Communiqué September 2007
The Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission met between Monday, 10 September and Sunday, 16 September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Commission is grateful for the warmth of the welcome it received from Bishop Ng Moon Hing, Bishop of the Diocese of West Malaysia, and the efficient help given by the clergy and staff of the Diocese who were responsible for much of the local organisation in preparation for the Commission’s meeting. Bishop Lim Cheng Ean, former Bishop of the Diocese and a member of the Commission, also provided invaluable assistance. On the Sunday morning members of the Commission worshipped with several local congregations.
The Commission regretted that its Chair, Bishop Stephen Sykes, was unable to be present because of illness, and members of the Commission sent their good wishes to him. In Bishop Sykes’ absence the meeting was chaired by Bishop Stephen Pickard, Assistant Bishop of Adelaide in the Anglican Church of Australia.
The Commission was joined for this meeting by Mr Wen Ge of Nanjing Theological Seminary, China. Mr Wen Ge’s presence at this meeting resulted from the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to China in October 2006, and the desire to build closer relationships of friendship and co-operationbetween the Anglican Communion and the China Christian Council. We appreciated the ecumenical perspective that Wen Ge was able to bring to our deliberations.
The work of the Commission concentrated on three areas: drawing to a completion the work of the Communion Study on which the Commission has been working since its formation in 2001, revising the document on Bishops and Communion which it had originally produced during its meeting in 2006, and preparation for the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
The major task of this Commission meeting was to bring to a conclusion the consultative study on the Communion. This has beenaccomplished successfully, producing a significant report on the nature and sustaining of Communion. The report will be offered to the Archbishop of Canterbury whose predecessor in that office established the present Commission following the Lambeth Conference of 1998. The Commission hopes to publish its report in full during the next few months and it will be presented to the Lambeth Conference.
In relation to the document on Bishops and Communion, entitled The Anglican Way: The Significance of the Episcopal Office for the Communion of the Church, the Commission was grateful for the attention and appraisal that the document had received from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations, and in its revision took account of the comments that IASCER had made. The Commission also emphasised that the document was produced to meet a particular need, with the provision of resources forthe Lambeth Conference in mind, and to link particularly to the bishop’s role in fostering and upholding Communion, the overall focus of this Commission’s work.
The Commission took up the invitation it had received to reflect on the Draft Text for an Anglican Covenant which has been published by the Covenant Design Group. It also discussed possible contributions in the area of theology and doctrine which it might be able to offer during the forthcoming Lambeth Conference.
With this meeting the work of the Commission draws to a close. From its first gathering, held in disrupted circumstances (due to the events of 9/11) in September 2001, through meetings in England, the United States, Kenya and now Malaysia, members of the Commission have enjoyed working together, perceiving their mutual engagement in Commission meetings and by e-mail as an example of ‘communion in action’.
Those present in Kuala Lumpur were:
The Rt Revd Professor Stephen Pickard (Acting Chair), Anglican Church of Australia
The Revd Canon Dr Philip H E Thomas (Assistant to the Chair), Church of England
The Revd Dr Victor R Atta-Baffoe, Church of the Province of West Africa
The Rt Revd Dr Samuel R Cutting, Church of North India
The Rt Revd Tan Sri Dr Lim Cheng Ean, Church of the Province of South East Asia
The Revd Dr Bruce N Kaye, Anglican Church of Australia
The Revd Canon Luke Pato, Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Rt Revd Paul Richardson, Church of England
The Revd Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, Church of England
Dr Eileen Scully, Anglican Church of Canada
Dr Jenny Te Paa, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia
The Rt Revd Hector ‘Tito’ Zavala, Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
Mr Wen Ge, China Christian Council
Mrs Clare Amos, Anglican Communion Office
The Revd Terrie Robinson, Anglican Communion Office