Monday, October 19, 2009

Syndney taken to court over deacons presiding at communion

There's a new development in the continuing story of the Diocese of Sydney's decision to allow deacons to "celebrate" the Holy Eucharist as a way of avoiding having to ordain women to the priesthood. According to news reports in Australia a church court has been convened to hear a suit brought against Sydney by other Australian bishops.

"Eight diocesan bishops from Wangaratta, Bathurst, Bunbury, Riverina, Rockhampton, Grafton, North Queensland and Willochra, and 20 clergy and laity from 13 dioceses around the country outside of Sydney have applied for a legal ruling.
The tribunal, headed by the Appeal Court judge and leading Sydney Anglican Peter Young, conducted a preliminary hearing on August 20 and is awaiting submissions from interested parties.

The legal manoeuvres come less than a year after Sydney's parliament stared down strident opposition from leading Australian Anglicans and the worldwide church to widen the role of deacons.

The Sydney synod also gave support for Dr Jensen to amend the licences of senior church elders to preside over Holy Communion, at the risk of antagonising its conservative allies in the global church who are opposed to gay bishops and lay presidency. Dr Jensen says it's a right he will not take up."

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