From Mr R. I. Williams
Sir, — Dr Muriel Porter seems to take pleasure in the fact that the Appellate Tribunal ruled against Sydney over diaconal celebration of holy communion (Comment, 20 August). In all fairness to Sydney diocese, however, is it not being logical?
It does not accept that those dioceses in the Anglican Church of Australia in which women are ordained to the priesthood and episcopate have made a valid biblical choice. It believes that these women now celebrating communion around Australia are only in deacon’s orders. So it would have been unfair of Sydney not to allow its women deacons to do so also. If women deacons can celebrate, why not men? Would not that be sexist, according to such reasoning?
Sydney has never made any pretence of turning the Anglican communion service into a mass. It makes no secret of the fact that in most of its churches non-fermented grape juice is used, and many churches throw away the leftover communion elements. Such practices are also commonplace in the Evangelical wing of the Church of England.
For Dr Porter to dismiss Sydney’s planting of a hundred churches as a failure is mind-boggling. I think all of us can learn something from the love and zeal that Sydney Anglicans have for their understanding of the gospel. Why has the Anglican Church of Southern Africa not been criticised for supsending the preface to the Book of Common Prayer and accepting non-episcopally ordained clergy without reordination? Is not the Church of England on the cusp of entering into full communion with the Methodist Church, which allows lay celebration?
ROBERT IAN WILLIAMS
Y Gareg Lwyd
Bangor Is Y Coed
Wrexham LL13 0BB