I noticed a few days ago that John Richardson has posted on Lay Presidency at The Ugley Vicar. The actual heading for the post is "Could lay celebration renew the Church of England?" I find it intriguing to think that lay presidency at the eucharist could be key to this renewal. To my mind other possibilities are worth exploring, including a new baptism of the church by the Holy Spirit. Anyway before I have found time from my busy life worshipping here and there to post about it, others have noticed this rearing of lay presidency, including a local colleague, Ron Smith, and an international colleague, Fr. Jonathan.
I myself once thought a bit about lay presidency, though not as I recall with any particular conviction in favour of it (and before anyone rises up to name Sydneyist tendencies in my own self, might I remind local readers here that the Diocese of Christchurch in the past (the 1980s as I recall) had a reasonably serious look at lay presidency as it grappled with a shortage of priests in rural areas of the diocese).
But in this week of preparing for our diocese's consideration of the Covenant, I am pleased that John Richardson has raised the matter. It is a salutary reminder that Anglicanism always contains the DNA of catholicity and of reform, so it maintains the tradition of ministry orders and questions them at the same time, thus invoking the need for contemporary statements of what being Anglican means and thus also statements which help us to know how to recognise Anglican life and to distinguish it from non- or un-Anglican life. Save for a considerable round of global Anglican discussion, of meetings to confirm such direction, and of a period of reception, lay presidency embraced by the village of Ugley or the Diocese of Sydney or the Province of Wherever could never claim to be Anglican.
Whatever lay presidency might renew in Church of England, it would not be its Anglican character!
For a useful antidote to a (bifurcating) ecclesiology which opposes the Covenant, read Stephen Kuhrt at Fulcrum.