Entries in Section Three (6)

Monday
Jan112010

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.



Monday
Jan112010

St Andrew's Draft - CDG Commentary (Section Three)

Section Three:  Our Unity and Common Life

Clause 3.1.3:  The central role of bishops as a visible sign of unity was recognised in The Windsor Report (para. 64) where it was stated that, “Bishops represent the local to the universal and the universal to the local”.  We note the significance of the Episcopal office for the Communion of the Church as set out in Appendix Two of the Report of the Inter Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission (IATDC), “The Anglican Way: The Significance of the Episcopal Office for the Communion of the Church”[2].

Clause 3.1.4:  There are many and varied links which sustain our life together include: The Anglican Cycle of Prayer,  the various commissions, the Mothers’ Union,  companion dioceses and parish relationships, mission agencies and networks.

Some comments indicated that the Covenant was somehow “canonizing” four instruments of Communion that have evolved in a somewhat haphazard way.  We have therefore amended the text to allow both for the evolution of the Instruments, and to acknowledge the existence of other informal instruments and links.

While the Covenant does not preclude or even seek to limit the possible development of these and other Instruments, we nonetheless believe that the Instruments as now working represent a special means of faithfully maintaining our common life, and ones that need to remain at the centre of our common commitments.  The Archbishop of Canterbury’s place within this grouping is maintained, even while his character as a “focus” – according to the redefinition adopted from the Windsor Report by ACC-13 – is acknowledged. The Archbishop of Canterbury exercises his ministry in a collegial manner with his fellow primates.

The order of listing the Four Instruments has been changed to follow their more formal chronological development.  Their ministries have been described according to various Communion documents including, in the case of the ACC, its formal constitution.

The history of the Primates’ Meeting is set out in Paragraph 104 of The Windsor Report which states that its purpose was “to initiate consideration of the way to relate together the international conferences, councils, and meetings within the Anglican Communion, so that the Anglican Communion may best serve God within the context of one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”  It is noted that in Appendix 1(5) of the Windsor Report it was suggested that the Primates’ Meeting serve as a standing committee of the Lambeth Conference, but since this has not been received by the larger church, the Covenant Design Group decided not to include it in our description.

The Commitments in  3.2

This was the most contentious section of the Nassau draft, and the one which therefore required our greatest attention, and which has been considerably rewritten.  In articulating a model for interdependent life, we have tried to be faithful to a few models developed in the Windsor Report.  The section therefore begins with a commitment to a common life would also respects the proper autonomy of our Churches. 

Clause 3.2.2

This statement of the autonomy of the Provinces is taken from that written by the primates in their meeting at Dar es Salaam, " directly from the schedule to their communique from that meeting.

Clause 3.2.5

Many commentators on the Nassau draft did not like the pattern of consultation as proposed in the draft, which placed the Primates Meeting in a significant co-ordinating position.  The St Andrew’s Draft limits the commitments made by the Churches to ones of care and receptivity with respect to Communion relations.  It is open to any Province or the instruments of Communion or indeed the national or regional Church itself to identify matters which threaten “the unity of the Communion” or “ the effectiveness or credibility of its mission”, and which therefore invoke a higher duty of care.  The clause sets out four elements to that duty of care:  consultation (3.2.5.a), Communion wide evaluation (3.2.5.b), mediation (3.2.5.c) and a readiness to consider a request on the controversial matter from the Instruments of Communion (3.2.5.d).  The draft stresses that there is no intention to erect a centralised jurisdiction and that the Instruments of Communion cannot dictate with juridical force on the internal affairs of any Province.  However, since Communion is founded on the mutual recognition that each Church sees in the other evidence of our Communion in Christ, we recognize that it cannot be sustained in extreme circumstances where a Church or Province acts in a way which rejects the interdependence of the Communion's life.

We recognize that the Communion may well require more detailed procedures which offer a way in which these principles and procedural elements may be lived out in its life.  The group therefore attaches to the St Andrew's Draft a tentative draft for the possible shape such procedures might take.  This procedural appendix will need much scrutiny and careful analysis.  The CDG particularly welcomes comments and response on this appendix, while also recognizing its provisional nature in the St Andrew's Draft.  It is important to note however that the elements set out in clause 3.2.5 are not intended to form a sequential process, but to be elements which can all be active and present at any stage in the process of common discernment and reconciliation.

Clause 3.2.6

The commitments close with the renewal of the commitment to seek to live into the fullness of Communion into which we are called by our Lord.

Notes:

2. The Report, Communion, Conflict and Hope, is to be published by ACO later this year.

Sunday
Jan102010

Final Covenant Section Three

Section Three:  Our Unity and Common Life

3.1 Each Church affirms:

(3.1.1)  that by our participation in Baptism and Eucharist, we are incorporated into the one body of the Church of Jesus Christ, and called by Christ to pursue all things that make for peace and build up our common life.

(3.1.2)  its resolve to live in a Communion of Churches.  Each Church, with its bishops in synod, orders and regulates its own affairs and its local responsibility for mission through its own system of government and law and is therefore described as living “in communion with autonomy and accountability”[15].  Trusting in the Holy Spirit, who calls and enables us to dwell in a shared life of common worship and prayer for one another, in mutual affection, commitment and service, we seek to affirm our common life through those Instruments of Communion by which our Churches are enabled to be conformed together to the mind of Christ.  Churches of the Anglican Communion are bound together “not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference”[16] and of the other instruments of Communion.

(3.1.3)  the central role of bishops as guardians and teachers of faith, as leaders in mission, and as a visible sign of unity, representing the universal Church to the local, and the local Church to the universal and the local Churches to one another.  This ministry is exercised personally, collegially and within and for the eucharistic community.  We receive and maintain the historic threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, ordained for service in the Church of God, as they call all the baptised into the mission of Christ.

(3.1.4)  the importance of instruments in the Anglican Communion to assist in the discernment, articulation and exercise of our shared faith and common life and mission.  The life of communion includes an ongoing engagement with the diverse expressions of apostolic authority, from synods and episcopal councils to local witness, in a way which continually interprets and articulates the common faith of the Church’s members (consensus fidelium).  In addition to the many and varied links which sustain our life together, we acknowledge four particular Instruments at the level of the Anglican Communion which express this co-operative service in the life of communion.

  1. We accord the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the bishop of the See of Canterbury with which Anglicans have historically been in communion, a primacy of honour and respect among the college of bishops in the Anglican Communion as first among equals (primus inter pares).  As a focus and means of unity, the Archbishop gathers and works with the Lambeth Conference and Primates’ Meeting, and presides in the Anglican Consultative Council.
  2. The Lambeth Conference expresses episcopal collegiality worldwide, and brings together the bishops for common worship, counsel, consultation and encouragement in their ministry of guarding the faith and unity of the Communion and equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4.12) and mission.
  3. The Anglican Consultative Council is comprised of lay, clerical and episcopal representatives from our Churches[17].  It facilitates the co-operative work of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, co-ordinates aspects of international Anglican ecumenical and mission work, calls the Churches into mutual responsibility and interdependence, and advises on developing provincial structures[18].
  4. The Primates’ Meeting is convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury for mutual support, prayer and counsel.  The authority that primates bring to the meeting arises from their own positions as the senior bishops of their Provinces, and the fact that they are in conversation with their own Houses of Bishops and located within their own synodical structures[19].  In the Primates’ Meeting, the Primates and Moderators are called to work as representatives of their Provinces in collaboration with one another in mission and in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have Communion-wide implications.

It is the responsibility of each Instrument to consult with, respond to, and support each other Instrument and the Churches of the Communion[20].  Each Instrument may initiate and commend a process of discernment and a direction for the Communion and its Churches.

3.2 Acknowledging our interdependent life, each Church, reliant on the Holy Spirit, commits itself:

(3.2.1)  to have regard for the common good of the Communion in the exercise of its autonomy, to support the work of the Instruments of Communion with the spiritual and material resources available to it, and to receive their work with a readiness to undertake reflection upon their counsels, and to endeavour to accommodate their recommendations.

(3.2.2)  to respect the constitutional autonomy of all of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, while upholding our mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Body of Christ[21], and the responsibility of each to the Communion as a whole[22].

(3.2.3)  to spend time with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and reflection, to listen, pray and study with one another in order to discern the will of God.  Such prayer, study and debate is an essential feature of the life of the Church as it seeks to be led by the Spirit into all truth and to proclaim the gospel afresh in each generation.  Some issues, which are perceived as controversial or new when they arise, may well evoke a deeper understanding of the implications of God’s revelation to us; others may prove to be distractions or even obstacles to the faith.  All such matters therefore need to be tested by shared discernment in the life of the Church.

(3.2.4)  to seek a shared mind with other Churches, through the Communion’s councils, about matters of common concern, in a way consistent with the Scriptures, the common standards of faith, and the canon laws of our churches. Each Church will undertake wide consultation with the other Churches of the Anglican Communion and with the Instruments and Commissions of the Communion.

(3.2.5)  to act with diligence, care and caution in respect of any action which may provoke controversy, which by its intensity, substance or extent could threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission.

(3.2.6)  in situations of conflict, to participate in mediated conversations, which involve face to face meetings, agreed parameters and a willingness to see such processes through.

(3.2.7) to have in mind that our bonds of affection and the love of Christ compel us always to uphold the highest degree of communion possible.



Footnotes:

15. A Letter from Alexandria, the Primates, March 2009

16. Lambeth Conference 1930

17. Constitution of the ACC, Article 3 and Schedule

18. cf. the Objects of the ACC are set out in Article 2 of its Constitution.

19. Report of the Windsor Continuation Group, 69.

20. cf IATDC, Communion, Conflict and Hope, paragraph 113.

21. Toronto Congress 1963, and the Ten Principles of Partnership.

22. cf.  the Schedule to the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of the Primates’ Meeting, February 2007

Sunday
Jan102010

Ridley Draft Section Three

Section Three: Our Unity and Common Life

3.1 Each Church affirms:

(3.1.1) that by our participation in Baptism and Eucharist, we are incorporated into the one body of the Church of Jesus Christ, and called by Christ to pursue all things that make for peace and build up our common life.

(3.1.2) its resolve to live in a Communion of Churches. Each Church, with its bishops in synod, orders and regulates its own affairs and its local responsibility for mission through its own system of government and law and is therefore described as living "in communion with autonomy and accountability"[15]. Trusting in the Holy Spirit, who calls and enables us to dwell in a shared life of common worship and prayer for one another, in mutual affection, commitment and service, we seek to affirm our common life through those Instruments of Communion by which our Churches are enabled to be conformed together to the mind of Christ. Churches of the Anglican Communion are bound together "not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference"[16] and of the other instruments of Communion.

(3.1.3) the central role of bishops as guardians and teachers of faith, as leaders in mission, and as a visible sign of unity, representing the universal Church to the local, and the local Church to the universal and the local Churches to one another. This ministry is exercised personally, collegially and within and for the eucharistic community. We receive and maintain the historic threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, ordained for service in the Church of God, as they call all the baptised into the mission of Christ.

(3.1.4) the importance of instruments in the Anglican Communion to assist in the discernment, articulation and exercise of our shared faith and common life and mission. The life of communion includes an ongoing engagement with the diverse expressions of apostolic authority, from synods and episcopal councils to local witness, in a way which continually interprets and articulates the common faith of the Church's members (consensus fidelium). In addition to the many and varied links which sustain our life together, we acknowledge four particular Instruments at the level of the Anglican Communion which express this co-operative service in the life of communion.

I. We accord the Archbishop of Canterbury, as the bishop of the See of Canterbury with which Anglicans have historically been in communion, a primacy of honour and respect among the college of bishops in the Anglican Communion as first among equals (primus inter pares). As a focus and means of unity, the Archbishop gathers and works with the Lambeth Conference and Primates' Meeting, and presides in the Anglican Consultative Council.

II. The Lambeth Conference expresses episcopal collegiality worldwide, and brings together the bishops for common worship, counsel, consultation and encouragement in their ministry of guarding the faith and unity of the Communion and equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4.12) and mission.

III. The Anglican Consultative Council is comprised of lay, clerical and episcopal representatives from our Churches[17]. It facilitates the co-operative work of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, co-ordinates aspects of international Anglican ecumenical and mission work, calls the Churches into mutual responsibility and interdependence, and advises on developing provincial structures[18].

IV. The Primates' Meeting is convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury for mutual support, prayer and counsel. The authority that primates bring to the meeting arises from their own positions as the senior bishops of their Provinces, and the fact that they are in conversation with their own Houses of Bishops and located within their own synodical structures[19]. In the Primates' Meeting, the Primates and Moderators are called to work as representatives of their Provinces in collaboration with one another in mission and in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have Communion-wide implications.

It is the responsibility of each Instrument to consult with, respond to, and support each other Instrument and the Churches of the Communion[20]. Each Instrument may initiate and commend a process of discernment and a direction for the Communion and its Churches.

3.2 Acknowledging our interdependent life, each Church, reliant on the Holy Spirit, commits itself:

(3.2.1) to have regard for the common good of the Communion in the exercise of its autonomy, to support the work of the Instruments of Communion with the spiritual and material resources available to it, and to receive their work with a readiness to undertake reflection upon their counsels, and to endeavour to accommodate their recommendations.

(3.2.2) to respect the constitutional autonomy of all of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, while upholding our mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Body of Christ[21], and the responsibility of each to the Communion as a whole[22].

(3.2.3) to spend time with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and reflection, to listen, pray and study with one another in order to discern the will of God. Such prayer, study and debate is an essential feature of the life of the Church as its seeks to be led by the Spirit into all truth and to proclaim the gospel afresh in each generation. Some issues, which are perceived as controversial or new when they arise, may well evoke a deeper understanding of the implications of God's revelation to us; others may prove to be distractions or even obstacles to the faith. All such matters therefore need to be tested by shared discernment in the life of the Church.

(3.2.4) to seek a shared mind with other Churches, through the Communion's councils, about matters of common concern, in a way consistent with the Scriptures, the common standards of faith, and the canon laws of our churches. Each Church will undertake wide consultation with the other Churches of the Anglican Communion and with the Instruments and Commissions of the Communion.

(3.2.5) to act with diligence, care and caution in respect of any action which may provoke controversy, which by its intensity, substance or extent could threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission.

(3.2.6) in situations of conflict, to participate in mediated conversations, which involve face to face meetings, agreed parameters and a willingness to see such processes through.

(3.2.7) to have in mind that our bonds of affection and the love of Christ compel us always to uphold the highest degree of communion possible.



Notes

15. A Letter from Alexandria, the Primates, March 2009

16. Lambeth Conference 1930

17 Constitution of the ACC, Article 3 and Schedule

18. cf. the Objects of the ACC are set out in Article 2 of its Constitution.

19. Report of the Windsor Continuation Group, 69.

20. cf IATDC, Communion, Conflict and Hope, paragraph 113.

21. Toronto Congress 1963, and the Ten Principles of Partnership.

22. cf. the Schedule to the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of the Primates' Meeting, February 2007

Sunday
Jan102010

St Andrew's Draft Section Three

Section Three:  Our Unity and Common Life

3.1       Each Church of the Communion affirms:

(3.1.1)  that by our participation in Baptism and Eucharist, we are incorporated into the one body of the Church of Jesus Christ, and called by Christ to pursue all things that make for peace and build up our common life;

(3.1.2)  its resolve to live in a Communion of Churches.  Each Church, episcopally led and synodically governed, orders and regulates its own affairs and its local responsibility for mission through its own system of government and law and is therefore described as autonomous-in-communion[9].  Churches of the Anglican Communion are not bound together by a central legislative, executive or judicial authority.  Trusting in the Holy Spirit, who calls and enables us to live in mutual affection, commitment and service, we seek to affirm our common life through those Instruments of Communion by which our Churches are enabled to develop a common mind;

(3.1.3)  the central role of bishops as guardians and teachers of faith, leaders in mission, and as a visible sign of unity, representing the universal Church to the local, and the local Church to the universal.  This ministry is exercised personally, collegially and within and for the eucharistic community.  We receive and maintain the historic threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, ordained for service in the Church of God, as they call all the baptised into the mission of Christ;

(3.1.4)  the importance of instruments in the Anglican Communion to assist in the discernment, articulation and exercise of our shared faith and common life and mission.  In addition to the many and varied links which sustain our life together, we acknowledge four particular Instruments which co-operate in the service of Communion: 

  1. The Archbishop of Canterbury, with whose See Anglicans have historically been in communion, is accorded a primacy of honour and respect as first amongst equals (primus inter pares). As a focus and means of unity, he gathers the Lambeth Conference and Primates’ Meeting, and presides in the Anglican Consultative Council;
  2. The Lambeth Conference, expressing episcopal collegiality worldwide, gathers the bishops for common counsel, consultation and encouragement and serves as an instrument in guarding the faith and unity of the Communion and equipping the saints for the work of ministry and mission[10];
  3. The Anglican Consultative Council is comprised of laity, clergy and bishops representative of our Provincial synods.  It facilitates the co-operative work of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, co-ordinates aspects of international Anglican ecumenical and mission work, calls the Churches into mutual responsibility and interdependence, and advises on developing provincial structures[11];
  4. The Primates’ Meeting is called by the Archbishop of Canterbury for mutual support, prayer and counsel. The Primates and Moderators are called to work as representative of their Provinces in collaboration with one another in mission and in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have communion-wide implications.

 

3.2      Acknowledging our interdependent life, each Church of the Communion commits itself:

(3.2.1)  to have regard to the common good of the Communion in the exercise of its autonomy, and to support the work of the Instruments of Communion with the spiritual and material resources available to it;

(3.2.2)  to respect the constitutional autonomy of all of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, while upholding the interdependent life and mutual responsibility of the Churches, and the responsibility of each to the Communion as a whole[12];

(3.2.3)  to spend time with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and reflection to listen, pray and study with one another in order to discern the will of God.  Such prayer, study and debate is an essential feature of the life of the Church as its seeks to be led by the Spirit into all truth and to proclaim the Gospel afresh in each generation.  Some issues, which are perceived as controversial or new when they arise, may well evoke a deeper understanding of the implications of God’s revelation to us; others may prove to be distractions or even obstacles to the faith:  all therefore need to be tested by shared discernment in the life of the Church.

(3.2.4)  to seek with other Churches, through the Communion’s shared councils, a common mind about matters understood to be of essential concern, consistent with the Scriptures, common standards of faith, and the canon law of our churches.

(3.2.5)  to act with diligence, care and caution in respect to actions, either proposed or enacted, at a provincial or local level, which, in its own view or the expressed view of any Province or in the view of any one of the Instruments of Communion, are deemed to threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission, and to consent to the following principles and procedural elements:

(3.2.5.a)         to undertake wide consultation with the other churches of the Anglican Communion and with the Instruments and Commissions of the Communion;

(3.2.5.b)         to accept the legitimacy of processes for communion-wide evaluation which any of the Instruments of Communion may commission, according to such procedures as are appended to this covenant;

(3.2.5.c)         to be ready to participate in mediated conversation between parties, which may be in conflict, according to such procedures as are appended to this covenant;

(3.2.5.d)         to be willing to receive from the Instruments of Communion a request to adopt a particular course of action in respect of the matter under dispute.  While the Instruments of Communion have no legislative, executive or judicial authority in our Provinces, except where provided in their own laws, we recognise them as those bodies by which our common life in Christ is articulated and sustained, and which therefore carry a moral authority which commands our respect.

(3.2.5.e)         Any such request would not be binding on a Church unless recognised as such by that Church.  However, commitment to this covenant entails an acknowledgement that in the most extreme circumstances, where a Church chooses not to adopt the request of the Instruments of Communion, that decision may be understood by the Church itself, or by the resolution of the Instruments of Communion, as a relinquishment by that Church of the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, until they re-establish their covenant relationship with other member Churches.

(3.2.6) to have in mind that our bonds of affection and the love of Christ compel us always to seek the highest possible degree of communion.



Notes:

9. The Windsor Report, paragraph 76

10. Ephesians 4.12

11. cf. the Objects of the ACC are set out in Article 2 of its Constitution.

12. cf.  the Schedule to the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of the Primates’ Meeting, February 2007

Sunday
Jan102010

Nassau Draft Section Three

5 Our Unity and Common Life

(Numbers 11.16-20, Luke 22.14-27, Acts 2.43-47, 4.32-35, 1 Corinthians 11.23-26, 1 Peter 4:7-11, 5:1-11)

(1)  We affirm the historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of his Church[8] and the central role of bishopsas custodians of faith, leaders in mission, and as a visible sign of unity. 

(2)  We affirm the place of four Instruments of Communion which serve to discern our common mind in communion issues, and to foster our interdependence and mutual accountability in Christ. While each member Church orders and regulates its own affairs through its own system of government and law and is therefore described as autonomous, each church recognises that the member churches of the Anglican Communion are bound together, not juridically by a central legislative or executive authority, but by the Holy Spirit who calls and enables us to live in mutual loyalty and service.

  1. Of these four Instruments of Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, with whose See Anglicans have historically been in communion, is accorded a primacy of honour and respect as first amongst equals (primus inter pares). He calls the Lambeth Conference, and Primates’ Meeting, and is President of the Anglican Consultative Council.
  2. The Lambeth Conference, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing episcopal collegiality worldwide, gathers the bishops for common counsel, consultation and encouragement and serves as an instrument in guarding the faith and unity of the Communion.
  3. The Primates’ Meeting, presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assembles for mutual support and counsel, monitors global developments and works in full collaboration in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have Communion-wide implications.

  4. The Anglican Consultative Council is a body representative of bishops, clergy and laity of the churches, which co-ordinates aspects of international Anglican ecumenical and mission work.

6 Unity of the Communion

(Nehemiah 2.17,18, Mt. 18.15-18, 1 Corinthians 12, 2 Corinthians 4.1-18, 13: 5-10, Galatians 6.1-10)

Each Church commits itself

  1. in essential matters of common concern, to have regard to the common good of the Communion in the exercise of its autonomy, and to support the work of the Instruments of Communion with the spiritual and material resources available to it.

  2. to spend time with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and discernment to listen and to study with one another in order to comprehend the will of God.  Such study and debate is an essential feature of the life of the Church as its seeks to be led by the Spirit into all truth and to proclaim the Gospel afresh in each generation.  Some issues, which are perceived as controversial or new when they arise, may well evoke a deeper understanding of the implications of God’s revelation to us; others may prove to be distractions or even obstacles to the faith:  all therefore need to be tested by shared discernment in the life of the Church.

  3. to seek with other members, through the Church’s shared councils, a common mind about matters of essential concern, consistent with the Scriptures, common standards of faith, and the canon law of our churches.

  4. to heed the counsel of our Instruments of Communion in matters which threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness of our mission.  While the Instruments of Communion have no juridical or executive authority in our Provinces, we recognise them as those bodies by which our common life in Christ is articulated and sustained, and which therefore carry a moral authority which commands our respect.
  5. to seek the guidance of the Instruments of Communion, where there are matters in serious dispute among churches that cannot be resolved by mutual admonition and counsel:

    1. by submitting the matter to the Primates Meeting

    2. if the Primates believe that the matter is not one for which a common mind has been articulated, they will seek it with the other instruments and their councils

    3. finally, on this basis, the Primates will offer guidance and direction.

  6. We acknowledge that in the most extreme circumstances, where member churches choose not to fulfil the substance of the covenant as understood by the Councils of the Instruments of Communion, we will consider that such churches will have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, and a process of restoration and renewal will be required to re-establish their covenant relationship with other member churches.

Notes:

8. Cf. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 1886/1888