Following a first meeting at Holy Cross Monastery at West Park, New York, in November 1999, a group of Anglican bishops, representing a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds, met from 6-10 December 2000 at Alton Abbey, Hampshire, England. The "participants continued conversations on human sexuality and the call to Christian holiness. The conversations noted events in our Communion since November 1999, including the consecrations in Singapore, the meeting of Primates in Portugal and the General Convention of the ECUSA in Denver, U.S.A.." The group included the Rt. Rev. Terence Finlay Anglican Bishop of Toronto.
Anglican bishops will meet at the Kanuga Episcopal Conference Centre in North Carolina, 21 April to 1 May 1992 to consider reports dealing with "church growth, the Decade of Evangelism, and new Anglican work at the United Nations. They will also prepare for the next meeting of Anglican Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council in Cape Town, South Africa in January 1993.
In response to the request of the Anglican Consultative Council that each Province in the Anglican Communion examine authority in the Anglican Communion, a task force was established in Canada. The members are: Bishop John Baycroft representing the House of Bishops; The Reverend Michael Ingham representing the National Executive Council; and Mrs. Patricia Bays who is a member of the Anglican Consultative Council. The report of the Canadian Church is to go to the Anglican Consultative Council before the end of March.
Mrs. Bays, Bishop Baycroft and Mr. Ingham each addressed the House.
Appendix A [Appendix A consisting of 7 pages of text is NOT included in the electronic database.]
Mrs. Bays distributed a summary of the Bishops' discussions of the previous day. Questions and discussion followed on what should be done with the document.
These centred on the following issues:
1. Economic considerations - if the structures are increased, then increased costs will ensue. What then, can be subtracted from the structures and still maintain the work that has to be done ?
2. Some discomfort was felt about the possibility of "drifting into Primacy".
3. Should we increase the complexity of our structures ? Could areas use their own moderator ?
4. Where does this document go ?
It was pointed out that National Executive Council asked the House of Bishops to look at this issue, and the Anglican Consultative Council asked the same of Synods and Standing Committees.
That we receive the document "Authority in the Anglican Communion" developed through discussion and consideration, and offered as an expression of the opinion of the House of Bishops on this subject;
That it be forwarded to the National Executive Council and, if appropriate, to Lambeth as a contribution to the continuing dialogue on the whole subject of authority. CARRIED
AUTHORITY IN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH
A. The issue of authority in the Church impinges on us as bishops in several ways. We are called upon to exercise authority in the ordering of ministry, in ordaining and licensing clergy, in the sacraments of Christian Initiation, in shaping the liturgical life of our dioceses, and in preaching and teaching the Gospel. The Church's authority has its source in God who calls us into unity with each other under the lordship of Christ. Episcopal authority is grounded in, and expressed through, the Koinonia of the Church.
B. If the true purpose of authority is to unify, in practice the exercise of it becomes the occasion for diverse reaction. The recent activity of some bishops within the Communion acting outside their diocesan jurisdiction has raised questions about episcopal collegiality. Liturgical renewal has generated hostility and fear of change in some quarters, resulting in a challenge to episcopal authority itself. Theological development which has evolved new images of the nature of God has produced new models of authority which challenge our present structures. Political and economic changes in society have generated individualistic concepts of authority which seem to be in conflict with the Church's understanding of Koinonia.
C. Within this context, we are compelled to ask about our identity as members of the Anglican Communion. The issue of authority raises the question of identity. Our tradition has been that of a family of autonomous Churches united by our common desire to belong to one another. We affirm that tradition precisely because it is conciliar rather than legislative. We would like to see the instruments of unity strengthened in the Communion, but in such a way that their authority remains consultative and persuasive. We have no desire to see an Anglican "Curia". The following are ways in which the centre of authority in the Communion might be developed.
D. We affirm the special role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as a personal symbol of unity with the Communion. Some of us wish to affirm the role as it presently is. But the office is developing into a more international role, with the Archbishop visiting other provinces and asked for comments on their situations. Some therefore would prefer to see the role enhanced in order to allow the effective functioning of the office. There is value in the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as diocesan bishop, in rooting this office in the particulars of a place. A primacy of honour might be exercised by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, but another person might serve as moderator of a conference or president of the Anglican Consultative Council.
E. The Lambeth Conference brings to the whole Communion a sense of unity and common purpose. We recognize that the Lambeth Conference is becoming unwieldy in size and cost, and we suggest that other structures, processes, and alternative venues be explored. We cannot describe at this time what these structures might be. Regional meetings, to include both affluent and less affluent provinces, would build better communication and mutual understanding.
F. We believe the meetings of Primates should be held in conjunction with those of another group -- either the Lambeth conference or the Anglican Consultative Council -- again in order to foster communication and interdependence.
G. The Anglican Consultative Council is an important vehicle of unity since it expresses the synodical model of the Church by its inclusion of priests and lay people as well as bishops. We are agreed that it is important to develop the representation of the laity on the Council, particularly in the area of women and youth. Regional meetings and the more frequent convening of an Anglican Congress could promote this greater involvement. It is important to provide adequate staff and financial support to the work of the Council. We are undecided, however, as to what authority the statements of the Council should have. There is an optimum size for Council and staff and it ought not to grow too large. There is a danger in building up structures. The demands on time and money are great, and the purpose of the structures needs to be remembered.
H. We recognize that our history and geography in Canada have helped us to understand the concept of unity in diversity. We affirm the necessity for interdependence in this large country. All dioceses have gifts to share, and needs which can be met by the gifts of others. In our Canadian experience a number of models have developed which illustrate this unity in diversity. The Council of the North is a good example of the concept of partnership expressed through transparency and mutual accountability. The ecumenical coalitions provide a model of effective planning for social concerns. Decision making by consensus in the House of Bishops requires a high level of trust. We have learned a great deal about regional consultation through our experience in ACNAC [Anglican Council of North America and the Caribbean].
I. We recognize the importance of giving assent to structures of authority. We choose to remain in communion with each other. As issues arise in the Communion on which we have differing views, it will be important for provinces to commit themselves to work together to seek ways of expressing our unity in diversity. We need to listen to each other prayerfully and with sensitivity, recognizing that there must be in the Anglican Communion a tolerance for diversity and a reluctance to define every issue too closely. Our involvement in international structures needs to be communicated clearly to the local congregations, so that they can be aware of the importance of maintaining these links within the Communion.
The list reads like a religious United Nations, which is appropriate because the international family of Anglicanism reaches literally into every part of the globe. Each member Church of the Anglican Communion has a Primate or Chief Archbishop. There are twenty-eight of them, and they will all gather at Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga from March 12 to 16. The chairman of the gathering is the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Robert Runcie. A complete list of the Primates and their jurisdictions is attached.
This gathering is held approximately every three years, the most recent being at Limuru, Kenya in 1983. At the Mississauga event the Council of Christian Churches of the People's Republic of China will be represented by Bishop K.H. Ting.
Among the issues to be discussed by the Primates are:
- Church-State relationships and major international tensions
- The Ordination of women to both the Priesthood and Episcopate
- Admission of children to Holy Communion
- Ecumenical affairs
- Preparations for the Lambeth Conference (of all Anglican Bishops in the world) in 1988
The discussion sessions will be in camera. However, individual Primates will be available, as time and personal commitments allow, for feature interviews. Also there will be daily media briefings as follows: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, March 12-14, 4:45 pm; Saturday, March 15, 12:30 pm.
These briefings will include either the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Rev. Canon Sam Van Culin who is Secretary-General of the Anglican Consultative Council along with others each day.
On Sunday, March 16 at 4:00 pm the Archbishop of Canterbury will be the preacher at a special service at St. Paul's Church, Bloor Street (at Jarvis) which will be attended by all the Primates and Standing Committee members.
There will also be a media conference for the launching of the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Committee's Report "For the Sake of the Kingdom" (see separate media release) on Tuesday, March 18 at 10:30 a.m. at Church House, 600 Jarvis Street. Archbishop Runcie, Canon Van Culin, Archbishop Scott and others will be in attendance.
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For further information, please contact: Richard J. Berryman, Media Officer
Attachments: Primates List; Map to the Queen of the Apostles
"A paper commissioned for the Primates of the Anglican Communion by the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, and the Most Rev. Gregory Venables". -- t.-p.
"This paper is offered to address the need for a practical statement of the Anglican Communion's self-identity and mission, as warranted by its own official documents and public declarations. In some ways, it serves as a primer for the unique character of Anglicanism as a part of God's plan for the Christian Church. The paper is written in response to the grave threat to the Anglican Communion's continued existence and flourishing posed by the Episcopal Church, U.S.A.'s recent actions in contradiction of the Gospel [i.e. the election and consecration of Gene Robinson as Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire]." -- Preface, p. iv.
"Drafters of the paper: Ephraim Radner, Philip Turner, Christopher Seitz, Andrew Goddard, Peter Walker, Donald Armstrong, Drexel Gomez, Peter Akinola, Gregory Venables". -- Preface, p. iv.
Contents: Preface / Drafters of the Paper -- Summary -- General Convention Actions in Dispute -- General Convention Actions Violate -- Supporters' Justification of Violations -- Primates Role -- Appendix.
Appendix contains: Anglican Communion Statements -- Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral -- The Ordination of Women -- Assessing Parallel Provinces.
"The March 2006 Report of Theological Education for the Anglican Communion (TEAC) is encouraging in its effort to 'take seriously the relationship between mission and theological education'. The post of Director of Theological Studies at the Anglican Communion Office is, as the report says, 'a kind of first fruits' of the work of TEAC. Suggestions for further work include fostering and supporting the ongoing development of regional Anglican theological education networks; nominating theological education officers in all provinces; and setting up a permanent Anglican Communion Theological Commission to succeed TEAC. I am convinced that this emerging priority of theological education in equipping the church for God's mission in the world is of the Holy Spirit. I believe that bishops have a critical role in highlighting this priority and enabling it to mature fully. First and foremost, bishops must engage in conversations with heads of theological colleges on a regular basis." "The Ontario Provincial Commission on Theological Education (OPCOTE) in the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario is an umbrella organization representing the Provincial House of Bishops, the Provincial Synod, the four colleges, and each of the seven dioceses as well as the Toronto School of Theology and the Church's Ecumenical Commission on Theological Education. The work of this body has done much to enhance relationships between dioceses and schools. Bishops and principals are determined to work in partnership in preparing mean and women for service in God's mission in the world." "To all such conversations, bishops must be fully committed. Within these conversations, I would suggest for areas that the bishops should address specifically.  Identify Mission as a Major Thrust in Shaping Curriculum ....  Urge Teaching of an Ecclesiology Grounded in the Pauline Doctrine of the Church as the Body of Christ in the World .... Call for Cooperation in Restoring the Diaconate ....  Encourage Study of the Essence of Episcopal Ministry ..".
The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church urged bishops to throw away their mitres when he preached at the signing of the Porvoo agreement. He feels bishops are too fond of the trappings that go with their position. "`We are too fond of the intricacies of address and title, with our Most, Right and Very Reverends; we are too bound to the badges of office, with our mitres and crosiers' .... He hoped the Lambeth bishops would throw their mitres in the Thames."
Canada has ten Bishops in these categories at present, and by the time of the Lambeth Conference there will be eleven. According to the formula, Canada will be entitled to send three suffragan, area or assistant bishops to the Lambeth conference in 1988.
That the Primate be asked to write to the Rev. Canon S. Van Culin indicating that the House of Bishops of the Canadian Church feels strongly that all Suffragan, Area and Assistant Bishops should be invited to the Lambeth Conference 1988, and reiterate the decision of September, 1985. CARRIED #5-11-86