At it’s annual synod, meeting this last weekend, the Diocese of Perth has approved changes to Faithfulness in Service (the Anglican Church of Australia’s national code of conduct) that remove the expectation for clergy and church workers to refrain from sex outside marriage. The amended text provided to synod, showing the effect of the change, was as follows,
In an explanatory memorandum, the Diocese’s legislative committee provides only the following commentary on this significant change,
The form of Faithfulness in Service being presented for adoption here is a slightly modified form of the most up-to-date revision of the code and is the form of Faithfulness in Service used in the Diocese of Adelaide. The modification comes in clause 7.4 where the clause is amended so that it reads, “You are to be chaste and not engage in disgraceful conduct of a sexual nature”. It is hoped that it would commend itself to the members of Synod as a desirable set of standards and guidelines for those who lead and set an example in the life of our churches.
p28, Book Two – Business Paper Synod 2019
davidould.net understands this change was the subject of significant debate in the legislative committee for several months prior to synod but liberal voices were insistent.
The revised standard, which now means that sexual activity outside marriage is now considered appropriate for clergy and church workers, was adopted on the voices by synod.