Anglican liturgists will meet in August 1997 to discuss the theology of ordination and ordination rites at a conference to be organized by the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation.
The Steering Committee of the Consultation met recently near Johannesburg to plan the 1997 conference. The conference will take place in Finland, near the site of the biennial congress of Societas Liturgica, the ecumenical liturgical academy.
Ronald Dowling, convener of the Consultation, told the Steering Committee that he had already invited Anglican members of Societas Liturgica to attend the conference. The IALC organizes conferences at mid-point between full Consultations, which are held every four years. Conferences undertake scholarly preparation for the Consultations and help set their agendas.
The Steering Committee identified a number of issues for consideration, including the Reformation background of Anglican ordination practice, the nature and definition of the episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate, the place of "local ordained ministry" and commissioned lay workers and catechists in the overall ministry of the church, the question of ordination directly to the presbyterate and the episcopate, the content and style of ordination rites and the theology implied, the role of the ministry in relation to the church as model of the kingdom, and the servant role of the ministry.
Important ecumenical issues noted by the Steering Committee include rites for mutual recognition of ministry and orders and rites for the unification of ministry, Anglican relations with Lutherans, Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and united churches like the Church of South India, and the question of parallel episcopal structures functioning in the same territory.
The Steering Committee developed a goal for the 1997 conference, expressing hope that the conference will explore ordination practice in relation to current thought on the nature of the church and will produce a theological statement on the church and the calling of the church. Members also hoped the conference will develop guidelines on ordination rites and the conduct of ordinations, and reflections on Christian unity in relation to orders.
The Steering Committee began work on the agenda of the conference under four headings: the nature of order in the church, imparting ministry in the church, historical questions with biblical, second century, and Reformation roots, and ecumenical questions for the future.
The conference will run from August 4-9, during the week immediately before the congress of Societas Liturgica. Further information may be obtained from the Consultation's convener, Ronald Dowling, 9 Ridge Road, South Perth WA 6151, Australia, or from the ACC Coordinator for Liturgy, Paul Gibson, c/o The Anglican Church of Canada, 600 Jarvis Street, Toronto ON M4Y 2J6, Canada. Other members of the Steering Committee at the Johannesburg meeting were Bishop Colin Buchanan (England), Sister Jean Campbell OSH (U.S.A.), and Prof. Solomon Amusan (Nigeria).
Among other matters the Steering Committee noted that a volume of essays and other material relating to the Dublin 1995 Consultation on renewing the eucharist in the Anglican Communion will be published shortly.