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Ridley Draft - CDG Commentary (Section Three)

Section 3: Our Unity and Common Life

Section 3 of the RCD has been substantially modified as a result of further deliberation concerning suggestions received from the Provinces and the Lambeth Conference. The affirmations are intended to set out the elements of the life of our Churches which relate to the interdependence generated by communion. The commitments have been reworked to emphasise the mutual obligations which arise from communion, while respecting the autonomy of individual Churches. The CDG commend a helpful summary here: "The Communion guides, each Churches decides."

3.1.1 has not been changed.

3.1.2. The phrase "episcopally led and synodically governed" has been replaced with "with its bishops in synod" for the sake of accuracy. The phrase "autonomous in communion" (from the Windsor Report, para.76) has been replaced with "in communion with autonomy and accountability" from "A Letter from Alexandria", the message from the Primates' Meeting in March 2009. This phrase adopts suggestions from the Windsor Continuation Group Report (Paragraphs 2 and 55), which were specifically noted by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his Press Briefing on behalf of the Primates at the conclusion of their meeting. The order of the last two sentences has been reversed for greater clarity.

3.1.3. The phrase "and the local Churches to one another" has been added to describe a deeper unity and catholicity signified by the bishops.

3.1.4 A new sentence has been added in the opening paragraph to locate the work of the Instruments of Communion within the larger apostolic authority of the whole people of God as it continually interprets and articulates the Christian faith. Following the descriptions of the Instruments of Communion, a final sentence has been appended, drawing on language from the IATDC's Report "Communion, Conflict, and Hope" (paragraph 113), to clarify the relationship of the Instruments to one another.

The descriptions of the Instruments of Communion have also been modified in some cases. With respect to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the RCD clarifies his significance "as the bishop of the See of Canterbury, with which Anglicans have historically been in communion." The Lambeth Conference description has been slightly revised for the sake of accuracy. The description of the Anglican Consultative Council is unchanged in this draft. A sentence has been added to the description of the Primates' Meeting to clarify the phrase "with its bishops in synod" used in 3.1.2 and elsewhere in the RCD.

3.2.1 The paragraph has been modified to express more clearly the support offered by the Churches for the Instruments of Communion and the reception of their work.

3.2.2 and 3.2.3 are substantially unchanged in this draft.

3.2.4 has been reworded and combined with earlier language (3.2.5.a of the St Andrew's Draft) to increase its accuracy and to clarify, by restating in other words, some of the terms which appeared unclear in the St Andrew's Draft.

3.2.5 was reworked substantially. In its present form, it is meant to provide a standard or test by which a Church could anticipate when it ought to act with caution, or avoid taking any action, in "gracious restraint" (cf Primates, Alexandria, 2009).

3.2.6 improves 3.2.5.c of the St Andrew's Draft by calling attention to the usefulness of mediated conversations, listing the basic components of effective mediation, and requiring Churches in situations of conflict to address one another directly.

3.2.7 is substantially unchanged from the older 3.2.6. It is placed last to emphasize the goal set out in the 1988 Lambeth Conference - "the highest degree of communion possible" as the aspiration that motivates all the commitments preceding it.

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