IX Continuing Anglicans
May an incumbent invite a priest of the Traditional Anglican Communion to preside at the Eucharist in his church?
Canon C8, the provisions of which are complex, governs the exercise of ministry within the Church of England. The normal rule is that a priest may officiate in a place only after he has received authority to do so from the bishop of the diocese. However, an incumbent may allow a cleric to minister for a period of not more than seven days within three months without reference
to the bishop providing he is satisfied by actual personal knowledge or by good and sufficient evidence that the cleric is of good life and standing and is otherwise qualified under the Canon. This provision is subject to important exceptions
concerning overseas clergy and clergy of other churches.
A minister who has been ordained by an overseas bishop (a bishop having a diocese outside the provinces of Canterbury, York, Ireland, Scotland or Wales) or by a bishop in a Church not in communion with the Church of England may only officiate with the permission of the Archbishop of the relevant province (who must be satisfied that the orders of that Church are recognized or accepted by the Church of England).
The current edition of The Canons of the Church of England lists churches in communion with the Church of England, but the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) is not one of them. It is unlikely, therefore, that the incumbent may invite the TAC priest to preside without obtaining the permission of the
Archbishop. There may be exceptions, such as for a priest who was ordained in the Church of England and is now in the TAC, but also has permission to officiate in an Anglican diocese. However, a wise incumbent should check with his bishop or archbishop, because allowing a priest to officiate in breach of Canon C8 could render him (and the officiating priest) liable to disciplinary proceedings.
The TAC is not a Church to which the Church of England (Ecumenical Relations) Measure 1988 applies and so it would appear that no TAC priest (or lay person) may read the Scriptures, lead intercessions, preach or perform any other function which Canon B43 permits members of other churches to perform in the Church of England.
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