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The nature of the Anglican Communion is such that there is an unavoidable disparity in the resources on which different Provinces are able to draw and devote to the pursuit of ecumenism. Those that are well-resourced tend to have larger numbers of ecumenists, who have greater training and experience, and generally enjoy superior access to everything from journals and other publications to conferences and exchanges between experts. These Provinces are likely to provide many skilled candidates for appointment to bodies such as IASCER and the dialogues. All of this, though valuably enhancing expertise, risks exacerbating disparities across our family of Churches. At times, IASCER heard perhaps too much from the better resourced and represented Provinces – and certainly too little from those who were not represented in our membership.
There are three particular challenges here: to develop and resource expertise more widely across the Communion (though this is of course a concern not limited to ecumenism alone); to improve communications between Part One • The Work of IASCER Communion-wide bodies and Provinces, dioceses and their clergy and people (which this book is in part aimed at addressing); and to explore further the ways in which the ecumenical advances of those who have the resources to devote to them can be better appropriated elsewhere in the Communion (point b(v) of IASCER’s mandate relates to this, and some consideration is given in Chapters 3 and 6, in their engagement with issues of transitivity and reception).
Another challenge to IASCER was the time that members were able to devote to the Commission. We worked intensely during the week that we met each December, but there was little capacity to carry this forward between meetings. Our retired members worked disproportionately hard, but they should not be exploited! Others were more than occupied with their primary responsibilities. It was not possible to pursue all the areas of research we would have liked (as is noted in relation to questions of communion, in Chapter 3). We considered commissioning work from others – perhaps research students – but recognised that this would probably require funding of some sort. Nevertheless, it is a matter to which consideration ought to be given, if IASCUFO is to fulfil its mandate.
May I register my thanks to all who participated in the meetings and work of IASCER over the years, and in the production of this book. Most of all I am grateful to the Commission’s members and staff over the years: for worship shared, wisdom imparted, expertise offered, insights exchanged, fellowship cherished and friendships forged and strengthened, not least in our difficult yet determined wrestling together over the issues that have recently so strained the Communion, and to say nothing of companionship in Christ through marriage, illness and widowhood.
Today's world presents many challenges, not only to Anglicans, in following our Saviour Jesus Christ in faithful obedience. Rapid technological change confronts us with new situations and poses new questions; secularisation and other faiths offer their contending views; while globalising information systems bring greater awareness of and interchange between our many different and evolving cultures. Of course, Christians always and everywhere have had to wrestle with authentic expression of the gospel in their own contexts, discerning between appropriate inculturation and erroneous syncretism. My hope and prayer is that this book will help Anglicans and other Christians in similar discernment of how we can most truly respond to our Lord's prayer that we should be one, and thus more fully ‘lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one Part One • The Work of IASCER body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all’ (Ephesians 4.1-6).
2. Anglicans and Ecumenism Anglican ecumenical engagement has a long history. While the contemporary ecumenical movement is often dated from the Edinburgh World Missionary Conference of 1910, Anglicans were explicitly conscious of their vocation to work for Christian unity some half a century earlier, as the seeds of today’s Anglican Communion structures were being sown – and, of course, contacts and conversations with other Christian traditions far pre-date either of these.
As Owen Chadwick records,6 when the Bishop of Montreal was urging the Archbishop of Canterbury to call the very first Lambeth Conference, among his arguments was the assertion that such a Conference would serve an invaluable role in pursuing ‘reunion’ between Anglicans and other Christians.
Though the suggestion was originally ‘taken up only with politeness’, soon a significant part of Lambeth Conference agenda was devoted to relations with other church traditions, even if these did, in early years, give rise to some rather prickly resolutions on the Roman Catholic Church.
The first two Lambeth Conferences of 1867 and 1878 made only brief reference to Christian unity, but in 1888, nine of the nineteen resolutions had an ecumenical dimension, among them, in Resolution 11, the affirmation of what is now known as the ‘The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral’, whose four articles ‘in the opinion of this Conference … supply a basis on which approach may be by God’s blessing made towards home reunion’. The full text of these articles is carried later in this chapter, and to a very considerable degree they remain a touchstone for Anglican encounters with other Christian traditions, as was reaffirmed in Lambeth Conference 1998 Resolution IV:2.
All subsequent Lambeth Conferences have given significant consideration to ecumenical matters, both in addressing the details of particular relationships and in issuing broad resolutions on the nature of our vocation to strive for unity. One such is Resolution 9 of 1920, from which the title of this book is drawn. These have formed the bedrock on which subsequent endeavours have built. (Further consideration of the Lambeth Conference’s role in ecumenical relations is given in Chapter 13.) When the 1966 Lambeth Conference endorsed the proposal for an Anglican Consultative Council, four of the eight listed functions (‘e’ to ‘h’) addressed ecumenical issues. Though others have been added to what is now described
as the Object of the ACC, the four remain unchanged:
e. To keep before national and regional churches the importance of the fullest possible Anglican collaboration with other Christian churches.
Part One • Anglicans and Ecumenism
f. To encourage and guide Anglican participation in the ecumenical movement and the ecumenical organisations, to co-operate with the World Council of Churches and the world confessional bodies on behalf of the Anglican Communion, and to make arrangements for the conduct of pan-Anglican conversations with the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, and other Churches.
g. To advise on matters arising out of national or regional church union negotiations or conversations and on subsequent relations with united churches.
h. To advise on problems of inter-Anglican communication and to help in the dissemination of Anglican and ecumenical information.
Reports on IASCER’s work were made by incumbent Directors of Ecumenical Affairs to ACC-12 and 13, which passed affirmative resolutions.
Among these, 12.26 reminded member Churches of IASCER’s role in advising and supporting national and regional ecumenical initiatives; and
13.32 endorsed IASCER’s resolutions passed between 2002 and 2004, particularly commending the Guidelines on Ecumenical Participation in Ordinations (carried in Chapter 4). Reports have also been made from time to time to the Primates’ Meeting, and to the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) of the Primates and the ACC which has in turn referred work to IASCER.
Because of the distinctive Indaba approach taken at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, no formal report was made, but IASCER’s input was received in other ways, including through advice offered to the Lambeth Conference Design Group (on all of which see Chapter 13).
In this way the work of IASCER has been integrated into the wider life of the Communion at a formal level, particularly through the Instruments of Communion. That said, there are serious concerns about how the fruits of our ecumenical endeavours can be more tangibly and comprehensively received and incorporated into Anglican life, and these are addressed in Chapter 6.
In pursuing its mandate, IASCER of course drew heavily on the views of the Instruments of Communion (particularly the Resolutions and Report, Called to Be One, of Section IV of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, as previously mentioned). From all this, and from what was developed and became implicit in its own deliberations, IASCER endorsed a set of principles of the Anglican approach to ecumenism.
These principles were first offered by the Director of Ecumenical Affairs, Gregory Cameron, as part of an overview of Anglican ecumenical engagement to the Ninth Forum on Bilateral Dialogues facilitated by the
Part One • Anglicans and Ecumenism
Faith and Order Commission of the WCC, in Breklum in March 2008. In reviewing this contribution, IASCER realised that a clear explication of such principles could provide a valuable resource for all Anglicans engaged in relationships with other Christian traditions, and passed a resolution commending them for consideration and further development by ACC and
Principles of Anglican Engagement in Ecumenism
• welcomes the document ‘Principles of Anglican Engagement with Ecumenism’ prepared by the Director of Ecumenical Affairs, and commends it to ACC-14 for reflection and discussion
• hopes that the document may be further developed by IASCUFO as a resource for ecumenical work in the Anglican Communion.
A more mature form of these principles, now reduced from six to four, was refined by Canon Cameron through the discussion at IASCER and in
subsequent informal consultations:
Four Principles of Anglican Engagement in Ecumenism
1. The Goal of the Ecumenical Movement The Anglican Communion is organised as a family of national and regional Churches living in communion with one another. These Churches understand themselves to belong to the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. The Anglican Communion is a therefore a partial expression of a deeper reality, and the Communion is not self-contained. Anglicans believe that God calls all Christians into the full visible unity of the one Church of Jesus Christ in order to be a living expression of God’s purposes for the reconciliation of the whole of creation. Anglican Churches are therefore committed to the full visible unity of the Church, according to the ancient understanding of church
unity (as first developed in the writings of Ignatius of Antioch, c100):
namely, all the people of God in one place gathered around their bishop in one eucharistic fellowship, sharing one proclamation of one faith, with one ministry in the service of the Gospel, and oriented towards mission.
We believe that the unity which is both God’s will and his gift to his Church is being made visible as all in each place who are baptised into Jesus Christ and confess him as Lord and Saviour are brought by the Holy Spirit into one fully committed fellowship, holding the Part One • Anglicans and Ecumenism one apostolic faith, preaching the one Gospel, breaking the one bread, joining in common prayer, and having a corporate life reaching out in witness and service to all, and who at the same time are united with the whole Christian fellowship in all places and all ages in such wise that ministry and members are accepted by all, and that all can act and speak together as occasion requires for the tasks to which God calls his people.
WCC 3rd Assembly, New Delhi, 1961 In this conciliar fellowship each local Church possesses, in communion with the others, the fullness of catholicity, witnesses to the same apostolic faith, and therefore recognises the others as belonging to the same Church of Christ and guided by the same Spirit.
WCC 5th Assembly Nairobi, 1975
2. The Task of the Ecumenical Movement Anglicans acknowledge that communion with the Triune God, which is a gift established by grace through faith, entails a serious obligation to grow into fullness of communion with all Christians. The task of Anglican engagement in the ecumenical movement is therefore to ‘recognise and receive’ those elements of the one true Church which Anglicans apprehend in their ecumenical partners. This task calls for and promotes ecumenism on many different levels - not just in doctrinal dialogue, but also in the invitation to share worship, prayer and the exploration of spirituality. It also entails shared engagement with the world, and the development of a common mission and witness. The ecumenical commitment of the Anglican Communion should be expressed all round (towards all ecumenical partners without favour) and at every level (from the local to the global).
‘We believe that God wills fellowship. By God's own act this fellowship was made in and through Jesus Christ, and its life is in his Spirit. We believe that it is God's purpose to manifest this fellowship, so far as this world is concerned, in an outward, visible, and united society, holding one faith, having its own recognised officers, using God-given means of grace, and inspiring all its members to the world-wide service of the Kingdom of God. This is what we mean by the Catholic Church. … This united fellowship is not visible in the world today. On the one hand there are other ancient episcopal Communions in East and West, to whom ours is bound by many ties of common faith and tradition. On the other hand there are the great non-episcopal Communions, standing for rich elements of truth, liberty and life which might otherwise have been obscured or neglected. With them we are closely linked by many affinities, racial, historical and spiritual. We cherish the earnest hope that all these Communions, and our own, may be led