Unity Faith and Order - Commissions IASCER

The Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations

IASCER: Resolutions arising from the 2004 meeting

 

Resolution 1.04

Ecumenical Participation in Ordinations

IASCER

  • adopts the attached statement (Appendix One) 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 2.04

The Windsor Report

IASCER

  • adopts the attached statement (Appendix Two) as a summary of its reflections on the Windsor Report, as requested by the Reception Reference Group established by the Primates’ Standing Committee, and submits the document to the Reception Group for consideration by the Primates at their meeting in February 2005.

Resolution 3.04

Anglican – Lutheran Relations in Australia

IASCER

welcomes the resolution of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia 2004 concerning the Anglican/Lutheran Dialogue and notes the Report of their Doctrine Commission which “states that ‘Common Ground’, as supplemented by the Second Report of the Dialogue, is in conformity with Anglican doctrine and other agreed ecumenical statements”

while celebrating the adoption of a covenant between the Anglican Church of Australia and the Lutheran Church of Australia, urges greater clarity in the use of the terms “recognition” of ministry (as a basis for eucharistic hospitality between the two churches), and “reconciliation” of ministries (on the way to full communion).

Resolution 4.04

Anglican - Oriental Orthodox Dialogue

IASCER

welcomes the responses that have been received, following the request of IASCER in 2002, to the Agreed Statement on Christology produced by the International Dialogue between the churches of the Anglican Communion and the Oriental Orthodox churches until now divided over the Christological Definition of the Council of Chalcedon in 451

in the light of the full and positive responses from the provinces of Canada, Ireland and North India, and the need for the Lambeth Conference 2008 to consider the Agreed Statement on Christology, urges those provinces who have not so far responded, or who have not regarded such a response as a matter that concerns them, to respond to this agreement touching the central theological question of our understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ, and encourages such responses to be made by Easter 2006

  • notes the response of the Standing Committee of the Oriental Orthodox churches of the Middle East regarding the Windsor Report and the postponed dialogue; and encourages a response to be sought from the whole family of Oriental Orthodox churches. In seeking such a response IASCER recognises that there is a need to explain carefully to the Oriental Orthodox churches the processes by which the provinces of the Anglican Communion are responding to the Windsor Report, and also to address some of their expressed concerns by drawing their attention to the Statement of the Primates’ Meeting in October, 2003
  • hopes that a resumption of the dialogue may be possible, with a consideration of ‘The life of the Holy Spirit in the Church’ and ‘Living together as a family of churches’, in which the understanding and experience of Anglicans and Oriental Orthodox may be reflected on together.

Resolution 5.04

Christian World Communions

IASCER

  • welcomes the general direction of the draft resolutions of the meeting of Secretaries of Christian World Communions (Appendix Three), in the spirit of the Lund principle that churches should do together all those things that deep differences of conviction do not compel them to do separately
  • encourages the Secretaries of the CWCs to consult each other prior to advising their communions on any proposed communion-wide initiatives and to take ecumenical considerations into account at an early stage

  • wishes to see the CWCs taking a more prominent role in the ecumenical movement generally and in the WCC in particular.

Resolution 6.04

the World Council of Churches

IASCER

  • adopts the message to the World Council of Churches (Appendix Four) and requests the Director of Ecumenical Affairs to forward it to the Secretary General of the World Council
  • requests the Deputy Secretary General of the Anglican Communion to establish an electronic meeting that would enable Anglican delegates and advisers to the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil in February 2006 to exchange information and Anglican perspectives as part of their preparation for that meeting

  • requests the member churches of the Anglican Communion to send contact information about their participants in the Assembly to the Anglican Communion Office as soon as possible.

Appendix One

Ecumenical Participation in Ordinations

The following 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.

Guidelines:

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.

1(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. 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.

1(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.

1(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.

2(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.

2(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.

2(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.

Appendix Two: Response to the Windsor Report

Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations:

Windsor Report

 

IASCER has been asked to respond to the Windsor Report in preparation for the meeting of the Primates in February 2005. Below are the initial reflections on the Report and its ecumenical implications, agreed at IASCER’s meeting in December 2004.

The Windsor Report is a rich resource for ecumenical endeavours, offering mature consideration of Anglican self-understanding, grounded in Scripture, which invites partners to engage with the fundamental issues that it addresses.

These issues, and the Communion’s response, have major ecumenical implications.

Reception of the Windsor Report: Implications for Ecumenical Relations

IASCER hopes the Communion will pursue the Report’s recommendations, as this will significantly assist ecumenical relations. Not following this course is likely to complicate and further impair relations.

Provinces should note that ecumenical partners will follow their responses in close detail.

IASCER welcomes in principle the proposal for a Council of Advice for the Archbishop of Canterbury (§111,112). This should contain ecumenical expertise and be charged with considering ecumenical dimensions of the matters before it, in conjunction with appropriate advice from IASCER.

IASCER also welcomes in principle the proposal for an Anglican Covenant (§118-120). This could have major implications for the conduct of ecumenical relations, as a covenant might clarify the process by which the Anglican Communion makes decisions about proposed ecumenical agreements.

IASCER believes the recognition and articulation of the body of shared principles of Canon Law could strengthen the ecclesial character of the Anglican Communion (§113-117).

In their legislation, Anglican provinces should always be mindful of their local and global ecumenical responsibilities (§47, 79, 130).

Associated Developments in Ecumenical Relations

Several ecumenical partners have reacted strongly to the developments behind the Windsor Report (§28, 130).

Consequentially, there is a slow-down in some bilateral dialogues during what partners see as this unstable period prior to provinces’ responses to the Report. Some have questioned whether we are a reliable and consistent ecumenical partner.

Nevertheless, partners have appreciated our ecumenical intent, shown by seeking their contributions to the Lambeth Commission, and now inviting their responses to the Report.

IASCER looks forward to studying these responses, as a further contribution to our ecumenical relations.

The Windsor Report as a Resource for Ecumenical Relations

Many of the Report’s themes are prominent in ecumenical relations, eg the nature of the Church and local, regional and international ecclesial bodies, and relationships between them; authority; the instruments of unity; and episkopé, including primacy.

Koinonia refers primarily to the life of the one Church of Christ. Its theological principles therefore are relevant both to the life of the Anglican Communion and to ecumenical relations (Section B in particular). Fractures in communion are always serious and care should be exercised in using such expressions as ‘impaired communion.’

The report also articulates a vision of the nature of Anglicanism which can be offered in ecumenical relations. Whatever we say about the Anglican Communion and its ecumenical relations should be brought to the touchstone of the four credal marks of the Church – One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic (§49).

Issues for Further Consideration

Many partner churches experience similar tensions over human sexuality. They also face the legislative redefinition of marriage in many countries(§28). We might profitably share with each other our continuing work on the theological understanding of human sexuality, and its grounding in Scripture, tradition and reason.

Many provinces have entered various Covenants with partners: fuller theological reflection on the meaning of Covenant might help our understanding of our interdependence.

IASCER considers that ecumenical relations would be assisted by further careful clarification of terminology (eg distinguishing between homosexual orientation and practice; also clarifying usage of ‘church’ between the Universal Church and its Anglican expressions).

Ecumenical relations would similarly be helped by fuller exploration and articulation of the following matters to which the Windsor Report refers:

  • The role of the Archbishop of Canterbury – noting the Communion-wide ministry of the Archbishop of Canterbury as an Instrument of Unity, and in the service of the other Instruments of Unity (§108-110). Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry speaks of personal, collegial and communal dimensions of ministry operating at every level of the Church’s life (BEM: Ministry, III.B.27).
  • Adiaphora – noting that Hooker spoke rather of ‘things accessory to salvation’ (§36,37)
  • The ‘common good’ – noting this applies within the Anglican Communion, and within the Universal Church and wider world (§51,80)
  • Covenant – noting that several provinces have entered various types of covenant with ecumenical partners, and that fuller theological reflection on the meaning and expression of covenant may help our understanding of our familial relationship (§119)
  • Language used to describe interdependence within the Anglican Communion, which may help us, and our partners, better understand and live out the autonomy within mutual commitments.

Appendix Three

Concerning the role of the Christian World Communions in the Search for Christian Unity

Proposals from Group I of the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions, Buenos Aires, 23-28 October 2004

 

Group I invites the 2004 meeting of the CS/CWCs to consider the following seven proposals and whether they should be sent to the CWCs for comment by March 2005:

As the Christian world communions consider the ways in which they contribute to Christian unity, it is proposed that the CWCs

  • be guided by the “Lund dictum” – to do separately what can only be done separately, and do ecumenically what can be done ecumenically,
  • invite the participation of ecumenical representatives and advisers in their own commissions and governing bodies,
  • welcome a representative of the WCC in bilateral dialogues and other ecumenical relations,
  • use fully the opportunities given to them in the WCC bylaws for various forms of participation in the life of the WCC, such as sending advisers to the meetings of the Central Committee,
  • seek to avoid “pillarization” of the ecumenical movement, with the various problematic consequences it entails – eg, in the area of dual membership by churches in CWCs,
  • open up for deeper forms of mutual questioning and listening in matters of faith and Christian life,
  • explore whether the time has come for world presidents/representatives of governing bodies of the CWCs to meet in the context of the Conference of Secretaries, as was originally envisaged.

Appendix Four

Message to the World Council of Churches

Members of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations (IASCER), meeting in Jamaica December 5-10, 2004, received reports of the Kuala Lumpur meeting of the Faith and Order Plenary Commission of the World Council of Churches, and of the Geneva meeting on Reconfiguring the Ecumenical Movement.

IASCER wishes to express some concern about the present situation of the World Council of Churches. We recognize that there has been a steady diminution of money and staff over the past decade. This situation should lead to a serious scrutiny of the Council’s activity, with a view to discontinuing any work that is more appropriately done regionally or locally. Without such scrutiny, undertaken in consultation with member churches, we fear that the Council will continue some programmes because of their history rather than because of their necessity in the present moment and for the future.

IASCER also has a concern that meetings of the WCC do not always make the most of the opportunities for the work of the ecumenical movement when representatives of member churches come together. There is sometimes not enough attention paid to questions of process design that would facilitate every participant making their best contribution and meeting with people from other traditions in a way that promotes ecumenical friendship and furthers understanding.

Despite the warm hospitality of local hosts, the joy of meeting, and some significant contributions, IASCER notes with concern some negative reports of the Plenary Commission of Faith and Order meeting in Kuala Lumpur in July/August 2004.

Anglicans bear a particular concern for the welfare of Faith and Order, having been strongly committed to the movement from its beginning. Indeed, for many Anglican churches, Faith and Order remains the most privileged instrument for serving the quest for the full visible unity of the Church. We thus regret the tendencies in recent years to weaken the role and particular focus of Faith and Order within the World Council of Churches as a whole. While we welcome the way in which its theological support is often sought for other programmes, we think this should not be allowed to distract Faith and Order from its core responsibilities in the area of ecumenical ecclesiology.

Anglican priorities lead us to insist that in any reconfiguring of the ecumenical movement, the central place of Faith and Order should be maintained and strengthened. Without this, we consider the future of the World Council of Churches may look increasingly vulnerable and the churches’ quest for unity may be compromised.

At the same time as we offer these critical points, we want to affirm the new ways of working undertaken by the Council in response to the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation, particularly in making decisions as much as possible by consensus. We believe that this will strengthen the Council’s ability to be a fellowship of churches and to serve the member churches in their ecumenical endeavours.

 

Montego Bay
December 2004