ACIS - Anglican Communion Information Service

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Instruments of Communion

Please note:

The Instruments of Unity (Communion)

The Anglican Consultative Council:

a) notes with approval the suggestion of the Windsor Report that the Archbishop of Canterbury be regarded as the focus for unity and that the Primates' Meeting, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council be regarded more appropriately as the "Instruments of Communion"
b) resolves that henceforth it will use this terminology for those bodies currently known as "the Instruments of Unity".

see :

The Archbishop of Canterbury

The Churches of the Anglican Communion are linked by affection and common loyalty. They are in full communion with the See of Canterbury and thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his person, is a unique focus of Anglican unity. He calls the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of Primates, and is President of the Anglican Consultative Council. The 104th Archbishop, in the succession of St Augustine, is the Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, enthroned in March 2013.

The Anglican Communion is also served by:

The Lambeth Conference

The Lambeth Conference is a gathering of bishops, meeting every ten years under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury. There have been thirteen conferences to date, with the first being held in 1867. and the most recent from 16 July to 4 August 2008. Until 1978 the conferences were for bishops only, but in 1988 the full Anglican Consultative Council membership and representative bishops of the Churches in Communion (the Churches of Bangladesh, North and South India, and Pakistan) joined with the bishops in the discussions, as did bishops of the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht.

The Primates

Between 1979 and 1997 the Primates (the senior archbishop or presiding bishop) of the autonomous Churches of the Anglican Communion met every two or three years in consultation on theological, social, and international issues. Meeting locations:
Ely, England 1979 · Washington, USA 1981 · Limuru, Kenya 1983 · Toronto, Canada 1986 · Cyprus 1989 · Ireland 1991 · Cape Town, Southern Africa 1993 · Windsor, England 1995 · Jerusalem 1997 · Oporto, Portugal, 2000 · Kanuga, USA, 2001 · Canterbury, England 2002 · Brazil 2003 · Lambeth 2003 · Ireland 2005 · Tanzania 2007 · Egypt 2009 · Ireland 2011.

The Anglican Consultative Council

The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) is an international assembly of the Anglican Communion, bringing together bishops, presbyters, deacons, lay men and women, and youth, to work on common concerns.


The ACC was formed following a resolution of the 1968 Lambeth Conference which discerned the need for more frequent and more representative contact among the Churches than was possible through a once-a-decade conference of bishops. The constitution of the Council was accepted by the general synods or conventions of all the Member Churches of the Anglican Communion. The Council came into being in October 1969.


The ACC meets every two or three years and its present policy is to meet in different parts of the world. Since it began there have been nine meetings of the Council:
Limuru, Kenya 1971 · Dublin, Republic of Ireland 1973 · Trinidad 1976 · London, Ontario, Canada 1979 · Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England 1981 · Badagry, Nigeria 1984 · Singapore 1987 · Wales 1990 · Cape Town, Southern Africa 1993 · Panama 1996 · Dundee, Scotland 1999 · Hong Kong 2002 · Nottingam England 2005. Kingston Jamaica 2009. Christchurch New Zealand 2012.


The following activities and projects were inaugurated, implemented, and supported, in some way, by the Lambeth Conference, the Primates Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council:

  • Partners in Mission
  • Companion Dioceses Programmes
  • Inter-Church Ecumenical Conversations (with the Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox, Orthodox, Reformed, and Roman Catholic Churches)
  • Anglican Cycle of Prayer
  • Anglican World
  • Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission
  • The Anglican Centre in Rome
  • The Liturgical Consultation
  • Inter-Anglican Publishing
  • Inter-Anglican Information Network
  • United Nations Observer
  • Inter-Anglican Networks