The Anglican Church of Australia's Appellate Tribunal says it disagrees with the Diocese of Sydney's decision that people other than priests may preside at Eucharist.
Sydney's diocesan synod in 2008 overwhelmingly agreed that lay people and deacons could be permitted to preside at Eucharist and consecrate the communion elements - a role that is usually limited to priests.
The 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 the diocese practices, according to an Aug. 10 news.
In a report to the President of the General Synod, the Tribunal answered in the negative a series of questions as to whether specified canons of the Anglican Church of Australia authorized deacons or lay persons to preside at, administer or celebrate the Holy Communion.
The Tribunal unanimously held that none of the:
provides the requisite authority.
By a majority of 6 - 1, the Tribunal answered in the negative question whether the Ordination Service for Deacon Canon 1985 provides such authority.
For technical reasons, the Tribunal unanimously answered in the following terms a question whether any other canon of the Church provides such authority:
“No suggestion that there is any other relevant canon of the General Synod was made to the Tribunal”.
By a majority of 6 -1, the Tribunal answered in the negative a question whether resolution 27.08 passed by the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney on 20 October 2008, in affirming “that the Lord’s Supper in this Diocese may be administered by persons other than presbyters”, is consistent and in accordance with the Constitution of The Anglican Church of Australia and the canons made there under.
The decision of the Appellate Tribunal appears may be accessed via the following link:
For other related documents please go to the Appellate Tribunal page