That the Case for the proposed Anglican Appeal, while highlighting the church's work in the North, Overseas and Evangelism, clearly indicate that the whole program of the national church will benefit from the Appeal. CARRIED #73-11-91
Archdeacon Pynn reminded NEC members that the response to this declaration, which originated at the Lambeth Conference in 1988 and was circulated by the Anglican Consultative Council, was now required.
That this Statement be accepted by the National Executive Council as our Statement and be forwarded to the Anglican Consultative Council. CARRIED #56-11-90
[The accepted Statement is attached to these minutes as Appendix H.]
[N.B. Please note that the attached is the NEC Response to the Draft Common Declaration and NOT the text of the Draft Common Declaration itself.]
THE DRAFT COMMON DECLARATION
A Statement by the National Executive Council of the Anglican Church of Canada
This statement is issued by the Anglican Church of Canada, through its National Executive Council, after consultation with the House of Bishops, the Doctrine and Worship Committee, and several Canadian theologians.
We note that the "Draft Common Declaration" before us appears to differ in only one word from the text which appears in "Instruments of Communion and Decision-Making: the Development of the Consultative Process in the Anglican Communion", a discussion paper prepared before Lambeth 1988. Our bishops recall a very low level of interest in this particular proposal at the Lambeth Conference, although it was acknowledged that the possibility of the usefulness of such a declaration should be explored.
Is it necessary ?
We wonder why the Draft Common Declaration is needed and for what purposes it would be used. Paragraph 129 of the Report on Dogmatic and Pastoral Concerns in the 1998 Lambeth Report suggests that the declaration might be used "at major events in the life of the Churches of the Communion". We ask, what kinds of events ?
If the proposed Declaration is primarily intended to reflect Anglican identity back to Anglicans, then it needs to be both sharpened and broadened. If it is meant to help resolve difficulties and strengthen bonds between provinces within the Communion, it needs refinement and amplification. If it means to function as a position statement or policy directive for ecumenical dialogue, then there is a need to clarify what it means at several points of ecumenical tension, not least amongst these being the meaning of "in communion" and "historic episcopal order".
Problems with the document
Specifically, the document appears to us to be unsuitable in a number of areas:
1. Its understanding of Anglican cohesiveness is limited (note be contrast, the report of the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission document "For the Sake of the Kingdom.").
2. It does not take account of the current ecumenical dialogues, third world issues and cultural diversity, and emerging feminist perspectives.
3. It looks back to one particular strand of Anglican traditions which would not be shared by all contemporary Anglicans.
4. It is a rigid document which freezes rather than being open to possible growth.
Comments and questions
We recognize the need for a unifying instrument, but want to avoid premature closure of debate on unsettled issues. We look forward to a time when it would be possible to have a more comprehensive declaration, but meanwhile we reaffirm the Lambeth Quadrilateral in its 1920 form as an adequate instrument of communion and decision-making, because it has tested historical authority, international acceptance, and is both more flexible and ecumenically generous.
The ecumenical context has made us more willing than we were a few years ago to give credit to the ministry and sacraments of other denominations, and recent studies of ministry and sacraments have made us less willing to maintain a dogmatic position on a single, dominically ordained form of either.
Feminist theology is pushing us to take a new look at classical definitions which describe God in male terms excluding half or more of the church. Such thinking is also impelling us to criticize the patriarchal authoritarianism implicit in hierarchical order.
Is the Draft Common Declaration a "Confessional" statement, like the Augsburg and Westminster Confessions ? If so, would acceptance of it run counter to the Anglican claim to be rooted not on a new confession but within the historic tradition of the Catholic faith ? Is the Draft Common Declaration a test of orthodoxy ? If so, is it meant to exclude those who do not agree with it ? Anglicans have traditionally resisted tests of orthodoxy, preferring to set broad limits on either side which allow for latitude of interpretation.
The Draft Common Declaration gives the impression that the Anglican position is a static one. It should be rephrased to make clear that our faith is one which is continually developing and is open to new insights and to enrichment by the Holy Spirit (for instance, the decision to ordain women and the changes in theology and practice entailed in the recognition of the equal rights of women, which is a great insight of our generation).
The emergence of strong, rapidly growing churches in the developing world has made us realize that statements and concepts that we once thought of as universal actually come out of a context limited to the European world. The Draft Common Declaration is overwhelmingly classical and European in its terminology and conceptualization.
The Draft Common Declaration implies that the "commonly called sacraments" are of divine institution. It would be better to say that a province "celebrates the divinely instituted sacraments of baptism and holy communion, as expressing for all the corporate life of the whole fellowship in and with Christ".
Is continuity expressed only by means of historic episcopal order ? What about the continuity of doctrinal teaching, which both Lutherans and Roman Catholics insist upon ? The historic episcopal order is only one of the ways the church expresses continuity with the apostolic church. Why should episcopal order rather than fidelity to scripture or to the apostolic mission be singled out as the key element in continuity ? Does the historic episcopal order included the Roman papacy ?
The Draft Common Declaration seems too narrowly episcopal. Its acceptance would make us a confessional church which confesses, above all, episcopacy. The Draft Common Declaration evinces a bias for a structural ecclesiology rather than a communion of dynamic ecclesiology.
We believe that we should point out to other member churches of the Anglican Communion that this declaration might be too flimsy or too problematic to achieve the unifying effect that is desired.
It would not satisfy use as fairly representing our Canadian Anglican commitment to Christ, to the Kingdom, to mission and service in and to the world, to the full participation of the whole people of God in the light of their baptismal ministry, and to a prayerful pursuit of Christian unity and reconciliation.
The motion and amendment tabled earlier were withdrawn and the following motion was presented:
Moved by: Very Rev. H. Munn
Seconded by: Rev. B. Clay
That this NEC request the Officers to appoint a task force, including members of NEC, to design and conduct a process for consulting with dioceses in the review of Human Rights materials in order to anticipate and assist the Church in coping with probable anxieties and controversy within the Church and society generally; and to report regularly to NEC and to the General Synod in 1995.
Moved by: Mrs. A. Newell
Seconded: Mr. E. Reid
That the motion and the amendment be referred to the Expenditures Committee for consultaiton with the mover and seconder. CARRIED #55-11-90
[See motion #57-11-90.]
Motion #55-11-90, which was referred (see page 31), was raised and returned:
That this NEC request the Program Committee to design a process that will enable the NEC in May 1991 to review the Human Rights materials and develop a strategy for working with dioceses in order to deal responsibly and effectively with these issues. CARRIED #57-11-90
That this General Synod adopt the proposed "Mission Statement of the Anglican Church of Canada," as follows:
We are a partner in the world-wide Anglican Communion and in the universal Church, proclaiming and celebrating the gospel of Jesus Christ in worship and action.
We value our heritage of biblical faith, reason, liturgy, tradition, bishops and synods, and the rich variety of our life in community.
We acknowledge that God is calling us to greater diversity of membership, wider participation in ministry and leadership, better stewardship in God's creation and a stronger resolve in challenging attitudes and structures which cause injustice.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to respond to this call in love and service and so more fully live the life of Christ.
Following discussion, the mover and seconder agreed to accept several revisions to the Mission Statement.
The amended Mission Statement now reads:
As a partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion and in the universal Church, we proclaim and celebrate the gospel of Jesus Christ in worship and action.
We acknowledge that God is calling us to greater diversity of membership, wider participation in ministry and leadership, better stewardship in God's creation and a stronger resolve in challenging attitudes and structures that cause injustice.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to respond to this call in love and service and so more fully live the life of Christ. CARRIED Act 71
Dean Harold Munn presented the report. He mentioned this was the final NEC meeting that the Reverend Bill Lowe would attend as Director of Long Range Planning.
That this NEC express its gratitude to the Reverend William Lowe for his inspiration, competence and geniality as Director of Planning. CARRIED #49-11-90
Mr. Lowe expressed deep gratitude for the opportunities afforded him over many years to travel throughout Canada, to come to know the church and its people from coast to coast, for the support he had received and the many friends he had made.
The Reverend Clarke Raymond spoke of the great contribution Bill had made to the life and work of Church House, stating he would long be remembered for his goodwill and warm hospitality, helping staff in the House to know themselves.
The Primate also extended thanks to Bill, and the Long Range Planning Committee, for pointing the way in a rapidly changing society.
That the NEC commission Dr. Andrew Harvey of Halifax to prepare comparative statistics for the Anglican Church of Canada and identify trends for the ten year period (1981-1990) modelled after the statistical report to the 1989 General Synod and to be available to Standing Committees of General Synod prior to 1992 General Synod;
and further to make recommendations concerning the consistent maintenance and statistical reporting from parishes and dioceses;
and further that $3,500 be made available for this purpose. CARRIED #65-11-91
That this National Executive Council support the Long Range Planning Committee in its intent to work with the committees and staff of General Synod in the preparation of a Statement of Mission for General Synod, and that this statement be ready for presentation at the 1992 session. CARRIED #40-10-89
The Committee has established four regional task forces to prepare work for the next meeting, as follows:
1. A process for a Mission Statement for General Synod.
2. A Mission Statement for the Long Range Planning Committee.
3. The Director's Report on General Synod Structures and propose a way to consult with the church about the report.
4. A response to Lambeth and House of Bishops resolutions referred to the committee.