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«The Vision Before Us Compiled and Edited by Sarah Rowland Jones The Vision Before Us The Kyoto Report of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on ...»

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Working Group on Holy Order IASCER is concerned about unilaterally altering agreements after they are signed, in light of the developments in Anglican - Lutheran relations in the USA, namely the implications of the ELCA bylaw concerning ordination ‘in unusual circumstances’, which contradicts the agreement in Called to Common Mission. Such a development seems to undermine ecumenical method and could potentially hinder progress in dialogue between Anglicans and Lutherans in other parts of the world. IASCER maintains that the ordination by pastors in Lutheran Churches which have entered binding agreements with Anglican Churches is an inconsistency which would be difficult to explain to other ecumenical partners, especially the Orthodox and Oriental Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. Anglicans do not consider ordination solely by pastors/presbyters to be an acceptable practice within an agreement of this nature which is intended to bring about a fully interchangeable ministry. IASCER has a similar concern about the continuing practice of ordination by Deans in the Church of Norway, which Anglicans had anticipated would be phased out in the light of the Porvoo Agreement Further, that IASCER

• requests the Joint Anglican - Lutheran Commission in Canada to make more explicit the commitment, understood implicitly in the Waterloo Declaration, to the ancient norm (Canon 4 of the Council of Nicaea) that at least three bishops in the historic succession lay on hands in the ordination of bishops

• that IASCER will discuss the difference between the priesthood of the whole body and the priesthood of the ordained at a future meeting and noted that the papers from ICAOTD may be helpful to this discussion

• that IASCER encourages those Provinces considering a renewed diaconate to explore good examples of the practice of a distinctive diaconate in other parts of the Anglican Communion in Churches in Communion and in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches

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• that IASCER welcomes the substantial work presented in the paper on Holy Order in Ecumenical Dialogues from Dr Bill Crockett and Professor Bob Wright, and is grateful for the stimulus it has provided to the discussion on many aspects of the doctrine of the ministry. The Commission acknowledges the potential wider use of this paper and encourages the authors to consider publication of this work when finalised.

Decision 10.01 above was reaffirmed in 2002.

Resolution 1.04:

Ecumenical Participation in Ordinations


adopts the attached statement (see below) on the participation of Anglican bishops and clergy in ordinations outside the Anglican Communion, and of the clergy of other churches in Anglican ordinations, and refers these guidelines to Primates and Provincial Secretaries, and to the Primates’ Meeting.

Resolution 3.05:

Episcopal Collegiality


1. notes with concern the recent growth of instances of the consecration of a bishop by the bishops of one Province with the intention that the person consecrated serve in another, and the appointment of bishops or priests for missionary work in other Provinces

2. believes that such actions challenge the canonical and ecclesiological understanding of a bishop as chief pastor of a local church and a member of the episcopal college, which has been a consistent part of the Anglican understanding of episcopacy in ecumenical discussion, agreement and commitment

3. recognises that provincial decisions that impinge on the collegiality of the episcopate have consequences for existing and emerging ecumenical agreements and commitments

4. resolves to undertake a study of the compatibility of decisions concerning the ordained ministry, including episcopal collegiality with ecumenical agreements and commitments

–  –  –

5. recommends Provinces to weigh carefully the potential ecumenical implications of any decisions on, or proposals for, action concerning episcopal ministry and seek the advice of IASCER whenever such ecumenical implications may be involved.

Ecumenical Participation in Ordinations (see Resolution 1.04) The following guidelines were written in December 2004 by the InterAnglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations, a body appointed by the Instruments of Communion to oversee ecumenical work both internationally and by the Churches of the Anglican Communion. They were adopted by the Primates and Moderators of the Anglican Communion at their meeting in Northern Ireland in February 2005, and are commended to the Provinces and Churches of the Anglican Communion.

The guidelines are addressed to situations in which Anglican bishops and priests are invited to participate in ordinations of clergy in churches outside the Anglican Communion, or in which clergy of churches outside the Anglican Communion are invited to participate in Anglican ordinations.

Recognising that such acts can have wider consequences than originally intended, and in response to many requests from bishops and others for guidelines and clarifications concerning the standards for individual Anglican bishops or priests participating in such ordinations, or clergy of other churches desiring to participate in Anglican ordinations, IASCER commends the following guidelines for adoption throughout the churches of the Anglican Communion.

These guidelines are not intended to address situations in which a church of the Anglican Communion is engaged in a process leading toward the establishment of communion with another church or churches. In these cases, Anglican churches are requested to consult with IASCER in advance of such participation.


1. (a) It is appropriate for Anglican bishops, when invited, to participate in episcopal ordinations or consecrations in churches with which their own churches are in communion, including the laying on of hands. Within this ecclesial context, the laying on of hands is an indication of the intent to confer holy orders, and a sign of the communion that we share.

(b) Anglican bishops should refrain from participating in the laying on of hands at the ordination or consecration of a bishop for a church with which their own church is not in communion.

Part Two • Holy Order

Ordination is always an act of God in and through the church, which from the Anglican perspective means that bishops are representative ministers of their own churches. Ordination is not the individual act of bishops in their own persons.

(c) Similarly, bishops from other churches not in communion should not take part in the laying on of hands at the ordination or consecration of Anglican bishops, for the collegial and sacramental sign of the laying on the hands by bishops belongs within the context of ecclesial communion.

(d) Anglicans welcome the participation of bishops from other churches in the Liturgy of the Word and elsewhere in celebrations of episcopal ordination or consecration. Their very presence and prayers are valued ecumenical signs, even when the present state of ecclesial relations does not permit the interchangeability of sacramental ministries.

2. (a) It is appropriate for Anglican priests, when invited, to participate in ordinations of presbyters in churches with which their church is in communion, including the laying on of hands.

Such acts are a sign of the communion that we share.

(b) Anglican priests should not take part in the laying on of hands in the ordinations of ministers of word and sacrament in churches with which their own church is not in communion, because such an act belongs within the context of ecclesial communion.

(c) Similarly, ministers from churches not in communion should not take part in the laying on of hands at the ordination of Anglican priests, because this too belongs within the context of ecclesial communion.

(d) Anglicans welcome the participation of presbyters and other ministers of word and sacrament from other churches in the Liturgy of the Word and elsewhere in celebrations of priestly ordination. The very presence and prayers of such ministers are valued ecumenical signs, even when the present state of ecclesial relations does not permit the interchangeability of sacramental ministries.


Montego Bay December 2004

Part Two • Holy Order

An Anglican Response by the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations to ‘The Episcopal Ministry within the Apostolicity of the Church’ This document was considered at the Anglican - Lutheran International Commission meeting of January 2006 and then forwarded to the March 2006 meeting of the LWF Council.

IASCER welcomes the Lutheran document ‘The Episcopal Ministry within the Apostolicity of the Church’ as an important contribution to the ongoing dialogue between Lutherans and Anglicans on episcopal ministry. The reflections and questions offered in this response are an invitation to further engagement leading towards the potential universalisation of present regional Anglican - Lutheran agreements.

I. Mission, Apostolicity, and Apostolic Succession ‘The Episcopal Ministry within the Apostolicity of the Church’ (hereafter EMAC) sets the ministry of oversight (episkope) firmly within the context of God’s mission and the mission of the church as the whole people of God. This reflects the starting-point of The Niagara Report (hereafter Niagara) which established the initial benchmark for Anglican - Lutheran regional agreements on episkope and episcopacy.48 Likewise, in The Porvoo Common Statement (hereafter Porvoo) the apostolic continuity of the church is understood in the context of God’s ultimate purpose and mission in Christ, which is the restoration and renewal of all creation, the coming of the reign of God in its fullness. For EMAC the handing on of this mission, in which the Holy Spirit makes Christ present as the Word of God, is the primary meaning of apostolic tradition. While IASCER affirms this setting of episcopal ministry within the framework of the apostolicity of the church, it notes that a theology of episcopacy needs also to be related to the unity, holiness, and catholicity of the church.

Following Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (hereafter BEM) EMAC affirms that ‘Apostolic tradition in the Church means continuity in the permanent characteristics of the Church of the apostles: witness to the apostolic faith, proclamation and fresh interpretation of the Gospel, celebration of baptism and the eucharist, the transmission of ministerial responsibilities, communion in prayer, love, joy and suffering, service to the sick and the needy, unity among the local churches and sharing the gifts which the Lord has given to each.’ (BEM, ‘Ministry’, 34) According to both EMAC and BEM ‘the primary manifestation of apostolic succession is to be found in the apostolic tradition of the Church as a whole. The succession is an expression of the permanence and, therefore, of the continuity of Christ’s own mission in which the Church participates.’ (BEM, ‘Ministry’, 35) Apostolic succession means continuity in this tradition. For EMAC ‘the

Part Two • Holy Order

Reformation aimed at the renewal of the church catholic in its true continuity with the evangelical mission of the apostles.’ (EMAC, p.2) The affirmation that apostolic succession is primarily a characteristic of the church as a whole in its varied witness has become a hallmark of the ecumenical dialogues. There are a variety of means by which the church maintains continuity in the apostolic tradition. These include the scriptures, the ecumenical creeds, the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist, and an apostolic ministry. Apostolic succession cannot be limited to ministerial succession. Succession in the sense of the succession of ordained ministers must be seen within the succession of the whole church in the apostolic faith. How then is the ordained ministry to be understood as apostolic and how can episcopal ministry be understood as an aspect of and a service to the apostolic succession of the whole church?

II. Apostolicity and Ordained Ministry EMAC affirms that ‘within the apostolic continuity of the whole church there is a continuity or succession in the ordained ministry’ which serves the church’s continuity in the apostolic tradition of faith and life.

‘The ordained ministry belongs to God’s gifts to the church, essential and necessary for the church to fulfil its mission.’ The ordained ministry is ‘constitutive for the church,’ (EMAC, p.3) but its shape is determined by the mission of the church in a particular time and place.

There is a growing ecumenical consensus on the nature of ministry reflected in BEM and other ecumenical agreements. Fundamental to this consensus is the affirmation that the context for understanding the ordained ministry is the calling of all the baptised. ‘All the baptised are called to participate in, and share responsibility for, worship (leitourgia), witness (martyria), and service (diakonia).’ The ordained ministry of word and sacrament exists to serve ‘the mission and ministry of the whole people of God’. (EMAC, p.3) All ministries in the church, including the ordained ministry, are gifts (charisms) of the Spirit for the building up of the body of Christ (Romans 12.4-8; 1 Corinthians 12.4-11). ‘The Holy Spirit bestows on the community diverse and complementary gifts.’ (BEM, ‘Ministry’, 5) This charismatic understanding of ordained ministry is reflected in BEM’s interpretation of the meaning of ordination: ‘Ordination denotes an action by God and the community’ which through long tradition takes place ‘in the context of worship and especially of the eucharist…. The act of ordination by the laying on of hands of those appointed to do so is at one and the same time invocation of the Holy Spirit (epiklesis);

sacramental sign; acknowledgement of gifts and commitment.

Ordination is an invocation to God that the new minister be given the power of the Holy Spirit in the new relation which is established

Part Two • Holy Order

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