with ALL of the WWAC?

And where is the ++ABC in this?

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