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Anglicans have been members of both multilateral and bilateral dialogues with other churches which have said important things about baptism and the eucharist, and the relationship between the two. The ongoing process of reception of these dialogue statements and the movement towards restored eucharistic fellowship can only be impaired if Anglicans are saying one thing to ecumenical partners, and something very different in pastoral praxis. Lastly, if Anglicans in certain contexts need to challenge our own dialogue partners, whose official policies include the communion of the non-baptised, it would ring more than false if the practice is unchecked within our own communities.
Canon John St-Helier Gibaut IASCER, December 2007
Lay and Diaconal Presidency at the Eucharist
Lay Presidency of the Eucharist – Sydney Diocese IASCER concurs most strongly with the view expressed in the Report of the 1998 Lambeth Conference concerning lay presidency of the
• Such a development would challenge the tradition of the church catholic that ordained ministry serves the church by uniting word and sacrament, pastoral care and oversight of the Christian community. Presiding at the Eucharist is the most obvious expression of this unity. Lay presidency would also create major difficulties with many of our ecumenical partners as well as within the Anglican Communion. We are not able to endorse this proposal.
(Lambeth Conference 1998 Official Report p.202) The Commission is aware that among ecumenical agreements which have been formally received by the Churches of the Anglican Communion is the Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) elucidation on Ministry (1979), which the 1988 Lambeth Conference recognised as ‘consonant in substance with the
faith of Anglicans’. That statement asserts that:
• At the Eucharist Christ's people do what he commanded in memory of himself and Christ unites them sacramentally with himself in his self-offering. But in this action it is only the ordained minister who presides at the eucharist, in which, in the name of Christ and on behalf of his Church, he recites the narrative of the institution of the Last Supper, and invokes the Holy Spirit upon the gifts. (ARCIC The Final Report, Elucidation on Ministry 1979, paragraph 2).
The Faith and Order text Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, about which the Lambeth Conference of 1988 stated ‘Anglicans can recognise to a
large extent the faith of the Church through the ages’, states that:
• The minister of the eucharist is the ambassador who represents the divine initiative and expresses the connection of the local community with other local communities in the universal Church.
(BEM, ‘Eucharist’, paragraph 29) It is the consensus of this Commission then, that a diocese or Province which endorses lay presidency of the Eucharist would be departing from the doctrine of the ministry as Anglicans have received it, and from the Part Two • Baptism and Eucharist practice of the undivided Church. Such action would jeopardise existing ecumenical agreements and seriously call into question the relation of such a diocese or Province to the Anglican Communion.
Decision 18.01 above was reaffirmed in 2002.
• notes the recent resolution of the Diocese of Sydney concerning diaconal and lay presidency at the Eucharist and reaffirms its own resolution (18.01)
• and further notes that in The Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion, Principle 66 on ‘Holy Communion: nature and celebration’, it is clearly stated (66.7) that ‘Presidency at the Holy Communion is reserved to a bishop or priest’ and (66.9) that ‘a deacon, or a lay minister specially authorised by the bishop as a eucharistic assistant, may assist in the distribution of the Holy Communion’
• believes that there needs to be further theological reflection and engagement with the theological and ecclesiological perspectives that have shaped the Sydney proposal, noting that Anglicans have never taken a sola scriptura position, but have recognised the place of tradition as well as Scripture in shaping the faith and order of the Church
• asks that ecumenical partners be assured that the position of the Anglican Communion as a whole has not changed in the matter of eucharistic presidency.
‘The Sacraments duly administered’?
‘The Sacraments duly administered’? – A task for IASCUFO
1. What conditions should Anglicans be looking for to enable them to make an agreement with an ecumenical partner Church for mutual recognition or ‘interim eucharistic sharing’ that falls short of communion or ‘full communion’ with an interchangeable ordained ministry?
2. A standard formula employed in agreed statements involving Anglicans is ‘the word is truly preached and the sacraments duly
Part Two • Baptism and Eucharist
administered’. This expression echoes Article XIX of the ThirtyNine Articles, which in turn derives from Article VII of the Lutheran Augsburg Confession of 1530.
3. What is meant by ‘duly’? What degree of sufficiency is implied? Can the sacraments be duly administered, where a threefold ministry in historical succession is not present?
4. To answer these questions, we need to look at the full text of the
The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in the which the pure word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite and necessary to the same.
5. In referring to Christ’s institution and to what things ‘of necessity are requisite’ to the celebration of the sacraments, the 16th century Reformers intended to speak of where the Church is to be found and where salvation is to be had.
6. In that light the stock formula regarding word and sacrament should be seen as affirming that, in non-episcopally ordered churches, there is a real participation of the faithful in the saving work of Christ through the means of grace that he has ordained.
This was affirmed in the Appeal to All Christian People of the 1920 Lambeth Conference and has been pivotal to a wide range of ecumenical agreements involving Anglicans. In this respect, the Lambeth Conference and the ecumenical agreements faithfully reflect the position of the classical Anglican writers of the seventeenth century.
7. At the same time, however, the stock formula on word and sacrament is highly compressed and lacking in nuance. It needs to be accompanied by – and in practice is normally accompanied by an insistence that Anglicans require an ordained ministry in historical episcopal succession in order to enter into a relationship of Communion and that such a ministry belongs to the full visible unity of Christ’s Church. It rests on the theological conviction that Christ instituted a ministry of personal episkope in the form of the college of the Apostles and their successors.
8. Anglicans look, therefore, for a consistent intention to remain in visible continuity with the mission of the Apostles and believe that this is served by a threefold ministry ordained within the historic episcopate.
9. These two affirmations - that a real and effectual ministry of word and sacrament can be acknowledge in non-episcopally ordered churches, and that Anglicans require a ministry in historic Part Two • Baptism and Eucharist succession in order to enter into ecclesial communion – are supported by a vast range of official Anglican documents, including the Lambeth Appeal of 1920, the Niagara Report (1987), the Meissen Agreement (1991) the Reuilly Agreement (1999) Called to Common Mission (2001), and the Anglican - Methodist Covenant (2003).
10. A resolution of the Lambeth Conference 1968 (Resolution 46:
Relations with other Churches - Anglicans Communicating in other
than Anglican Churches) is particularly pertinent:
The Conference recommends that, whilst it is the general practice of the Church that Anglican communicants receive the Holy Communion at the hands of ordained ministers of their own Church or of Churches in communion therewith, nevertheless under the general direction of the bishop, to meet special pastoral need, such communicants be free to attend the Eucharist in other Churches holding apostolic faith as contained in the Scriptures and summarised in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, and as conscience dictates to receive the sacrament, when they know they are welcome to do so.
11. IASCER commends further development of this topic to its successor body, IASCUFO.
5. Holy Order At the first meeting of IASCER it was decided to set up a working group to address issues of Holy Order. It was evident that there was no place within Anglican Communion structures where questions in this sphere that were being raised in, or as a result of, ecumenical encounters, could be addressed.
Yet these were among the most central areas of debate for the Commission, particularly in relation to the episcopacy, as stressed in Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution IV.2:
Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution IV.2:
The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral This Conference a. reaffirms the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (1888) as a basis on which Anglicans seek the full, visible unity of the Church, and also recognises it as a statement of Anglican unity and identity b. acknowledges that ecumenical dialogues and experience have led to a developing understanding of each of the elements of the Quadrilateral, including the significance of apostolicity, pastoral oversight (episcope), the office of bishop and the historic episcopate;
and c. commends continuing reflection upon the Quadrilateral's contribution to the search for the full, visible unity of the Church, and in particular the role within visible unity of a common ministry of oversight exercised in personal, collegial and communal ways at every level.
Existing dialogues and agreements, as Called to Be One noted, had raised serious questions of consistency and coherence across all ecumenical relationships. Particular issues were also being highlighted, such as the nature of order, and the representative quality of ordination.
Though ecumenical conversations had encouraged a welcome resurgence within Anglicanism of the distinctive or permanent diaconate, dialogue particularly with Lutherans continued to raise questions. These generally related to the nature of the diaconate, both sacramentally and functionally (for example, whether deacons are regarded as in holy orders, and the scope of a deacon’s responsibilities). Where there was a divergence of understanding there needed to be careful consideration of how much, and in what circumstances, this constituted a church-dividing issue, or could be
Part Two • Holy Order
regarded as a bearable anomaly. Furthermore, the relationship of the diaconate to the presbyterate brought into question the nature of the priesthood and with it the possibility of direct ordination, and understandings of the three-fold ordained ministry.
The Holy Order working group tackled this work with gusto and through the following years made a substantial contribution to IASCER’s work. Some of this responded to particular situations or requests, such as Resolution 10.01 which followed difficulties between the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over the reinterpretation of terms within their agreement Called to Common Mission; or Resolution 1.04 and its related paper of Advice on Ecumenical Participation in Ordinations (carried below, following the Resolutions). Resolution 3.05 registered IASCER’s concern that within the Anglican Communion instances of bishops being consecrated in one Province with the intention that they would serve in another, were inconsistent with Anglican understandings of episcopacy as generally expressed in ecumenical discussions, agreements and commitments, and pointed to the need for further study.
The working group also produced two significant papers. The first was a response to the Lutheran Lund Statement, ‘The Episcopal Ministry within the Apostolicity of the Church’. In this response, endorsed by IASCER, commonalities and distinctions between Anglican and Lutheran understandings are finely dissected. It is noteworthy that the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) invited Anglican comment while the Lund Statement was still in draft, in order that these perspectives might be taken into account.
The second was the document ‘Holy Order in Ecumenical Dialogues’, for which IASCER is indebted to Dr William Crockett who undertook the greater part of this comprehensive review of the approach to the ordained ministry within all major recent Anglican ecumenical dialogues. It is a monumental piece of work, and provides not only a thorough and detailed account of all that has been written and agreed, but also an incisive analysis of areas of potential inconsistency and of the underlying matters which these reflect.
Dr Crockett also supplied questions which draw clear attention to the issues at stake. IASCER strongly affirmed his invitation to Anglicans to give these questions careful theological and ecclesiological consideration.
These two papers raised the issue of the anomaly of parallel jurisdiction where bishops ‘in communion’, and so with collegial relationship, exercise their ministry in the same place. This was considered in more detail in Chapter 3.
Part Two • Holy Order
In future work across the whole area of Holy Order, the resources supplied in The Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion are likely to be of considerable value. In particular, Part IV, especially Principles 31 to 47, addresses matters relating to the ministry of the whole Church, including ordained ministry.