Greenbelt Interfaith News
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    November 1997

    Hold-out Anglicans in Australia Vote to Admit Children to Holy Communion Anglican Media – Sydney

    The Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney voted on October 13 to allow children to be admitted to Holy Communion before they have been confirmed.

    The clergy showed clear approval for the bill by voting for it 125 to 55, and the laity voted 202 to 139 in favour.

    In the ordinance brought by Dr Glenn Davies, rector of St Luke's Miranda, the Synod was asked to accept the General Synod – Admission of Children to Holy Communion Canon 1985 which has been accepted in every other diocese in Australia.

    "The children of believers are members of Christ's church," said Dr Davies. "They are members of the one body. Paul says for all members of the body to partake of the bread and wine."

    Dr Davies said that whether children could ‘cognitively understand' the Communion was irrelevant, saying that parents read the Bible to children before they can fully understand the whole meaning of the words. "We must let them know that Jesus still feeds them, is their saviour, and they have a right to come to his table," he said.

    The bill was seconded by Deaconess Margaret Rodgers, CEO of Anglican Media, who said that the child should be prepared to take communion with the parents, and that it would not replace confirmation but build a bridge toward it.

    "It is in keeping with the New Testament concept of a family of faith," she said.

    Before being passed, the bill drew some criticism from the floor of Synod. The Bishop of North Sydney, Dr Paul Barnett, said he believed the bill would mean the collapse of confirmation, and also that maturity was needed to distinguish between "the symbol and the thing symbolised". The principal of Moore Theological College, Canon Peter Jensen, agreed, adding that childish faith was "notoriously fickle".

    Despite this opposition, Synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of the bill.

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