IATDC 'Communion' Issues - October 2006
Three documents produced at the recent meeting of the Inter-Anglican Doctrinal and Theological Commission have been commended by the Archbishop of Canterbury for study throughout the Anglican Communion.
In common with other commissions and networks, the IATDC considered the proposal of the Windsor Report for the creation of an Anglican covenant which could express the way in which Anglicans in different parts of the world live together. ‘Responding to the Proposal of a Covenant’ reflects on the biblical and ecclesiological background to the idea of covenant, and observes ways in which the concept of covenanting may be fruitfully employed to demonstrate a way in which Anglicans seek to stay together in times of controversy.
The Archbishop had invited the Commission to give attention to the particular role of bishops in maintaining the unity of the church. The equipping of bishops for their work and ministry is expected to be an important element in the next Lambeth Conference (2008), and the Commission has offered a number of theses as a theological and doctrinal under-girding for that process.
The ongoing work of the IATDC, a study of ‘the nature and maintenance of communion, and especially the Anglican Communion’ was resumed, and a ‘Summary Argument from the “Communion Study”’ incorporates insights gained from the most recent, third round of conversations with Anglican bishops and theological teachers which the Commission has been facilitating.
The Chair of the IATDC, the Rt Rev Professor Stephen Sykes, commented: "The meeting in Kenya was very good indeed, and I think we are developing a really positive assessment of things which hold Anglicans together today. The three papers that were produced indicate something of our understanding so far, and I hope they may prove to be useful as the Anglican Communion continues to explore its identity as a world-wide Christian community".
The Archbishop has remitted all three papers to the St Augustine’s Seminar (4 to 11 November 2006) which will be undertaking preparatory work on the Lambeth Conference agenda. The theses on the Episcopal office will also be offered to the Theological Education for the Anglican Communion (TEAC) training programme, and responses to the idea of an Anglican covenant forwarded to the Covenant Design Group.
The IATDC expects to meet in Kuala Lumpur next year in order to complete and develop the overall Communion Study.