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|LAMBETH CONFERENCE ENDS 4TH AUG 2008, BIBLE STUDY " HOW HAPPY ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE WITHOUT SEEING ME" Jn 20:29
August 4, 2008
[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] Lambeth Indaba Capturing Conversations and Reflections from the Lambeth Conference 2008
Equipping Bishops for Mission andStrengthening Anglican Identity
3 August 2008
From the Reflections Group Lambeth Indaba 2008
Capturing the conversations and reflections from the Lambeth Conference 2008: Equipping bishops for mission and strengthening Anglican identity.
Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.
Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all his benefits.
The Reflections Group has been privileged to serve the Lambeth Conference in their capacity as Listeners in and for their indaba. Face to face conversations, often exchanging conflicting and challenging points of view, have led to deeper understanding and new insights. The task of the Listener has been to capture the spirit of these encounters.
This document is not the primary outcome of this Conference. Written words can never adequately describe the life-changing nature of our time together. We have gained a deeper appreciation of the worldwide Anglican Communion and of our common calling as disciples of Christ.
Each listener has tried to prayerfully reflect the conversations that have taken place in the sixteen indaba groups mindful of the mandate given to them to be faithful to the gospel, the indaba process, the bishops gathered at Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Communion.
The status of the document is that of a narrative. It seeks to describe our lived experience and the open and honest discussions we have had together on the daily themes of the conference. We acknowledge that the most powerful narrative that accompanies us on the journey back to our diocese is in the transformation that has taken place in our lives through the renewal of our faith in Jesus. Friendships formed, pain and brokenness experienced, gestures of generosity, and the testimonies of those who live out the gospel daily in costly acts of discipleship remain etched in our hearts.
The indaba must go on in our lives, in our diocese and in our communities, as we continue the process of purposeful discussion. This document may be used in appropriate ways to tell forth the good news of Jesus Christ and to strengthen our common life in the Anglican Communion.
I am grateful to the group of Listeners and to the Revd Canon Gregory Cameron and Miss Katrina Stevens from the Secretariat who worked together with dedication modelling through many hours of work the spirit of indaba. We thank the bishops who participated in their indaba and in the hearings for their wisdom and comments that have enhanced the Reflections document.
Our prayer is that God may teach us to continue our indaba with reverence, to go forth in obedience, to finish our conversations with love, and then to wait patiently in hope, looking joyfully to Jesus Christ, our Lord, whose promises are faithful and rewards infinite.
Archbishop of Perth and Metropolitan of Western Australia
Chair, Reflections Group
3 August 2008
Section A: Introduction
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. In him, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, you were marked with the Holy Spirit, to the praise of his glory.
To Christians everywhere and all people of good will, both in the Churches of the Anglican Communion, and in those of our ecumenical partners, greeting! May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace!'
1. As we, the bishops of the Anglican Communion who have been gathered here in Canterbury, get ready to return to our dioceses and churches, we wish to express our gratitude to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to his staff at Lambeth Palace, to the Lambeth Design Group, and to the Secretary General and the staff of the Anglican Communion Office for all that they have done together in order to enable this fourteenth Lambeth Conference to take place.
2. The Archbishop of Canterbury invited us to gather between 16th July and 3rd August 2008 in Canterbury for purposeful discussion to consider the two themes of “Equipping Bishops for Mission”, and “Strengthening Anglican Identity”. We gather at a sensitive time in the life of the Communion. Acknowledging this, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote in his invitation that acceptance carried with it a willingness to work with the Windsor Report and the Covenant as tools by which the future of the Communion could be shaped. From the very beginning, however, the Archbishop of Canterbury has indicated to us that, although we would have to give attention to the tensions which assail us, the wider life of the Communion is broader and richer than these matters alone. He invited us to reflect with him on how we as bishops might be better equipped for mission and the ways in which we could strengthen our Anglican identity as a faithful response to the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. Our time together has indeed demonstrated to us the breadth and richness of the Communion. It has been a privilege to be here together, to represent our dioceses and to grow in respect and affection for one another. With the many differences among us we have found ourselves profoundly connected with one another and committed to God’s mission. Many of us have experienced a real depth of fellowship in our Bible Study Groups and have been moved, sometimes to tears, by the stories our brothers and sisters have told us about the life of their churches, their communities and their own witness. For many bishops, especially those for whom this has been their first Lambeth Conference, they have understood for the first time what a precious thing it is we have in the Anglican Communion and indeed what it is to be an Anglican. There has been a wonderful spirit of dialogue and we want that to continue beyond the Conference by every means possible - “the indaba must go on,” as one group expressed it. For many of us have discovered more fully why we need one another and the joy of being committed to one another. At a time when many in our global society are seeking just the sort of international community that we already have, we would be foolish to let such a gift fall apart.
4. We miss the presence of our fellow bishops who are not here, whether through illness or the difficulties of travel or other reasons or pressures. We also deeply regret the absence of those who, out of conviction, did not feel able to accept the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury to our gathering. We miss their presence, their fellowship and their wisdom and assure them of our continuing love and prayers. We are very aware that some of our fellow bishops who met in Jerusalem last month have not been present at the Lambeth Conference. We have been diminished by their absence. We shall seek ways in which they may be drawn into our deliberations and held in communion. Our concern now is to rebuild bridges, to look for opportunities to share with them the experience we have had in Canterbury and to find ways of moving forward together in our witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time we have been very conscious of the prayers of people across the Communion and among our ecumenical partners, which has supported our life here.
5. We give thanks for the presence of over seventy bishops in communion and ecumenical participants, who gathered with us. Representatives were welcomed from all parts of God’s household, from Churches East and West. As Anglicans, we rejoice in our fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we welcomed the opportunity to hear their perspectives and wisdom in our deliberations.
6. We wish to express our gratitude for the generous hospitality of the bishops of the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Ireland to bishops from throughout the Communion in the period immediately before the Conference. We were made to feel at home and able to enrich the communion in which we participate even before we arrived in Canterbury. We are also grateful for the opportunity to experience the life of the Church in the British Isles and Ireland and for the privilege of preaching and presiding among our sisters and brothers.
7. We give thanks for the Conference in which our spouses have participated over the last three weeks, as they have lived and prayed alongside our own conference, studies and deliberations.
8. In addition to the staff of the Conference, we are particularly mindful of the hundreds of volunteers, stewards and other participants who made us feel welcome and for the time and energy they expended in ensuring our safety and comfort while we stayed in the University of Kent, Canterbury, and of the work of the chaplaincy team, whose quiet ministrations enabled and sustained our worship throughout the Conference.
9. We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral and to all the cathedral community for the way in which they welcomed us into this mother church for the Anglican Communion.
10. As is fitting, we began our time together in prayer and reflection as the Archbishop of Canterbury led us in three days retreat – a retreat which was centred upon the ancient precincts and spaces of the cathedral. We deeply appreciated this new way of beginning our time together: by enabling us to begin with quiet time in the presence of God, we were enabled to draw closely to him in a way which enabled our own communion through him with each other. In the addresses, based mostly on passages from the letters of Paul, the Archbishop of Canterbury invited the bishops to think about what it meant for the bishop to be a person in whom God revealed Jesus. More specifically, he encouraged us to reflect on how the bishop revealed the Christ who gathers: this means that for the bishop to be a sign of unity is for the bishop constantly to model and to encourage mutual self-giving, so that the community itself assembles to reveal Jesus, in its worship and its witness. During the period of retreat there was opportunity for silence, for building friendships and for people to pray together in small groups, in the hope that this would lay some deep foundation for further encounters during the Conference.
11. We met in the atmosphere of a regular pattern of worship and prayer. As we moved from the retreat to a consideration of the work before us, we joined together in the opening Eucharist of the conference in Canterbury Cathedral. It was a beautiful expression of our Anglican cultural diversity, not least in the song and dance by the Melanesian brothers and sisters as the Book of the Gospels was carried through the Cathedral, and in the use of many languages. The Archbishop of Canterbury presided from the Chair of St Augustine and the sermon was preached by the Bishop of Colombo in Sri Lanka.
12. Worship has, of course, been at the heart of our time together. We have shared in the Eucharist each morning and Evening Prayer each evening, incorporating each day liturgical and musical material from different Provinces, with the worship led in a variety of languages by representatives of the Provinces. In addition, at the centre of the campus has been the “Prayer Place”, staffed by the chaplaincy team. Morning Prayer and Night Prayer have been celebrated there each day and many of us have found it a place to which to go to be still in the presence of God. The chaplaincy team and the musicians’ team have helped us to make worship both a key part of each day and a joy in which to share.
13. In his Presidential Address, Archbishop Rowan set this fourteenth Lambeth Conference in the context of previous gatherings and urged the bishops present toward the fullest possible participation in every aspect of the agenda. He called for transformed relationships, which are about more than having warm feelings toward one another, but about “new habits of respect, patience and understanding that are fleshed out in specific ways and changed habits.” He noted the weaknesses of understanding our life together as simply a loosely federated group of provincial Churches while at the same time recognizing the discernible dangers of a centralized and homogeneous Communion that would inevitably lead us to becoming a confessional church contrary to our historic identity. It is the Archbishop’s urging that a middle way between these extremes be captured in a generous Anglican Covenant. “Whatever the popular perception, the options before us are not irreparable schism or forced assimilation.”
14. This conference has taken on a new form – the form of indaba – based upon an African ideal of purposeful discussion on the common concerns of our shared life. It is a process and a method of engagement as we listen to one another. An indaba acknowledges first and foremost that there are issues that need to be addressed effectively to foster ongoing communal living. It enables every bishop to engage and speak his or her mind and not to privilege the articulate or the powerful. Every aspect of the conference has been an expression of indaba, expressed through our worship and bible studies, self-select sessions, hearings, plenary sessions and speakers, listening and reflecting, and even conversation in the meal queues. Above all else, we have worked together on the themes of the Conference in our focussed indaba sessions, when we have spent two hours each day in purposeful conversation that invites us to encounter the reality of each other’s ministry and concerns. This person to person encounter has been one of the most encouraging, engaging – if at times frustrating - aspects of the Conference.
15. Bible Study has been the most enriching part of the Conference. In these times, we gathered in small groups of about eight bishops around the sacred scriptures to study the Gospel of John. We prayed; we read the text; we considered how the Lord God is speaking to us through the words of St John in our current contexts. Here we have learned of the gifts and struggles each bishop experiences in trying to live out the vows taken in ordination to the episcopate. These times together around scripture have been the life giving force of the Conference and will be the basis of ongoing commitment to one another. Of course there are different interpretations of the scriptures, and we can consider these within the solidarity that is built within the study group. It is here that we have experienced a death to self interest and the possibility of God’s Spirit bringing new life. It is here that “the stone is being rolled away.” The Bible studies offered to the Lambeth Conference sought to place every participant under the authority of scripture and to enable them to journey with John's Gospel, by following a particular feature of the Gospel itself, the "I am" sayings, by drawing attention to the detail of the text, whether historical, literary, or thematic detail, by offering opportunities for participants to place their contexts and personal concerns alongside scripture, by locating John's Gospel within the wider context of the biblical canon, and by placing the process of the Bible study in hands of a bishop who would serve the group by facilitating the formation of a sacred and safe site for a reverent and respectful engagement among the participants.
16. Equipping bishops for mission has been present in every aspect of the Conference, in all we have done, and the experience of being together with our peers for an extended period has been a profoundly enriching and renewing experience, and a great privilege. In presentations from outstanding speakers we have been enriched and challenged as we have looked at evangelism, social justice, ecology, and covenant in the Hebrew scriptures; and in a wealth of self select sessions bishops have been able to consider matters as diverse as micro finance and missionary dioceses, children, and young people, climate change, caste and apartheid, church schools and the healing of the memories, distance learning and keeping fit. The indaba groups have given us the opportunity of working and talking together, and of sharing our stories, thoughts and ideas. In so many ways, context shapes our perception of ministry and we have learned from one another’s experience as we have discussed and listened together - bishops from the Arctic to the Equator, from mountainous regions to Pacific islands, from shanty towns to wealthy cities, from centuries-old dioceses to the newly planted. If we brought our dioceses with us, we carry back a rich experience of the universal Church.
17. We have been changed by this process, and as we come to the end of this indaba in Canterbury, we have to consider what record of our conversations we can carry back with us. From the beginning, each indaba group had been invited to nominate three persons from whom one would be chosen by the Lambeth Design Group to be a listener and representative to the Reflections Group. The listeners chosen represented as far as possible the diverse nature of the Anglican Communion. The conversations in each indaba group were recorded by rapporteurs. This report was agreed with the animateur and the group and it is this material which has formed the primary documents for the Reflection Group’s work. The group has sought to capture the spirit of our conversations in this document. It is not a set of traditional reports adopted by the conference, but rather a faithful attempt to summarize the bishops’ conversations. It represents a snapshot of an encounter which has changed us and enriched our understanding of our communion. It is the beginning of a conversation, and indaba, into which all the Anglican Communion is now invited.
18. In composing this “Conversations and Reflections Document” the Reflections Group has sought to develop a document which is
faithful to the Gospel. Our conversations mean nothing unless they further the business of the Kingdom of God, and reflect the Good News of Jesus Christ, offering a message of hope and faithfulness for the world. The Lord Jesus himself is the centre of our common life, and we gather in order to discern together his will for the Church. There has been a deep sense of the Holy Spirit moving among us.
faithful to the process. In indaba we have had to make ourselves aware of challenges to life in communion without immediately trying to resolve them. We have met and conversed, ensuring that everyone has a voice in order to find the deeper convergences that might hold us together.
faithful to the bishops and their context. It is important therefore that this document is one which reflects the conversations of all the bishops gathered for the Lambeth Conference. It must seek to honour the participation and contribution of every bishop, and be written in a process which is faithful to the contexts in which we minister.
faithful to the Communion. We are all acutely aware that the Anglican Communion stands at an important point in its life. This document must be robust enough to describe realistically and honestly where the bishops of the Communion understand our life together to have come, and our resolve for the future.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s first Presidential Address at:
His second Presidential Address is at: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/1916
His third Presidential Address is at: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/1925
The retreat addresses are published in “God’s Mission and a Bishop’s Discipleship”, published by the Lambeth Conference, 2008.
Equipping Bishops for God’s Mission
19. In considering the nature of our calling in Christ, we gave attention through the conference to the question of Christian evangelism and mission. Mission is the total action of God in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit - creating, redeeming, sanctifying - for the sake of the whole world. Evangelism is giving voice to the truth of Christ as Lord to all people. These two concepts are sometimes united under the term “evangelisation”, the orienting of the whole of society towards the imperatives of the Gospel, the evangelium, but in Anglican thought, the distinction tends to be maintained, in order to give emphasis to the personal response of faith evoked by the proclamation of the personal salvation found in Christ.
20. Nevertheless, we wish to acknowledge the important dimensions of mission as God’s reaching out to all of creation, challenging our structures as well as our souls, our communities as well as our Churches. After a consideration of the nature of mission and evangelism therefore, we turn towards a consideration of the wider claims of the Gospel – oriented towards human and social justice and care for God’s creation. Finally, in this section we acknowledge the context of Anglican Mission – in the purposes of God in the wider oikumene, and in relations to the other major faiths of the world.
Section B: Mission and Evangelism
21. In Christ Jesus, God has revealed himself as the self-giving Lord of Creation, full of compassion and mercy. That same Son who was sent by the Father into the world, in turn sent forth his disciples, instructing them to proclaim the good news, making disciples and baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. For God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. It is therefore God’s mission in which we share.
22. Mission belongs to God and we are called to engage in this mission so that God’s will of salvation for all may be fulfilled. In this sense, mission is not primarily an activity of the church, but an attribute of God. The Church exists as an instrument for that mission. There is church because there is mission, and not vice versa. To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is the fountain of sending love.
23. As Anglicans, we value the “five marks of mission”, which begin with the preaching of the Gospel and the call to personal conversion, but which embrace the whole of life: we would wish to see increased emphasis on ecumenism, peace-making and global mutuality as integral parts of God’s mission. Mission is a rich and diverse pattern faithful to the proclamation of the Reign of God in Christ Jesus; a proclamation which touches all areas of life.
The Local Church
24. In our study together, we were asked in our indaba groups to consider the question, How in very different contexts can bishops learn and support one another so as to be better equipped in their role as leaders in God’s Mission? For Anglicans, the diocese is the basic unit of the Church; it is on this front line that we must be most effectively engaged in mission. Our reflection on the current status of mission and evangelism in our dioceses involved the sharing of stories, a critique of the present situation and expressions of hope in relation to the concerns that were highlighted.
25. We affirm that evangelism concerns the making of disciples and spiritual growth. This must involve a personal encounter with the risen Christ and a commitment to discipleship. Evangelism is the cutting edge of mission in the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour by word and deed. The Gospel is the life blood of the Church and involves mediating by proclamation, by word, and by action the good news of God’s love in Christ which transforms the whole of life. There must also be a compassionate community, the enabling of others by the leadership of the Church, and the marginalized must be kept in focus.
26. We affirm that we minister to the whole community, including young and old. The history of Anglicanism has been characterized by a tradition of pastoral care which has centred around the care of persons through the various transitions in the life cycle. Of particular concern has been the ministry to the sick and housebound as well as the dying. In the indaba process there was expressed a particular concern for children and young people in the life of the Church. At the same time, it was acknowledged that many of the attempts to engage young people have been ineffective. Some models and understandings of young people are outdated. There is need for a greater effort to find fresh expressions of ministry with and to young people, and a sense of zeal and passion for their inclusion in the life of the church. There is also a recognition of the fact that young people are not only an integral part of the life of the Church, but, with their idealism, enthusiasm and creativity, can also make a positive contribution to the evangelistic work of the Church. We have been privileged to have the ministry of young people at this conference as stewards and rapporteurs, welcoming their contribution, passion and enthusiasm for the Gospel.
27. While in some contexts in the developing world, young people make up the majority of society, in many other contexts there is a preponderance of older persons in the composition of congregations: this is not to be seen merely as a source of despair. In addition to the fact that with improved living standards in some parts of the world this population is living longer and have many creative years ahead of them even in retirement. The elderly are in many instances an untapped resource for participation in the mission of the Church. It is this age group which often has the greatest concentration of resources, availability of time, experience, and a focussed religious commitment. This conference has also been supported by the ministry of older persons who served as stewards and hospitality personnel with distinction for the duration of the conference.
28. We affirm that the good news proclaimed in Christ is especially addressed to the poor and to the outcasts, to those on the fringes of our societies and to the dispossessed. In situations where there are immigrants, refugees and displaced persons, the Church often is the first to respond helpfully, but there is need to develop better Communion/Partnership networks for more effective ministry to this group. The Church needs to be watchful of the migration policies of governments. The need to welcome immigrants and those in the urban drift was expressed. It was also noted that evangelism to this population is often a hit-and-run process without evident signs of results. There are many settings in which the Church is actively involved in work among persons with HIV and AIDS. It was noted, however, that the Church needs to be more involved in advocacy, awareness building, pastoral care, and the provision of health care facilities for those affected.
29. We affirm that the good news should continue to be proclaimed in all circumstances in the joy of the Lord. It is particularly important that the Church seeks to minister in situations of need, of destruction and natural disaster. Stories of annual devastating natural disasters in Tanzania were shared along with positive accounts of the continuing ministry with signs of growth in that context. Demographics and economic decline were identified as factors in some situations. Growth and decline will co-exist in places. The needs which confront the church are many but in many places, there is inadequate income for undertaking the mission of the church. Note was taken of the sheer poverty of some areas of the Anglican Communion, and yet the Church continues to minister and be a sign of hope. Rural depopulation in some other areas was also noted and the church’s continuing ministry in these settings affirmed.
30. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is the proclamation of a whole way of life – a vocation to personal holiness. As it is said, action speaks louder than words, personal holiness is vital in the proclamation of the gospel. The post-modern society has been characterized by scientific and technological developments which have seen the world become a global village. These advances have also contributed to the transformation of human society. At the same time it was observed that the cultural values of post-modern societies, especially their focus on individualism and relativity challenge the teachings of Christianity, which is decidedly counter-cultural. The call to holiness of living becomes a greater challenge in this milieu. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God- Romans 12:2.
31. We affirm that the Church is called to be faithful in the exercise of its mission in the context within which it is located with due regard to culture. We acknowledge that in its understanding of the exercise of this responsibility what may be positive, acceptable and fitting in one culture, may be negative, harmful and may affect the witness and proclamation of the gospel in other parts of the Communion due to cultural differences. The Bible must be taken as authoritative guiding principle in our proclamation of the gospel.
Provincial Life and its Contribution to Mission
32. Our dioceses are bound together as national or regional Churches, also known as Provinces. In some special situations there are units known as Extra-Provincial jurisdictions which lack the structure and independence of Provinces and are subject to special Episcopal oversight as in the case of the Falkland Islands. There are six such extra-provincial jurisdictions within the Communion. We affirm the value of our Provincial structures, by which the life of the local Church is nurtured and sustained. The mission work of dioceses would be made more effective through links and partnerships at the Provincial level which enable the sharing of information, resources, policies, stories, best practices, personnel, education and training programmes. This must include a process by which there is a change from a church culture of maintenance at the local level through fostering a focus on mission; Provinces must encourage local evangelical initiatives and help them to celebrate their gifts and share their stories. Provincial resourcing for mission and evangelism is one of the prime tasks of the national or regional Church, across a broad range of engagement:
33. Education and Training. We affirm the central role of the Provinces in the facilitation of education and training especially in ministerial, theological, and pastoral disciplines for the bishops, clergy and the whole people of God, thereby equipping them for leadership in the various areas of mission and evangelism. Youth must receive due consideration in this thrust. The promotion and enabling of creative thinking and the provision of personnel to help drive mission initiatives must be a major consideration
34. Resources facilitation. We acknowledge the limitations which some parts of the Communion face with regard to the availability of adequate resources. One way in which the provinces can facilitate the dioceses is through the provision of a resource centre with the financial support for mission initiatives. Such a resource centre would enable responses to various disasters which arise from time to time.
35. Sector Ministry. The Province can facilitate and empower specific ministries which transcend the normal parish structures. Chaplaincies to the armed forces, hospitals, prisons, schools, and universities all enhance the witness of the Church and allow the development of specialist ministries which are tailored to the needs and perspectives of the groups with which they work.
36. Structural and Organizational Concerns We affirm that there is need for the review of the bureaucracy of provinces in order to facilitate more effective communication and efficiency. There is need to strengthen the sense of collegiality and the building of trust and accountability between dioceses, the assumption of some appellate function as a way of adjudicating issues which may arise, and ensuring that decisions and actions are taken at the appropriate level. (Be a clearinghouse for ideas and innovations coming from dioceses.)
37. Programmatic concerns. We acknowledge that in the exercise of its prophetic voice the Church needs to address issues of human rights, the environment, migrant workers, HIV and AIDS, reconciliation and truth in ecclesiastical and civil concerns, and fair-trade practices among the nations etc. In the exercise of its mission the Church needs to maintain a focus on community based services, social and medical services, and partnership with NGOs or international organizations, ministry to prisoners etc. In the exercise of mission ecumenical sharing and networking for partnership in ministry should be actively pursued. Provinces should initiate and promote programmes that would expose Anglicans, especially youth, to the Communion through mutual mission trips.
Mission and the Anglican Communion
38. We also celebrate our interdependent life in the Anglican Communion, as national and regional Churches are brought into co-operation for the good of the Gospel. There is a need for renewal and changes at the level of the Communion in order to facilitate our unity and more effective coordination and exercise of mission at the provincial, diocesan and congregational levels.
39. Coordinating functions: We affirm the Instruments of the Anglican Communion to be the appropriate bodies for providing the overarching symbols and resources which are translated into local contexts. The exercise of this function includes the sharing of experiences, policies, resources, appropriate training, education in core theological areas, and enable leadership in the exercise of mission, interfaith relationships, the identification of financial resources, and ecumenical partnerships.
40. Recognizing the importance of electronic technology in today’s global environment there is then the prospect of use of technology such as the website and other media, for the creation of multimedia resources for use in the dioceses and provinces (e.g. DVDs of Lambeth Conference, an introduction to Anglican Christianity, and an Anglican “state of the Communion address” by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the development of the Anglican Cycle of Prayer to include specific requests for prayer/mission and ministry in dioceses;
41. Structural and Organizational We affirm that the Instruments of Communion need to provide the ecclesial authority that interprets what is Anglicanism; provide clarification on the nature of the Communion; enable and channel worldwide emergency responses; strengthen advocacy, stand in solidarity with those facing persecution, injustice and whose voice is silenced, and those Provinces/Dioceses encountering difficulties in the exercise of mission, and provide active support for peacemaking initiatives; assist in resolving internal problems and facilitate linkages and partnerships, (companion dioceses) and the flow of information within the Communion; support those who are isolated in their dioceses because of conscientious objections to actions taken by their dioceses of provinces; and promote regional or Cluster meetings within the Communion between Lambeth Conferences.
42. Programmatic concerns We acknowledge the growth of the Church in areas of the southern hemisphere and the many fresh expressions of church in the whole Communion. At the same time we are called as a Communion to develop a worldwide vision and strategy of church planting, growth, and mission. While we encourage these strategies we must be conscious of those diocese and provinces which are yet to achieve self-sufficiency and respond in appropriate ways to address the areas of need.
The Five Marks of Mission:
to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God;
to teach, baptize and nurture new believers;
to respond to human need by loving service;
to seek to transform unjust structures of society; and
to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of the earth.
A story about the plenary address of Brian McLaren may be found at:
This address is not yet online.
The plenary address of Cardinal Ivan Dias may be found at:
We acknowledge and affirm the outstanding work that has been done over the years by MISAG (Mission Initiative and Strategy Advisory Group), MISSIO (Mission Commission of the Anglican Communion.) and IASCOME (Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism) and their contribution to the understanding of the mission imperatives of the Communion.
The development of a Lambeth Directory and the expansion of the Anglican Communion website to allow the sharing of theological thinking, mission ideas, partnerships etc. The Communion must recognize the individual Provinces as self-determining Provinces that walk together for strength. At the same time the Communion must help the Provinces, Dioceses and local churches to recognize the value of the gifts they bring to the whole Communion. One way of accomplishing this is for the Archbishop of Canterbury to endorse and lend his sponsorship (not necessarily do and pay for) initiatives that are designed for youth and young adults.
The Communion could prepare a Bishop’s Introductory Pack which would provide information about what resources and information are available throughout the Communion, including contacts, networks, commissions, etc. The current cycle of Lambeth meetings every 10 years is deemed inadequate. Perhaps there could be a meeting of a representative group every 3 years.
......Section I: The Scriptures
121.The dispute concerning sexuality has reflected among some a deeper unease about the acceptance of the authority of scripture. It behoves us therefore to explore the nature of our understanding of scripture in the life of the Church.
122. Jesus Christ is the Word of God, the true light that enlightens all, incarnate in human form, full of grace and truth, from before time and forever.
123. God’s first and eternal Word to us is Jesus. Because of this our reading and interpretation of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments possess a clear Christ-centred quality rooted in the Incarnation. St. John the Evangelist announces that “these things are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name”. We proclaim Jesus as Saviour of the world and Lord of the Church. Jesus Christ, crucified, risen, ascended, and coming again, is the holy one of God through whom the meaning of the Scriptures is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
124. In the Anglican tradition, the Holy Scriptures are central to our life together as servants of God’s mission. In like manner, the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the primary sources for equipping our apostolic ministry as bishops. Indeed, the bishops of our Communion, at the time of their ordination and consecration to the episcopate, claim for their ministries and in their own lives that they believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and to contain all things necessary to salvation. This affirmation of the authority of the Holy Scriptures in our common life is shared across the Communion, enshrined in the various prayer books, canons, and official documents of our tradition, and found deep in the heart of our vocation as bishops of the Church. It is clear to us that the Holy Scriptures do not belong to us alone and that the fullness of the revealed truth of God in Jesus Christ is a treasured gift from God that belongs to the whole church catholic. Together with the church universal, we are humbled by the custodianship of the sacred texts given into our care and we seek to honour that responsibility by living under God’s Word in obedience, humility and joy.
125. For Anglicans, the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds are understood to be faithful and sufficient statements of the essentials of the biblical witness as revealed by the power of the Holy Spirit to us and to the whole church in every generation. We acknowledge the full reliability of the texts of the canonical Scriptures given to us by God, and seek to proclaim afresh with clarity and power the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ. From this strong sense of biblical reliability the Church derives norms of moral and ethical life that are to be honoured by the whole Body of Christ; at the same time we discover biblically faithful means to respond pastorally to those who are unable to observe such norms. When serious disagreements arise among us about moral and ethical norms we are called to intensify our efforts to discover God’s Word through continuing scriptural discernment. We rejoice in the Holy Scriptures as God’s gift to the whole church for teaching and guidance, admonition, and pastoral care.
126. In the Anglican prayer book tradition, the following collect, composed by Archbishop Cranmer, sets a proper framework for our understanding of the Holy Scriptures in our lives as bishops and in the lives of all God’s faithful people.
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
127. Praying this collect reminds us that an Anglican approach to Scripture honours the sacred texts as inspired and revealed by God while inviting us to use the resources of the human intellect to interpret and apply those texts for making faithful disciples and for the deepening of holy lives worthy of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Utilizing the God-given gifts of reason and tradition as resources for the interpretation of the Scriptures enables the fullest possible exploration of the whole counsel of God and calls to mind the unfathomable depths and richness of the ways of God. Biblical interpretation is the work of reverent inquiry that approaches the Holy Scriptures in a spirit of awe and wonder as holy writings different from all other texts.
128. In the history of the Anglican tradition, biblical scholarship and exegetical theology have held an honoured place. We rejoice that many faithful scholars of the Bible, both past and present, have been Anglicans and our Church and its ministry has been immeasurably enriched by their faithfulness. Such scholarship, however, does not happen in isolation from the ecumenical community of biblical theologians. We also note the importance of hearing again the voices of the preachers and teachers through the centuries as they sought to speak a lively word in their own time and place. We are grateful to God for the strong contributions made to our own understanding of God’s Word by scholars and teachers of other traditions past and present.
129. Biblical scholars have a variety of exegetical tools for their use and employ many different methods of biblical exposition and interpretation. When used discerningly and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, these tools and methods can assist us in breaking open the Holy Scriptures and enrich our understanding of God’s Word. As bishops of the Church, we commend the use of faithful biblical scholarship by our clergy and people in the full confidence that there is still more light and truth to break forth from God’s Word.
130. In addition to the more formal means of biblical scholarship, our tradition makes use of a number of spiritual disciplines and practical methods that enhance our hearing of the Scriptures. For example, some Anglicans read the Scriptures to discern a rule of life for themselves and for their community. Others find the practice of praying with the Scriptures and utilizing the gifts of our monastic traditions as particularly powerful ways to listen for the Word of God. Still others find the discipline of the Daily Office a faithful means by which to engage the full range of the Scriptures. As bishops of the Communion we commend to our people every opportunity possible to encounter God in the living word of Holy Scripture, whether reading and studying for personal devotion, gathering with others for Bible study and holy conversation, or studying more formally under the care of a pastor or teacher, and in worship.
131. Worship and common prayer are central to our identity as Anglicans. Consequently the liturgical reading of Scripture and the ministry of preaching are primary aspects of how we listen for and hear God’s Word to us. Preachers are called to expound the whole counsel of God and especially at the Eucharist to point God’s people toward the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and hold him up as God incarnate, crucified, risen, ascended, and coming again in glory.
132. We are grateful for the various lectionaries adopted by the Provinces of our Communion. The use of lectionaries for the Daily Offices and the Holy Eucharist greatly enhances the breadth of our hearing of Scripture and provides good discipline to those among us who are called to preach.
133. We are mindful that God’s people hear Jesus, God’s incarnate Word, and the vital preaching of Holy Scriptures, from within the varied contexts of their lives. Above we affirmed the faithful reliability of God’s Word, and here we acknowledge that the context in which one seeks to listen shapes, at least in part, how one hears. Across our Communion we tell the good news of Jesus in many cultures, in many languages, and in the face of many different political, economic, and social realities. It is always our desire to proclaim the authentic Word of God for all, but we acknowledge that our people hear the Holy Scriptures conditioned by the needs and passions of their local situations. We recognize, for example, that communities that have faced natural disasters or systemic injustice will hear God’s Word with different ears than others who are far removed from such realities. We note that the particularity of mission strategy from one place to another or difficult pastoral realities may have impact upon how the Holy Scriptures are heard. We are clear that the Word of God does not change from place to place and its light and truth applies throughout the whole of God’s world. At the same time we acknowledge that our ability to hear God’s Word is profoundly affected by the context in which we listen for it.
134. God’s Living Word, incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth and revealed in Holy Scripture, challenges and transforms us in ways that can be full of joy and at other times quite unsettling. Even as our contexts influence our interpretation of Holy Scripture, we affirm that the Scripture also addresses our contexts with both judgment and consolation, with conviction and with grace. The Word of God has always held a primary and cherished place in the Churches of the Anglican Communion. So shall it always be.
135. As we face the challenges of our time, the Holy Scriptures will continue to be for us a springboard into mission – that the world may have life in all its fullness.
Section J: The Anglican Covenant (St. Andrew’s Draft)
136. Positive descriptions. There were many positive responses to the idea of a Covenant. We recognise that any possible Covenant would be grounded in God’s covenant with us. It would carry horizontal and vertical realities, reflecting the sign of the cross. It is the image of Christ’s deep and faithful covenant made in Baptism and revealed in the Eucharist and is thereby Christ-centred.
137. The covenant could provide historical continuity with the past, creativity in the present and lead us into the future. It could provide a structure within which we can explore relationship, delighting in unity and diversity, rather than imposing uniformity and conformity. It should help affirm our common life and care, rather than restrict life in the churches. A covenant may help heal present wounds and prevent new ones.
138. Relationship must be pre-eminent within the covenant, creating mutuality, care and responsibility, thereby offering a binding voluntary agreement. We recognise that a covenant would be costly and self-limiting, yet would strengthen the bonds of love among us. As such, it would give us a sacrificial way to move forward, for the sake of the other, which would be life-giving. It invites us to be generous to one another.
139. A Covenant could draw more dioceses back into the conversation of the Communion. Any possible Covenant could help small communities demonstrate the power of a world wide body, which could help in dealing with government. A Covenant could be a structure to make incursions unnecessary, but without a Covenant, our continuing relationship with those who chose not to be here at this Conference may be imperilled.
140. Reservations and concerns. There was an overall willingness to enter a Covenant, particularly to help us in the present crisis, conscious that it is critical for some to have something positive to report on their return home. There was a general satisfaction with the first half of the main text of the St. Andrew’s Draft, but there were real concerns with section 3 and even greater concern about the appendix.
The biblical and theological basis of Covenant need to be clarified and developed in a more profound way.
The proposed Covenant is formulaic rather than relational, and could thereby prove punitive, restrictive and limiting, rather than facilitating unity.
The Instruments of Communion could become micro-managers.
There is concern that this Covenant process could prove expensive to implement and concern as to who would pay for it.
There is concern that the Province rather than the diocese might become the local Church. There is also some uncertainty as to how Provinces might relate to the Communion.
Our modality is historically the “bishop-in-synod” rather than “episcopally led and synodically governed”.
The broad sweep of the text reads as a very western document.
The position of the United Churches is not addressed.
What happens if the Church of England is the offending Church?
The appendix is particularly seen as over-detailed and an instrument of punitive measures.
There is a danger that we are simply papering-over the problems, whereas healing needs to take place first.
The Instruments of Communion need time to evolve before we can be sure what form a Covenant should take.
141. Suggestions. The Covenant could be a more generous document, couched as invitation. It should be an instrument of listening before anything else. We need to steward ourselves to give attention to the “bonds” as well as the “affection.” We ought to ask “What can we do for the Communion?” not vice versa.
142. There is a tension between wanting to take time over the process and the need for urgency in repairing the tears in the Communion’s fabric. “Are we being a little quick in trying to heal ourselves?” However, some bishops have stated the need to return home with an agreement of some kind.
143. A number of practical and detailed suggestions were made, which will be reflected back to the Covenant Design Group:
A Province might be asked to withdraw after a breach of the Covenant to repair trust.
As an immediate response, we should establish a pastoral response group, which could be in operation more quickly than a Covenant and could operate instead of revisions in the appendix.
The document needs to have a less Church of England basis, particularly in regard to the formularies.
Can we learn about handling conflict from around the world, eg. South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the culture of responsibility and restraint in South East Asia, unity and diversity in the “Three Tikanga” way of working in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and the Japanese preference for a less statemented way to resolve conflicts?
“Better than a covenant would be a theology of abiding, where we can affirm one another in Christ”.
Should we explore a missional Covenant?
Rather than a Covenant, should we explore an Anglican Rule of Life?
Do we need a shorter Lambeth Conference every five years?
Would the Covenant be better called a.) “entente”, b.) “memorandum of understanding”, or c.) “communion agreement”?
There is a need for better translations of the St. Andrew’s Draft.
144. There is a welcome from many to the idea of a Covenant. We recognise the urgent need to find a workable way forward, particularly for those of us who live and minister in minority or hostile situations. However there is a strong sense that the appendix could be too legalistic and too difficult to implement. Overall, there was a concern that what is proposed in the appendix might prove too punitive. From the experience of this Lambeth Conference and the building and deepening of relationship, there is a willingness to continue exploring a Covenant together.
Section K: The Windsor Process
145. The moratoria cover three separate but related issues: ordinations of persons living in a same gender union to the episcopate; the blessing of same-sex unions; cross-border incursions by bishops. There is widespread support for moratoria across the Communion, building on those that are already being honoured. The moratoria can be taken as a sign of the bishops’ affection, trust and goodwill towards the Archbishop of Canterbury and one another. The moratoria will be difficult to uphold, although there is a desire to do so from all quarters. There are questions to be clarified in relation to how long the moratoria are intended to serve. Perhaps the moratoria could be seen as a “season of gracious restraint”. In relation to moratorium 2 (the blessing of same-sex unions) there is a desire to clarify precisely what is proscribed. Many differentiate between authorised public rites, rather than pastoral support. If the Windsor process is to be honoured, all three moratoria must be applied consistently.
The Pastoral Forum
146. There is clear majority support for a Pastoral Forum along the lines advocated by the Windsor Group, and a desire to see it in place speedily. There is agreement that it should be pastoral and not legal and should be able to respond quickly. It was also clearly stated that this process should always be moving towards reconciliation. There is concern about mandate, membership, appointment process and authority. Some wondered whether the Pastoral Forum should have members from outside the Communion. Many felt strongly that the forum could operate in a Province only with the consent of that Province and in particular with the consent of the Primate or the appropriate body. It is essential that this should be properly funded and resourced if it has any chance of being productive. There was some support for an alternative suggestion: to appoint in any dispute a Pastoral Visitor, working with a professional arbitrator and to create in the Communion a “pool” of such visitors.
Instruments of Communion
147. The four “Instruments of Communion” are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting. There is a need to clarify the role and function of each of these instruments and their relationship one to another.
148. Archbishop of Canterbury. There is honour and respect for the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Being in communion with the See of Canterbury is one of the essential elements of belonging to the Anglican Communion. There is a need to explore the role of the Archbishop in the Communion and a desire not to burden the office further, creating inappropriate and unbearable expectations. We would welcome more visits by the Archbishop around the Communion in the exercise of his apostolate. In discussing the role of the Archbishop, great affection and love was expressed for the present Archbishop of Canterbury.
149. The Lambeth Conference. There was a desire that the Lambeth Conference should meet more frequently, for a shorter period of time and a particular suggestion of a ten-day meeting every five years. The reason for this sense of wanting to be together again so soon was the continuation of the indaba process. The Lambeth Conference needs to consider the appointment of a fundraiser to facilitate its future well-being. There was support for the view that one of the roles of the Lambeth Conference is to allow the bishops to exercise a collegial teaching ministry. There was also support for furthering diocesan partnerships, in order to sustain, between conferences, the relationships made at Lambeth.
150. Anglican Consultative Council. There is a lack of knowledge in the Communion about the Council and its members and therefore an uncertainty about its role. Some believe it exercises too much authority; others would like to see it reconstituted and given more. One suggestion was of a two-tier Council with a tier of Primates and another of clergy and laity with the inclusion of younger representation. There was a desire to enhance the presence of clergy and laity in decision making at the Communion level.
151. Primates’ Meeting. There is much discomfort about the role that the Primates’ Meeting now finds itself exercising. Many fear that it is trying to exercise too much authority. Others believe that the Primates are the only ones who can bear the weight of our current challenges. Perhaps their key role is in supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury. The primates should not exercise collectively any more authority than they have in their ProvincesConclusion
The Reflections Group offers this narrative to the Conference, believing that the same God who calls us together into communion through his Son Jesus Christ and who has begun this good work in us will bring it to completion in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Reflections Group Membership
Jerusalem & ME
Roger Chung Po Chuen
1. Ephesians 1:3, 12-13
2 Romans 1.7
3 Letter of Invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury, May 22nd 2007.
3. 1 Timothy 3.1
4. A fuller paragraph of thanks appears at the end of this document.
5. Galatians 1.
6. Philippians 4.6
7. A list of members of the Reflections Group appears at the end of this document.
8. Luke 1: 51-53 (The Magnificat)
9. James 5.11
10. Matthew 28.19
11. 2 Corinthians 5.19
12. 2 Timothy 3:16
13. Romans 8.22, Ephesians 1.10, Revelation 21
14. Luke 4:16-22; Isaiah 35, 42, 56, 61; Micah 4, 6
15. I Thessalonians 5:17
16. 2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 5: 6-11
17. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21
18. John 17:20-23
19. John 10:16
20. Resolution IV:1, Lambeth Conference 1998.
21. John 17
22.Pope John Paul II
25. See ecumenical matters in the appendix
26. ACC-3, page 55.
27. Matthew 7:1-5
28. See box below.
29. Matthew 5:29
30. Acts 5.38, 39
31. John 1:1-18
32. John 20: 31
33. Acts 20:27
34. Romans 11:33
35. John 10:10
37. See the Hurd Report 2002
38 1 Corinthians 12.26
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