Ministries - Liturgy

International Anglican Liturgical Consultations

Notes on the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation Prague, Czech Republic1-6 August 2005
Liturgy and Anglican Identity


Paul Bradshaw welcomed members of the Consultation, as well as John Melloh, of Notre Dame University, and Hans-Jürgen Feulner, professor of liturgy in Vienna, as ecumenical partners. Members of the Consultation introduced themselves. David Holeton introduced the volunteer assistants to the Consultation.

  1. Background and context
    David Holeton provided members of the Consultation with information on movements in the history of the Bohemian church, including the communion of infants, the restoration of the chalice to the laity, and the use of the vernacular. He described the creation of Czechoslovakia and its division after the collapse of the communist regime.
  2. IALC history
    Paul Bradshaw reviewed the history of the IALC, with the assistance of other members of the Consultation.
  3. Nominating Committee
    Paul Bradshaw proposed that Ron Dowling, David Stancliffe, and Louis Weil constitute a nominating committee to present names for consideration for election.
  4. Provincial reports
    The following provinces indicated that they wished to make provincial reports: Australia, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England, Southern Africa, Japan. A member requested that provinces be pressed to bring new liturgical texts for display at future IALC's.
  5. Hooker and Anglican Identity
    Chris Irvine distributed a paper on Hooker and Anglican identity.
  6. Liturgical archive
    Paul Gibson reminded the Consultation that for some years he had been collecting liturgical texts which document revision and innovation in the communion back to about 1960. He told the Consultation that Karen Evans, the librarian of the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada, had volunteered to catalogue the existing material and that it was important that the collection be brought up to date before she undertakes that task in the coming autumn. (See Note 22 below.)
  7. Introduction to Identity in the Anglican Communion

    Cynthia Botha addressed the question, “What makes worship Anglican worship?” She described a service which was based on a number of elements from different provinces which some participants found frustrating. She introduced five papers on Anglican identity which had been solicited from some members of the Consultation. She said that a problem of the Communion is the impossible but wonderful challenge of living with two traditions, Protestant and Anglo-Catholic. For a long time there was uniformity in text but not in practice. Now there is no uniformity in text and no uniform expression in the practice of worship.

    “What makes worship Anglican worship?” Cynthia Botha asked. “Is it our use of scripture?” It is not good enough to wish ourselves into the past. She said she thought we would have to come up with a new strategy. What is the norm for the parish is often very different for the outsider. The papers reveal that prior to the 1920s there was widespread use of the BCP, but as provinces became autonomous there was a growing need to adapt liturgy to the local context. After the second world war there were attempts to make the liturgy more accessible to the people. The growing multicultural needs of the Communion have to be recognized. This is consistent with Cranmer’s desire for the liturgy to be available to the people. Inculturation demands that we discover the riches which are to be found in our various cultures. Where translation is not provided a standard form of worship, not always creative, becomes the norm. In the CPSA some early bishops required clergy to know local languages before they conducted services in local communities. There is now a greater variety of hymnals available, and different examples of music. In some places different languages are simultaneously used for the same hymn at the same time. The papers referred to a “skeletal” liturgical framework, a standard form into which local material could be inserted. Many of the papers speak of modern technology which presents further challenges that were not faced by authors of the original prayer book. Because material can so easily be transmitted it is questionable that we will ever experience uniformity again. Perhaps the solution lies in teaching the principles of liturgy as suggested in one paper. Where new service sheets are produced each week the service sheet may become the norm. One paper suggests that we need to move from worship based on texts to worship that honours God’s transformation of the world. Church leadership needs to be challenged to take these issues seriously. Youth were mentioned in one or two papers and what we do with young people in worship.

    In a world of globalization there can be no uniformity because ultimately it is about our relationship with God and with one another. It is always to embrace the truth of God’s love. We cannot wish ourselves back into the past but must deal with creative challenges now. Cynthia Botha proposed some questions for discussion: How to ensure that leaders of worship understand the function and purpose of Anglican liturgy and worship? What training is needed to ensure that the essence of doctrine is preserved in accordance with most synodical requirements? How can there be greater sharing of resources and liturgical practices between provinces? How can we be sensitive to inculturation and at the same time retain an Anglican ethos?. How do we ensure that continuing ecumenical dialogue takes place?

    Reports from Groups

    A group observed that all liturgical development is happening in complex layers of activity, involving the interaction of many conversations and conversational partners. Second, the group thought about current developments in the Roman Catholic church. The group noticed the different ways in which the question of identity works in different situations, e.g., when Christians are a minority in the country. The group noted that work on ordinals had produced particular ecumenical conversations. The ecumenical agenda, it was noted, is rapidly being overtaken by interfaith considerations.

    Another group reduced the questions to such concerns as commonality and training, what do we have and what do we need to have to be common? There is a problem in keeping to common texts which hold back liturgical development. There is commonality within a province and within the Communion as a whole. The group talked about liturgical structure in relation to training. Liturgy and ecclesiology cannot be separated. The group discussed the person who leads worship and how important they are in relation to identity and the need for their integrity. There is a need for liturgical study.

    A group spent time initially on experiences in the several provinces. The group discussed what we have in common and questions of identity. The group noted a move away not only from common texts but also from common shape. There is a move towards a Christian identity as distinct from an Anglican identity. We share fundamentals across denominations. Identity involves the importance of connection with one another. Identity has been more of a process than a settled reality. We may be seeing a shift from a root metaphor of uniformity towards something more like a root metaphor of organism.

    Another group noted the various diversities among the provinces and asked, “How do people make good liturgical choices? How do we form people in healthy liturgical discernment?” The group discussed the provision of good liturgical form as itself formative. Some expressed discomfort about discussion of the nature of uniformity. What is it that we are saying to our various ecumenical partners? There was a sense of loss of ecumenical contexts. The group discussed the work of the IALC, one of whose original purposes was the provision of statements and documents.

    A group focused on the need for leaders to understand the function of Anglican worship. Modelling involves not only liturgy as it should be done but as it could be done. The decline of residential seminary training has affected liturgical formation.

    Another group noted that discussion of training demands the question, “Training for what?” The group expressed concern about reactions to varieties of style. Anglican worship may be an obstacle to God rather than an avenue to God. We need to train people who know how to put a coherent, flowing liturgy together, a liturgy that has integrity. We often talk about culture in terms of the past but we have to face the way in which we engage the present culture, which involves willingness not to ignore what is happening. Contemporary culture in North America has needs which are incoherent to other people. In spite of access to electronic media, a book may still be the best tool. We are heading into worship as an experiential, one-time experience. What is holding us together? Too often churches are prisons of the survivors of the secularist culture.

  8. Ecumenical Partner. John Melloh distributed a short letter written by Romano Guardini for members of the Consultation to read in preparation for his comments later in the Consultation.

  9. Liturgy Unbound

    Trevor Lloyd asked what we could learn from cultures which have never used a book but have adapted Anglican liturgy. This applies first to places where books are not used, or places where only the priest has a book (as in medieval England), as well as to places where the culture is oral. In inner urban or rural settings of poverty, the priest might have a full book but others only part of one. Also there are places which print their own leaflet for each Sunday or season, downloading material from electronic sources and sometimes projecting them onto a screen. This frees people from the book.

    To develop an understanding of where to place all of this in an Anglican spectrum we need to examine traditional bondage to a book. Hooker gave voice to the need for stability and his spokesmen probably still exist. Today it is not a matter of restraining the hotheads but of blowing on dying embers. If we turn to the Bible we find in large measure an oral culture in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament we find charismatic worship at variance with an Anglican sense of order. But we don’t find many texts to copy into our liturgy. The culture was different. We are almost as badly informed on the early centuries of the church’s life. We don’t have all the evidence of what it was like to worship in the early centuries. Why is there so little about the word service? Where do we go for a picture of liturgical identity?

    The Reformation came at the right time to create a people of the book. Every parish church and eventually every worshipper could have the text in their hands. Uniformity was a matter of national security. The requirement to use the book and nothing but the book continued until the Act of Uniformity Amendments Act of 1872. Most of the churches of the Reformation demanded allegiance to a hefty doctrinal statement, like the Westminster Confession and the Directory. But there were pressures on uniformity, such as Sunday School services and other similar meetings. Pressure for greater freedom built up in the 20th century. With the passing of the Prayer Book (Alternative and Other Services) Measure 1965 the door was open greater variety. The question became how to combine traditional common prayer with greater freedom.

    Common prayer is like visiting other members of the family and recognizing common characteristics, in the case of worship such characteristics include a clear structure, emphasis on reading, liturgical words repeated by the congregation, using the Lord’s Prayer, recognition of the centrality of the eucharist, appreciation of form and dignity. One of the advantages of a service outline is that it enables the church to recognize through its synod important areas where we should hold together. It is now possible to access large amounts of unauthorized material for use. Does this matter? This raises the importance of structure. It is possible to introduce unfamiliar material if it is set within the framework of a known structure. The electronic resource Visual Liturgy is deliberately designed to press for a clear structure of worship, which does not sound like the abandonment of Anglican uniformity.

    Issues include the choice of music, as well as borrowing from one another across the Communion. Is borrowing better than creating one’s own text from within? who will police the liturgy—the bishop? the archdeacon? There is a need for liturgical education, and for listening to one another across cultural divides.

    Five questions. Does too much insistence on having an authorized, mostly written, liturgy promote legalistic and divisive attitudes in the church? Second, can we hear the critique coming from some of our inner-urban areas and from some of those whose life is either circumscribed or enlarged by a range of electronic devices? Can we hear the critique that says that books are in the past, too daunting or intimidating for some and give the impression that the church is tied to the century before last? Third, does a less book-centred, more oral liturgy promote liturgical formation as people learn to look for the rhythms of the shape and find that the material (texts and songs) they know by heart stay with them and become part of them and affect the rest of their lives? Fourth, is a liturgy that is freer from the authorized word going to promote more poetry, more music, and more relational activity in worship? Fifth, is looking at our liturgies from the unbound angle going to help us to greater clarity and simplicity doctrinally and liturgically?

    Discussion groups reported back.

    One group reported that they had talked a lot about shape but then decided that it was better to talk about elements, of which shape was one. Such elements include shape, doing it together, extensive reading of the scriptures, following the lectionary, the centrality of the eucharist, rhythm of the year, rhythm of the day, baptism in public worship, people and clergy praying together, and prayers which include thanksgiving, general confession and absolution, and intercession. The group felt that a different kind of training is needed that enables leaders to understand the elements of worship.

    Another group discussed shape and deep structures, highlighting their importance because the structures enable people to determine the flow of worship. The group discussed the identification of criteria for working more with a directory approach. The group acknowledged the importance of education.

    Another group explored the image of a family tree and the question, “if we are related in the family tree, what is the trunk?” They asked, “Is there an Anglican methodology as to how we do this?” The group discussed the relationship of liturgy, ecclesiology, and ethics, noting that break-away groups are using the same rites. Is Anglican liturgy created today without reference to 1662? Is that the trunk? Or is it the wider, deeper, longer tradition? The group discussed the relationship of extemporary prayer and trinitarian prayer, suggesting that the trunk-tradition is trinitarian. The group asked if we are becoming a bookless culture.

    A group identified a number of positives and negatives. When dealing with an oral culture there is the positive aspect of what is known by heart. It is going to become more common for instruction before a liturgy to enhance a congregation’s ability to worship together. It is not just more liturgical formation that is needed but a different kind of formation.

    Another group discussed the suggestion that music has been taken care of. The question is, “How well has it been taken care of?” Music is the scene of continuing struggle. The liturgical text is very important because it is an important vehicle by which faith and tradition are brought forth. Texts we sing actually matter. Some provinces have authorized hymnals and others do not. The musical styles themselves have been divisive. The group discussed the mysterious matter of the music’s quality. The group also moved to the question of the freedom of liturgical use. When there are no books in the pews and the priest introduces the liturgy, the priest gains enormous control. We might try to identify the principles of Anglican worship in the widest possible circle.

    Another group thought it would be helpful to distinguish two consequences of “the book”, the building community of across, and the building of community within. The BCP has been a touchstone against which other liturgical texts have been evaluated, raising the possibility of testing one text against another. One of the characteristic by which Anglicans have described themselves has been by identifying the points on which they differ from other traditions. Anglicans are good at doing liturgical things because they are lovely, without asking what they mean. The group noticed that unbound liturgy tends to place more power into the hands of experts. Who has the power to choose what you regularly don’t do. The BCP has made possible a relationship between public and private prayer. In the world of unbound liturgies what happens to private prayer?

  10. Provincial Reports

    Southern Africa. Ian Darby reported for the Church of the Province of Southern Africa. He told the meeting that it is now 16 years since the current prayer book was published. The Province had begun to consider revision of liturgical texts and work is now being done on the ordinal. New names have been inserted into the calendar. Sister Harrietta Stockdale, Lydia Williams, and Elizabeth Paul are being researched for addition. Already authorized material includes additional collects, a service of the word, communion in the absence of a priest, a eucharistic prayer for children, a rite for the committal of bodies handed over for medical science, reburial after exhumation, litanies for the sick and for social justice, recognition of the closure of a marriage, thanksgiving for healing, and celebration of a new ministry. Other rites have not yet been authorized, for instance guidelines for interfaith services, stations of the resurrection, inauguration of a new archdeaconry, a Good Friday eucharistic prayer, and others. The province was visited by George Guiver last year and will welcome visits from other liturgists. The project in preparation at the moment is a multilingual hymn book. Forty hymns in six languages are to be included. The use of different languages shows how conservative the choice is compelled to be. It is difficult to find hymns which were not brought by the missionaries nearly two centuries ago. Very few of the locally composed hymns are available in all the translations.

    Japan. Bishop Hiromichi Kato reported for the NSKK. He told the Consultation that the first Anglican evangelistic and missionary activity in Japan was begun in the 19th century when it was still forbidden. Channing Moore Williams came from the United States and set about translating the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, and other essentials of worship into Japanese. The predecessor of Japan’s first Prayer Book was published in 1879 and the first official BCP in 1895. Although the prayer book has gone through several revisions since that time, the efforts of the early missionaries (American, English, and Canadian) have continued to serve as the foundation of the liturgy. After the second world war the Japanese BCP of 1959 incorporated the insights of much liturgical research of the period. Bishop Kato commented on the absence of members of the Korean church at meetings of the IALC. He stressed the importance of Christianity in Korea and he suggested that perhaps they do not know about the consultations. Bishop Kato noted that English is not used in ordinary society in Korea and Japan and it is difficult for them to participate in an anglophone context. He said that Japan and Korea need some Asian liturgical consultations, sharing their own experience. He said he is writing a paper on what it means to be an Asian Anglican and there was a request that it be translated and circulated.

    England. David Stancliffe told the Consultation that the Common Worship series of resources has been followed by a number of parochial liturgical texts. These pastoral texts have been informed by work on understanding staged rites as well as by the Christian tradition, and they have a sense of journey through them. Not included in pastoral rites were rites for reconciliation, but these have now appeared. The initiation volume is now to appear, which will also include rites for the re-appropriation of baptismal status. Regulations governing the communion of all the baptized are in process. Common Worship Daily Prayer has now been published, based on Celebrating Common Prayer, which has met the needs of many lay people who wish a more structured form of daily prayer. An ordinal has been produced and is now available in pre-publication format. The ordination prayers are significantly different, with a clearer theology of diaconal and presbyteral ministry expressed. A large book on times and seasons is scheduled for next year, replacing earlier material. David Stancliffe recalled that the 1998 Lambeth Conference had charged him and Paul Gibson to produce a one-reading a day lectionary. He noted that several attempts at this have been made and that further work will be done. Members of the Consultation engaged with David Stancliffe regarding the tendency of the Vatican to treat C. of E. ordination rites as the Anglican norm, and regarding the question of direct ordination.

    Ireland. The Church of Ireland launched a new Book of Common Prayer in 2004. It has been very well received, especially because traditional and contemporary language services are contained in one cover. Two changes were made in traditional material, i.e., the “who” form of the Lord’s Prayer and “Holy Spirit” instead of “Holy Ghost”. The BCP Ordinal remains without change. The contemporary Ordinal includes an ordination prayer in which the people have a part. The Liturgical Advisory Committee is now able to turn its attention to training and formation as well as resources. A decision was made to produce an Irish version of Visual Liturgy. The issue of copyright is increasingly important when more and more services are produced at diocesan and parish level. A process has been put in place.

    Scotland. What it means to be a Scottish Anglican is not entirely clear. Part of the problem is that the roots of the Scottish Episcopal Church are not in the Church of England. The church as a whole through its synodical processes has adopted the principles of the Toronto Statement and confirmation is now being changed into something new. The liturgy of the laying on of hands for affirmation and renewal is now repeatable. The Marriage Rite is intended to give the couple the maximum amount of choice. The Ordinal has been amended in the direction of inclusive language. There seems to be no desire for the gathering of “wee bookies” into a single volume. All liturgies will shortly be on-line. Two liturgical texts are available in Gaelic.

    Australia. The commission has been meeting less frequently. The commission attempts to model liturgy done well. New work is started when requested by the bishops. Work is being done on texts relating to sexual misconduct. General Synod has adopted a resolution on “Special Sundays”. The work of the commission is available on web.

    Canada. Eileen Scully told the Consultation that the Anglican Church of Canada has no dedicated liturgical commission but responsibility falls within the assignment of a committee of some 17 people who are responsible for the spectrum of faith, worship, and ministry. Although the work of worship does not appear to be central, a number of tasks are under way. Work on translation into French continues for the use of parishes in Quebec and eastern Ontario. The committee does not rely entirely on direct translation from English—francophones are themselves creating prayers for ministry to the sick. Electronic publishing is under way. Proper prayers and other material related to the Revised Common Lectionary are now being produced and should be available on-line. There is a voice in the church that asks where the church is going with electronic publishing and the production of material in booklet form. A resolution to this effect was defeated by the 2004 General Synod but the issue remains, and the need for an agenda addressing the church’s direction has been recognized. An important dimension is the church’s relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (with whom Anglicans are in full communion) and the two churches have members on each other’s committees. Healing and reconciliation remain important issues in relation to abuse, although they will not produce many texts. The process raises the relationship of justice, history, and our worship lives. The church is wrestling with electronic texts but under the shadow of publishing problems. Sharing with Lutherans as partners in their annual liturgy conference is an important relationship. Paula Sampson told the Consultation that the government of Canada still acts in a colonial way towards first nations people and one of the gifts of the native people is the fostering of awareness of the connection between action and worship.

    Ritual and Identity

    John Melloh of Notre Dame University, ecumenical partner, addressed the Consultation on Ritual and Identity. He quoted Nathan Mitchell as saying that the liturgy is no longer an established pattern but a free service varying from parish to parish and diocese to diocese, or even within a parish. The primary purpose of ritual is to enable to participation of everyone by creating patterns of familiar actions that can be done by heart. Unlike the rituals of ancient peoples, our rituals seem provisional and made up at will without invoking tradition.

    John Melloh referred to Romano Guardini who wrote an open letter to the 1964 liturgical conference at Mainz. (Copies of the letter had been distributed at an earlier point in the Consultation.) First, Guardini muses on whether or not modern people are capable of positing a liturgical act in the context of individualism. He emphasizes the corporate nature of liturgy. Second, liturgy involves contemplative vision which brings subject and object together. Third, renewal is not about tinkering with ceremonies and organizing better processions, but about performing these ritual actions in such a way that they communicate grace. The act of processing becomes an epiphany of God moving among God’s people.

    Guardini is concerned about the enactment and embodying of the rite. Ritual not only creates the identity of the community but is also a statement of our beliefs. Ritual is in the category of rehearsal because the liturgical act is where the community constantly practises acting so that it may be acted upon. Without this rehearsal we may become amnesiacs. Mary Douglas says that ritual is primarily a form of social communication. Whenever a child speaks or listens, social structure and identity are created and reinforced. It would help to treat all religious forms as speech forms which exercise an effect on social behaviour. There are two factors that influence ritual behaviour: first, group which defines social relationships. Second, grid which defines one-to-one behaviour within a group. You can expect highly ritualized behaviour when groups are tight. Cultural bonding and ritual behaviour go hand in hand.

    Do these generalizations apply to modern industrial societies? John Melloh says they do. An example is provided by Irish immigrants to English industrial society who maintained Friday abstinence as an expression of social identity. They could not explain this theologically; they just knew is by heart. Some rituals are used to heal breaches. Modern societies use the rituals of court and mediators. Other rituals are enacted for specific purposes, like celebrating an individual or an event. Victor Turner regarded ritual as a transformative process. Ritual is the basic social act. Rituals have been divided into indexible and canonical. Indexible rituals are about the transitory here and now, while canonical rituals are about the ultimate and unchangeable. It is our job to discover them.

    Liturgy is an art, subject to rules, and to ignore them is to risk leading the assembly into idiosyncratic dead-ends. Liturgy either dies at the hands of the trendy, or it slays them. Walter Ong says we do not live in a primarily oral culture. We live in a secondarily oral culture in which orality has been superseded by writing, the printing press, and electronic technology. In traditional societies the recitation of the myth (origins) is always adapted to changing circumstances. However, once text is written down variations from the text or the use of alternate texts become discernible and obvious. The text can produce conflict. Writing is authoritative and involves stratification in which some have access to the text and some do not. Ritual change with regard to text is much easier in a primarily oral culture. In literate societies textual changes tend to be deliberate, debated, faction-ridden, and explosive. Textual changes create a mess, placing universal values over local situations and fostering orthodoxy. In traditional societies rites are obligatory rather than optional. Rites in traditional societies demand ritual competence rather than resourcefulness. In traditional societies the rites concern a group that is relatively homogeneous, which we do not have in industrial societies.

    Whatever else it is, liturgy is an act of communication. Whatever else, ritual is an act of communication which communicates through a series of languages operating not so much by linear decoding but by imaginative evocation. While the liturgical act is a performance it is also a contemplation. Ritual structure and elements are relatively invariable. Ritual may be resistant to change but it is not impervious to change. Public liturgies do shape identity, but so do other rituals. What ought not to happen is the development of parallel rites, like current use of the Tridentine mass as a parallel to the Roman rite)

  11. Towards a Statement

    Topics were assigned to pairs of groups for discussion in preparation for a possible draft statement. What is it that makes Anglican worship? What are the elements of Anglican liturgy? What are some illustrative texts which reflect the Anglican way of doing things which enhance Christian faith?

    Discussion groups reported back.

    One group worked on a short descriptive narrative of what makes Anglican liturgy and what its emphases may be The following elements were suggested: relational in time, relational in space, worshipping with all the senses, the weekly cycle as well as the daily cycle, the importance of words and language that reflects what we actually believe, universal Anglican norms of worship as described in the York IALC report. The group also talked about liturgy as the vehicle through which God acts in us as well as what we do. Examination of liturgy through the lens of Hooker’s tripod could be helpful. What is the relationship between theology and liturgy, between faith and ritual. Anglican worship should honour both the universal and the local with local liturgy following local norms rather than English norms. Is there anything distinctively Anglican after the liturgical movement of the 20th century? Historical considerations cover the whole of Christian history and not merely the post-Reformation period and affect our understanding of theology. The aesthetic is important and the beauty of holiness.

    Another group also dealt with elements of Anglican worship. This group looked at an interplay of three elements of Anglican worship: content, structure, and enactment. An element is scripture organized for worship with word and sacrament interpenetrating each other. Another element is the centrality of the celebration of the eucharist on Sunday. Another is the rhythm of the year and of the day. Another is the interaction of priest and people. Someone in the group asked how long these things had obtained among us? Some suggested 1850 as a date, while others thought earlier. An element of Anglican worship is the ability to borrow from other traditions. A great deal of subsequent discussion dealt with the difference between being an established church and a non-established church. The group identified a kind of Benedictine filter through which Anglicans tend to run their assumptions.

    Another group identified elements of ethos and elements of rite. Ethos means we hold together catholic and Reformed traditions. There is a variety of expression including some elements such as restraint, dignity, solemnity, music, and movement. Elements of text are provided by the use of authorized texts and corporate worship. The group discussed the attitude reflected by, “we know how to do celebration.” Under rite the group discussed shape, lectionary, the rhythm of the year, the centrality of the eucharist, confession, intercession, use of the Lord’s Prayer, knowing words, music, and action by heart.. The group discussed intercession and the tendency to begin by praying globally, for the church and the world.

    Another group discussed lex orandi as an expression of belief. Members of the group were invited to identify what seemed to be specifically Anglican. They named the middle way between Roman Catholic and Reformed, having a BCP which is a sacrament of our identity, worship in common, a sense of those who precede and follow us, the fact that custom and practice are important to our sense of identity, a sense of integrity. It was noted that ritual works for us until we notice it when it no longer works. Elements of Anglican liturgy include the importance of scripture, a sense of belonging to something before us and after us, an awareness of the need for the material objects we use to have integrity, the importance of aesthetics, beauty, and grace to express that which we actually believe, the fact that the personal and the corporate are blended together and that private prayer is grounded in corporate prayer.

    Another group suggested that the central core elements (baptism and eucharist) are really Christian rather than Anglican. Though there may be historical differences that are specifically Anglican, the contemporary ecumenical convergence has modified that considerably. There are specifically Anglican characteristics of worship but it is not particularly helpful to claim them as uniquely Anglican.

  12. Liturgy and Ecclesiology

    Louis Weil began an address on Liturgy and Ecclesiology with the concept, “remembering the future”. In the eucharistic prayer of St. John Chrysostom the anamnesis includes the “second and glorious coming again.” Its presence in the prayer completes a circle in salvation history, culminating in the consummation at the end of time. We need to remember that the church’s centre of gravity lies in the future, not the past. We tend to think of the eucharist in terms of events in the past, including Jesus’ final meal with his disciples. Would placing those events in the context of the future change our perspective? Louis Weil said he had decided to focus on the first description of the church in the Nicene Creed, i.e., “one.” We are all required to reflect deeply on issues that are larger in scope than our own crisis: what is the nature of the unity we affirm in the creed? How is it related to the eucharistic celebration?

    Hooker affirms the unity of the church divided into distinct societies. He affirms that the essential unity of the church is not nullified by the fact of division. He is affirming a unity that transcends the realities of division. “Distinct societies” refers only to benign division, but many of the divisions in our time are adversarial. What is this unity that we profess? To what is the creed referring? It would be absurd to claim that this is a numerical unity. There are currently 37,000 associations in the world which identify themselves as the church of Jesus Christ. The clay vessels that contain the treasure are not only individuals but communities. Communion does not shine forth in splendour except on too few occasions. Rarely has communion been realized in its perfection on the universal plain.

    Does an eschatological perspective orient our understanding of the unity of the church in a more realistic way? How are we to understand the role of the liturgy in this context? What do baptism and the eucharist say about the unity of the church? We need to examine two closely related sacramental acts: the unity manifested in baptism and the unity manifested through eucharistic communion. What would be the effect of placing these acts within an eschatological perspective? How might we see unity as a promise of future fulfillment towards which baptism and the eucharist orient the church.

    In the ecumenical dialogues agreement on the theologies of baptism and eucharist has been fairly easy to achieve. The truly divisive issues have tended to cluster around diverse models of ordained leadership and authority. However, agreement on baptism and eucharist might offer a basis on which a greater degree of unity and intercommunion might be realized. There has been a presupposition that Christians of different traditions should not share communion until all disputed questions have been reconciled. However, within the context of a baptismal ecclesiology differences would not be seen as the defining characteristics separating one ecclesial tradition from another but rather as differences within the one body. The unity created by the one baptism has been undermined by the impact of a schismatic spirit, fostered by a context of power issues. The vision presented here is one which would embrace differences among Christians as inviting dialogue and the sharing of faith experience and as a summons to a higher commitment of unity. This may be naively optimistic but it does take seriously baptismal unity.

    This approach sees the eucharist as an effective or causative sign of unity embodying the grace to effect the unity which it signifies. This approach has received modest attention. Intercommunion grounded in the one baptism is oriented toward the future. Baptism gives the unity of the church which sin cannot annihilate. It is oriented towards the gathering of all Christians around their Lord in the eschaton. This will involve engagement with a clerical mentality which has dominated the church.

    In recent months there has been extensive discussion among the primates of the Anglican Communion and elsewhere about what is called “impaired communion” as a consequence of decisions in the American and Canadian churches. Although these are presenting issues they are related to the larger questions. What is the nature of the unity of the church which we profess in the Nicene Creed? How is that embodied in the sharing of the eucharistic gifts? What would be the result of placing these issues into an eschatological context.

    Orthodox theologian John Zizioulas writes that, “each local church received the gospel and re-receives it constantly through the ministry of the episcope acting in communion with the faithful and with the other local churches in conciliar decisions through a universal primacy.” Each local church is the catholic church and each bishop is the successor of Peter. In this model, the pope would not be Peter and the other bishops the apostolic college, but the pope would be Peter in the church of Rome and by virtue of that primus inter pares in his relation with other bishops, each of whom represents Peter in the local churches, with the presbyters representing the apostolic college.

    The ARCIC document The Gift of Authority proposes to place authority within the episcopal college and for the bishop of Rome to proclaim the faith of the local churches. This overlooks claims that the pope acts infallibly without any requirement that he consult his fellow bishops, let alone other churches. The ARCIC document also seems to limit authoritative teaching in the church within the college of bishops.

    Geoffrey Wainwright claimed that the eschatological nature of the eucharist compels Christians towards intercommunion. All eucharistic celebrations are in some sense defective because they point to a unity which is not a lived reality. In the light of this it would be good for Anglicans not to be myopic about the current threat to communion forced by neo-puritan voices.. We are more aware today how often conflicting truths are grounded in widely divergent cultural contexts. The threat of schism is all too real when widely different cultural languages can find no meeting point. We are left with different understandings of truth and how the scriptures are to be interpreted. In the face of Christian disunity our churches are obliged to recognize the provisional character of all our eucharists.

    The eschatological nature of the eucharist points us to future fulfillment. Our celebration of the eucharist here on earth is a foretaste of that heavenly banquet which scripture holds out to us as a promise of the future when all of God’s people will be gathered in unity around Christ in the kingdom of God. Louis Weil quoted Irenaeus, “God became a human person so that we might be united with God.” In this we find the essence of Christianity, a descent of God which opens a path of ascent. This union of created beings with the divinity has been the fulfilment of a promise found in the 2nd epistle of Peter, “so that you may participate in the divine nature.” It is through this participation in the divine nature that the unity of the church is secured. We remember the future.

  13. Eucharistic Food and Drink

    Ronald Dowling introduced the report of a task group asked to bring together information on the use of elements other than bread and wine at the eucharist and the reasons given. He outlined the history of this process, which includes a background paper produced by Paul Gibson for the Berkeley IALC in 1991, and a report produced in response to an assignment to the IALC by the Hong Kong ACC in 2002. He reviewed the process by which data had been collected and the varied nature of the information given by of those who replied. In preparation for the production of a report the chair of the task force consulted Andrew McGowan, a. recognized expert in the field.

    The draft report of the task force recognizes bread and wine as normative, but on the basis of principles reflected in the practice of baptism by the Didache provides for circumstances in which the norm cannot be realized. The Consultation discussed the draft report and, in particular, the relative standing of alcohol and the juice of the grape when exceptions are made. It was proposed that the recommendations regarding bread and wine be separated in regard to the two elements. Members raised a number of issues, including the possibility that further work could be done in partnership with IASCER. The Consultation agreed that dissemination of the report would be the prerogative of the Anglican Consultative Council.

    The chair asked the task force to consider the discussion and possibly revise the document in the light of it.

  14. The IASCER report

    Bill Crockett described his role with the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations, explaining that he is a consultant with IASCER and its liaison with IALC. He noted that the IALC appears to operate on an older ecclesiology which is based on dispersed authority. IASCER appears to operate on a newer ecclesiology which has been influenced by the Virginia and Windsor reports. He noted three matters on which the work of the bodies overlaps, the Berkeley statement on ordination, the discussion of eucharistic food, and guidelines for ecumenical participation in ordinations.

  15. Business Meeting
    1. Publication. David Holeton reported that the Berkeley material is still missing two papers. The next stage is to find a publisher because one has not yet been found.
    2. Cuddesdon Papers. Ruth Meyers reported that a publisher is being sought.
    3. Future. Societas Liturgica is meeting in Sicily in 2007. The premises, apparently very fine, would be available Monday July 30 to Saturday August 4. There is an intention that Societas may meet in Australia in 2009. It would be possible for an IALC meeting to take place in that part of the world in 2009. There have been overtures from New Zealand. Paul Bradshaw asked members to consider subject matter that would be valuable to the Communion for the next meeting.
    4. Worship and mission. A member suggested that the mission dimension of worship be considered. Another member reported that in September 2006 and perhaps later there will be a colloquium of Roman Catholic and Anglican liturgists and ecclesiologists which might provide material for the IALC’s work. A member suggested that the 2007 IALC event be considered a full consultation and that the work of this event be treated as preparatory, with a view to attracting a larger number of participants from parts of the world not presently represented. A member suggested discussion of pastoral rites and well as baptism. A member proposed that work be done on the daily office and daily prayer, as well as services of the word. A member suggested liturgical pedagogy, in congregations as well as seminaries. A member suggested that it was time to revisit inculturation.
  16. Nominating Committee and Election

    David Stancliffe presented the report of the Nominating Committee. The Committee proposed George Connor, Cynthia Botha, and Ian Paton and the slate was approved by the Consultation. George Connor received the largest number of votes in a process to determine who would serve longest.

  17. Financial Statement

    A member requested a financial statement of the IALC and the chair agreed to provide it. The meeting also noted the need for a letter requesting support of the Consultation to be sent to the Provinces of the Communion. A member suggested that the steering committee determine in a year’s time whether sufficient funds have been gathered to make a Consultation possible and to solicit further support if possible.

  18. Draft Report

    Chris Irvine introduced a draft statement of the current Consultation (appended).

  19. Ecumenical Partner

    John Melloh described the Consultation as a peek into the workings of Anglican liturgy. He said had found at times that Anglican language is somewhat difficult and he tried to understand some basic terminology. He said he found it very helpful to listen to reports. He identified a number of common themes and noted that formation and training seemed to have generated some energy. Some of the papers which will be forthcoming from the last meeting may provide some further insight. He noted concern about using inclusive language, at least on the horizontal plane. The Roman Catholic Church has not adopted a policy on this. In regard to text-boundedness he encouraged concern about embodiment and enactment.

    General conversation during the week has tended to be most respectful and even when opinions differed people were listening to one another. John Melloh said the way of working seems to be that fertile ideas tend to be raised in the last 10 minutes of any session. He suggested making those fertile remarks earlier. At this meeting we have had “a company of voices,” but such a company has not been heard. The topic of identity was elusive because it is both over-arching and under-girding. The preliminary draft of a Consultation statement was quite fine as a first draft.

    John Melloh said he was puzzled by a reference to monasticism or Benedictinism in reference to Anglican celebration of the office. However, what he did not find to be at all Benedictine was a sense of contemplation in the office. One of the functions of poetry is to help you slow down. He did not find the evening office to be a contemplative slowing down. He said, “If you really want a Benedictine spirit, then do it; if not, never mind.” He suggested that on another occasion the Consultation might want to move beyond Cranmer. If the subject is baptism, then the readings could reflect that theme. Another issue is the principle of participation. He said he felt more comfortable in an Anglican parish church than in Westminster Abbey. When at the Abbey he would have liked to be able to sing ‘the Holy. Holy’.

    The BCP is an issue. The question is not whether we take the BCP and make it spiffy, but there is a question of inculturation. Inculturation is “respecting the genius of peoples” (Vatican II). The question is how we use the BCP in this context of time and place? How do we respect peoples?

    John Melloh said he had picked up some concern about the future of Anglican unity. The issues that seem to have caused anxiety relate particularly to orders and ministry. His simple approach was, “Don’t let it happen.” What about forgiveness? What about the fact that God made us human and we just happen to be imperfect. Prayer would be a good thing. Love would be a good thing. Listening would be a good thing, and trying to understand positions we don’t like. In Rahner’s terms, God is moving history along according to God’s will, in spite of human sin. But we have to respond to the Spirit. As in mathematics, every system contains a problem that can’t be solved except by putting it into a larger framework. In matters liturgical the larger framework is mission. What is this celebration trying to lead us towards?

    Special thanks to the group leaders and reporters, and the Province reporters. To Chris Irvine for his paper on the use of scripture, which was an instance of ritual theory. Thanks to all who are editing the final report. For all those who arranged this event. And to all because, “You have welcomed me as a brother in Christ.” He said he sensed that members abhorred “playing church”.

  20. Archives

    Phillip Tovey moved that this Consultation
    affirms the vital importance of collecting together in one place all Anglican liturgical texts as vital for inter-Provincial communication and the study of Anglican liturgy;

    asks all provinces to continue to send a copy of all new liturgical and service material to the Anglican Consultative Council office;

    thanks Paul Gibson for his role in initiating this task and asks that it may continue;

    asks the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council to ensure that the collection is professionally catalogued and adequately housed and made available to scholars for future use.
Paul Gibson
24 August 2005

Participants (by province) Australia: Ronald Dowling, Albert McPherson, Elizabeth J. Smith, Gillian Varcoe; Canada: William Crockett, Paula Sampson, Eileen Scully; CPSA: Cynthia Botha, Ian Darby; Keith Griffiths; Cuba: Juan Quevedo-Bosch, Michael Tamayo; Czech: David Holeton; England: Gilly Myers, Anders Bergquist, Paul Bradshaw, Colin Buchanan, Alec George, Ben Gordon-Taylor, Jeremy Haselock, Christopher Irvine, Simon Jones, Trevor Lloyd, Stephen Platten, David Stancliffe, Phillip Tovey; Hong Kong: Ian Lam; Ireland: Michael Burrows, Harold Miller, Ricky Rountree, A.J Rufli, Japan: John Kato, John Yoshida, Kenya: Joyce Karuri, Sam Mawiyoo; New Zealand, George Connor; Philippines: Tomas Maddela; Scotland: Darren McFarland, James Milne, Ian Paton, Carrie Upton; U.S.A.: Robert Brookes, Jean Campbell, Carol Doran, Rick Fabian, Lizette Larson-Miller, Ruth Meyers, Clayton Morris, William Petersen, Susan Smith, Louis Weil; Partners: Hans-Jürgen Feulner, John Melloh; Liaison with Primates: Ellison Pogo; ACC Coordinator for Liturgy: Paul Gibson.