Ministries - Liturgy

International Anglican Liturgical Consultations

 Minutes of a meeting of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation Palermo, Sicily
20 July - 4 August 2007

The chair, Paul Bradshaw, welcomed members of the Consultation and they identified themselves by name and place. The meeting discussed arrangements affecting the process of the event, including provision of an opportunity for members to discuss Communion issues during an off-agenda session. Paul Bradshaw provided some details of the history of the Consultations.

Paul Bradshaw reminded the participants that the Consultations had embarked on a study of pastoral offices and that this particular meeting would address the subject, “Rites Surrounding Death.”

George Connor welcomed and introduced John Pobee, the Consultation’s first speaker.

A. Consultation Presentations

  1. Christian Funerals - an African Perspective

    John Pobee reminded the meeting that we have an immoveable feast—death. Once we acknowledge that, we think of the ritual. The purpose of ritual is shared experience. John Pobee said that in his background it is a rite of passage, an event of transition, so that whatever we do includes the element of transition, of going and moving somewhere. All of life is punctuated by crisis points, of which death is one. We tend to isolate death but we should see it as part of a series of events. In the prospect of marriage we are sometimes afraid but also happy. It should be similar with death. As a rite of passage death includes separation, transition, and incorporation. He said he wanted to see death as a rite of separation but also as a rite of incorporation.
    John Pobee said he had always tried to have a missiological sense. He was born into an African family. In the mission history of Africa there was great concern about libation because people thought that was pagan. But modern studies have shown that libation is not worship but veneration. The liturgy is communication and whatever we say about spirituality is a matter of communication. It is important to reach the emotions and passions. He asked, what are the implications of funeral rites in his African culture? He said that what is universal must appear in the local, but it will not take the same form in every place. He said, as an African, that there is too much fidelity to the received traditions. He said he was not interested in numbers but in the quality of what is done. A funeral is an occasion for reaching people and has a missiological dimension.
    It is important in religion that the sense of mystery not be lost, and a funeral is an important point for inculcating that sense of the holy and of mystery. So let us be rational and logical, but let us also not lose the sense of mystery. We are only able to understand things within a sense of community. In a funeral rite we are trying to foster a sense of community, of incorporation. A funeral is a means of restoring a sense of community. In Africa, if someone does not go to funerals their community may not allow them to bury their own relations in the community burial place. In Ghana it is hard to get people to work on Fridays because they are busy going to funerals and burials. Funerals provide a sense of solidarity.

    It is important that liturgy be beautiful, but a sense of beauty is now in a confused state. We also need a sense of colour. He said he thought we could do something with colour in our community. The colours at a funeral tell the story. We must ask, what message does this colour have in a particular context?

    A funeral is not the finish. People may request a requiem mass for someone who died 20 years before. It is all part of the rite of incorporation. There must be an Anglican slant to all this. It is lazy and careless to say that 1662 is the be-all-and-end all. What ideas do I want to communicate through the funeral service?

    First, death is necessary for all of us. Second, faith in Jesus Christ makes a difference. How is my faith in Jesus Christ different? Third, rest eternal and life everlasting. John Pobee asked in what direction should one go? He said he wanted a funeral rite that is a drama and it is important to remember the symbolism we use. You can’t translate symbols from one culture to another. Funerals should be drama that is uplifting and which fosters a sense of community which includes those who have gone before. Art that is beautiful and clear is needed.

    Funerals should be consistent with the teaching of the fathers of the early church. Because of the note of memorial which is central to the eucharist, there is a place for the funeral mass to be celebrated for deceased lay people as well as clergy (not always the practice in Africa). Whatever may be constructed as a funeral rite must include openness to flexibility. This is important in the African context because there is too much reliance on the written word. Books should be regarded as advice and intention but some Africans have a colonial mentality.

  2. Funerals in a Japanese Context

    Bartholomew Takeuchi described funerals in a Japanese context. He said that some scholars say that any system of religion or of thought would take about 500 to 1000 years to settle down in a foreign land. The first missionary came to Japan about 150 years ago, so the Japanese church is still a baby. When Augustine went to Kent he took liturgists with him, as did Benedict Biscop later. But no missionaries to Japan did the same. They came to increase the number of Christians. Their success was measured in terms of the number of the newly-baptized. Their concern was to gather people and try to baptize them. This policy was in accord with the government of the time. In 1868 the Japanese government decided to open the country to the western world. Christianity had been forbidden and there were many martyrs - thousands - in fact, more than in the Roman persecution of the early church. Christianity came back to Japan in 1859 in the person of Channing Moor Williams, a missionary from the American Episcopal Church, although the western church was much more interested in Shanghai. Missionary bases were created in a series of Japanese cities.

    Bartholomew Takeuchi said he had looked into the history of the Japanese church and saw practically no evidence of liturgical activity. For the first 15 years or so the Japanese church did only morning and evening prayers. The Nippon Sei Ko Kai was established in 1888 when its first convention was held. The Church of England sent missionaries from two societies and the Americans from one, and all three maintained their own churches. They then started to divide Japan into ten areas for which the societies were respectively responsible. Liturgical matters were affected by the practice of the three different bodies. This is the Japanese situation from which the NSKK should now depart. Bishops have  been working very hard for the unity of the Japanese church for a long time. More change will take about 10 years.

    When you look at Japanese society there is another big problem. After 150 years in Japan statistics show that the Christian population is less than 1% out of 120,000,000. There are probably 30,000 members of the NSKK. The majority of the Japanese people are not Christians but they are not persecutors. They are simply different or indifferent to a Christian religion, and more or  less to other religions, too. Religion has been treated as a means of government since the 17th century. Most of the Japanese people don’t see any value or teaching that they want to follow in any sort of religion. They try to follow what their ancestors taught them, i.e., how to live with earthly happiness. Living or living on this earth is the highest value among the Japanese people. In turn, therefore, death is the reality they do not accept.

    Bodies are the tokens of someone who still lives. Keeping the graves in a proper way is the highest and most important obligation for everyone. Bartholomew Takeuchi told of a young woman who wanted to marry a young man whose family objected because she was a Christian. They thought a Christian would never keep the graves in the proper way. Japanese people thought Christianity was about love and helping others and perhaps against drinking and smoking. Ordinary people thought that Christianity was far away from keeping the graves in a proper way. The task of missionaries was concentrated on expansion. The Japanese government wanted to modernize Japan and sometimes used missionaries. They did not agree with Christianity but tried to use the missionaries as promoters of western culture. Attempts were made to create universities that copied English universities like Oxford. The government encouraged ballroom dancing to convince the outside world that they were just like them. Western churches were regarded as the bearers of western culture into Japan. The churches were not to blame because the people wanted these things. People tried to get close to the missionaries because Christianity was regarded not as a system of faith or a way of life but as a kind of expression of European or American culture. The west was always better so they tried to receive western values into every corner of their lives. Chinese Christians have criticized the Japanese church for its role in westernization. Japanese people still think that Christianity is an expression of a sort of superiority and modernization. For the Japanese “new” means “good” or “better”. When a baby is born people go to Shinto shrines to report to the ancestors. When there is a marriage people may go to a church because of the music and fashionable dress. But when someone dies people go to a Buddhist temple. What would help this kind of society?

    Japanese people never accept death, which should be denied. A dead person is still there but people don’t want to accept the reality of death so they think that the dead still see the living with a strong sense of jealousy. The dead die with utmost regret and this sense of regret becomes a grudge against the living. If the living are unkind or forgetful, the dead may put a curse on them. The living want the dead to go away peacefully. The living are supposed to remember the dead but do not want the dead to remember them. This kind of thinking does not come from Buddhism. It is not part of the philosophical dimension of humanity. This is a folk religion which was there before the Buddhists came in the 7th century. There is no distinction between this world and that world. A folk religion shows only a kind of river that divides this world and that world. The teaching of Buddhism’s highest goal for humanity is nothingness, but even Buddhism was absorbed by the powerful folk religion.

    At the time of death there is the problem of how to satisfy the dead one and to make the dead one give up his life and go somewhere else. The main Buddhist practice at the time of death gives opportunity for the survivors to say, “Please go away without leaving any curse upon us.” The Sanskrit scriptures celebrating nothingness are read at great length all through the night. This is “TSUYA” or all through the night or vigil for the dead. In tsuya services, the survived wish the dead one to leave this world and try to convince the dead one that he/she shall be remembered with utmost respect and gratitude so that the dead one would be satisfied and be able to face his/her death without any grudge. At tsuya, people who gather would be entertained with some good food and drinks that are supposed to be a great treat by the dead one. The survived by this banquet try to praise the dead one and by the quality and quantity of food and drinks show the people the dead one’s generosity to the people. Because of this tsuya which tends to be a great gathering, the funeral service itself becomes not so important but is a kind of public or official announcement of the change in this person’s life. More important is to repeat this kind of memorial seven times and let the dead one go. On the 49th day the process is supposed to be successfully completed  and the dead one has gone with some satisfaction and a sense of giving up and will not put a curse on the living.

    The problem is that people expect Christians to do almost the same. Sometimes the dead person is the only member of his/her family who was a Christian. Family and friends come but do not participate. Then cremation comes, which has been a matter of law in Japan since the Spanish flu killed thousands in the early 20th century. The bones which remain after cremation are of great importance. But this is not a Buddhist custom because the doctrine of nothingness has nothing to do with the bones. The bones are the only evidence of the person’s existence. For Christians the bones are not so important, which perplexes Japanese people.

    Even church people think almost in the same way as non-Christian Japanese. And sometimes, people demand that even a church would follow the ways customarily done in the society, however it may be different from the Christian understanding of death. This is a great problem for pastoral ministry.

    Finally, burial comes. Many people wish to keep the cremated bones, not ashes, in their homes as long as possible in most cases, but they are encouraged to bury them by Christian clergy. Memorial services are held. Many people go to the graves every month on the day of death and, most important, on the anniversary. It is the task of Buddhist priests to remind people of their ritual duty. The church in the course of the revision of the Prayer Book has included memorial services and the tsuya services in seven alternatives, and more people tend to come to memorial services than actual funerals. Attending the service is an important expression of respect and compassion. The church is trying to tell the surrounding society what Christians think and believe. The NSKK had endeavoured to realize in the form of the official prayer book that Japanese traditional ideas for death and the rituals around death would be given a new understanding according to a Christian theology of death. A new revision of the Prayer Book in future will, it is hoped, realize this more fully.

  3. Reflections on the Anthropological Background of Funeral Rites

    Paul Gibson quoted S.G.F. Brandon (Man and His Destiny in the Great Religions) to illustrate the hypothesis that the dawning minds of individuals recapitulate the general human experience of the discovery of the facts of death and birth (in that order). Brandon suggests that at some remote time in the past humanity began to apprehend the significance of the facts of death and birth and to form some estimate of its destiny. Evidence discovered at Pekin (Chou-K’ou-Tien) suggests that ritual disposal of the dead was already practised some 300,000 ago. Paul Gibson suggested that funeral rites bring us into the presence of the building blocks of culture and religion. The primary religious act may have been the removal of a body from the camp or cave to a place of burial, exposure, or cremation, and the return of the bearers to the community. This double action reflecting loss, grief, and despair, as well as hope and new responsibilities, secures procession as a fundamental religious act. Paul Gibson suggested that all liturgical actions are rites of passage which enable participants to grasp the ambiguity of human experience and rise beyond it. Exploration of some patterns followed.

    Although funeral rituals appear to be universal at core level, they vary enormously in detail. They are acts of piety in the classical sense of the word, i.e., of duty within a social structure. The depth of such piety may be measured by its opposite, the withdrawal of appropriate treatment of the dead, which is not only insult but annihilation. Funerals are complex and often consist of a number of events, sometimes stretched over surprisingly long periods of time. While funeral rites appear to be stable and unchanging for long periods of time, they are open to change, sometimes slow but sometimes rapid.

    There is a powerful human impulse to deny the reality and finality of death. The primitive core stands as a defence against denial. There is a past and there is a future and our funeral liturgies should embody that core. Jesus approached his own death with a plea for deliverance and a cry of forsakenness. We need to articulate not only hope but doubt as deeply as Jesus spoke of his fear and sense of abandonment.

    Funerals have a therapeutic value, bringing comfort and renewal of stability to the survivors. They are in a process of transition in much of “western” society and are, in some cases, being owned by family and community rather than by the church. But one of the problems with this reappropriation is that many people do not have the historic models from which to begin.

    Resurrection has as much, if not more, to do with how the living do their lives in the future as with the destiny of the deceased. Churches should provide models on which members of the larger community may  base rituals which may not always be expressions of Christian orthodoxy but which minister to human need and aspiration. There is nothing more human than the ceremonies that surround death. This human dimension must speak to Christian liturgy before our ceremonies attempt to speak to humanity. If spirit is that dimension of human life which seeks to unite the power of being with the meaning of being (Tillich), funeral liturgies which strive to find meaning in and beyond the power of the death and life reality are a prevailing witness to the human quest for spirituality in which meaning is not explanation but an awareness of connectedness.

  4. The Prayer of Funerals

    Jean Campbell examined the prayers of funeral liturgies that have developed over the last 15 or 20 years from the perspective of who we say God is for us and the ways in which the human experience of death and dying is articulated in those prayers. She pointed out that it is obvious that a single funeral liturgy cannot satisfy the need to express faith in the midst of death, so we may now speak of clusters of rites. Provinces are developing more expansive rites. Jean Campbell drew attention to the Church of England’s Common Worship: Pastoral Services as a comprehensive collection which includes rites for ministry at the time of death, prayers for use at home before a funeral, prayers for those unable to be present at a funeral, receiving the coffin at the church, a funeral vigil, prayers for the morning of a funeral, as well as rituals for those who make decisions to withhold treatment or to remove life support. She noted that Common Worship: Pastoral Services includes a collection of prayers and scripture readings which correspond to various kinds of grief in various situations. She noted that we are beginning to recognize the need to affirm lament, which has been too long ignored.  Jean Campbell also referred to Episcopal Church prayers in regard to a miscarriage and at the time of withdrawal of medical treatment for the terminally ill. Funeral liturgies articulate clearly our faith in the overcoming of death in the paschal mystery and the baptismal promise that we are heirs through Christ in life eternal. Such funeral liturgies are an affirmation of faith and a clear message of the good news of Jesus Christ to those who have not believed. They are thus one of the best evangelical endeavours of the parish community.

    At the heart of Christian prayer is the remembrance of what God has done for us, which finds expression in the expanding number of biblical passages appointed for use in funeral rites. Jean Campbell noted that Common Worship provides an expanded list of appropriate biblical narrative passages. She also drew attention to a litany for the use of those who must decide to discontinue life-sustaining treatment which appears in Enriching our Worship 2. Pastors deal with the many faces of grief. The experience of grieving the death of a 99-year-old woman is different from the grief experienced at the death of an unborn child, as the grief experienced at the death of a 16-year-old is different from the grief for a 40-year-old woman with three small children who has died of cancer. Pastors deal with extreme stress, confusion, anxiety, taut emotions, and the complexities of human relationships, as well as the fullness of Christian faith in the midst of death.

    Jean Campbell recalled her discovery in Ghana of the use of different colours to reflect different kinds of funerals and grieving. The many faces of mourning have led to the provision of texts that respond to different kinds of grief. She commended the resources provided in Common Worship: Pastoral Services. She commented on the potential of prayers based on biblical imagery to bring the one who prays into a deeper awareness of their journey towards healing after a death. After a violent death people experience horror, grief, anger, pity, and a longing for justice, which may find expression in prayer. She noted the importance of prayer which provides ways in which doubt and confusion may be owned so that people may grow in their understanding and witness to the Gospel of Christ. She identified an example in A New Zealand Prayer Book.

    In conclusion Jean Campbell recalled that although Alleluia is our song in the face of death, profound shifts in our funeral rites now recognize human pain, anger, doubt, despair, and confusion. In reclaiming the voice of lament we open a door to a profound human need to cry out in faith to the God who will not abandon us to the grave. The rites and resources now being developed provide a library of prayer to give voice to our faith.

  5. Funeral Rites: Culture and Practice

    Te Kitohi Pikaahu addressed the Consultation on “Funeral Rites: Culture and Practice”from a Maori perspective. He began with a short whakatauki-proverb that refers to death and life: When one fern frond dies a new frond emerges. A slight variation is, When one warrior dies another one rises. Within death there is life and within life there is death. Te Kitohi Pikaahu said he proposed to discuss aspects of funeral rites from Aotearoa-New Zealand generally and in particular those to be found within the Maori world view. It is important to note that the whole New Zealand church had been influenced by Maori funeral rites and that the church as a whole has embraced practices now absorbed fully in its liturgy in both languages. He quoted a New Zealand church leader who expressed the opinion that the way toward understanding the Maori world view is only possible through a subjective approach. Trying to understand Maori thought, custom and experience through abstract means will lead only to a dead end. Maori culture is very rich in mythology and tradition, much of it still preserved as passed down from generation to generation in spite of some adaptation and natural evolution to suit the context, time, and location. These traditions still play a significant role in Maori life.

    As an example Te Kitohi Pikaahu referred to a large and public funeral for the Maori Queen, Dame Te Ata-i-rangi-kaahu which was televised. The mourning process was covered by the media. This brought the richness of Maori ritual at its best to every home and reinforced pride in being and behaving as a Maori.

    Ritual surrounding death has remained more or less intact among traditional Maori, revealing Maori perceptions of the soul and the afterlife. The Maori concept of death is that the spirit of the deceased goes to the spirit world, joining the ancestors, and is always within the realm of Maori daily life and experience. The past, present, and future are intricately connected through memory and story. There are three stages in rites related to death: a preparation phase centred on the individual, a gathering phase centred on the community, and a post-funeral phase centred on the immediate family. Te Kitohi Pikaahu took the Consultation through some of the components of the mourning process: mourning (lament), the provision of time for the rituals to take place, the sacred state of everyone and everything associated with the time and place, the ancestral house where the rituals take place, rituals of encounter (speeches and chant), visitors who pay respects, the giving of gifts, the commendation of someone who is dying, the farewell speech addressed to the dying just before death and to the dead, the feast which is a rite of reincorporation for the family, the tramping of the deceased person’s house to stamp out bad spirits, the unveiling of a memorial (about a year later), the transfer of mourning to another ancestral house by relatives who were unable to be at the funeral. Te Kitohi Pikaahu provided directions on the celebration of funeral liturgies and services in time of death from A New Zealand Prayer Book, and the numbers of the pages on which the liturgical material may be found.

B. Provincial Reports

Raymond Bayley reported on the Church in Wales. For the first 25 years of the church’s existence it did nothing about liturgical revision, continuing to use the 1662 book which it had used before. The Standing Liturgical Commission was set up after the 2nd World War. It’s first task was to produce a Prayer Book in modern language, which took 40 years to go through the whole approval process. The Commission then began work on texts in contemporary language, three volumes of which have already been published (The New Calendar and the Collects, An Order for the Holy Eucharist, and Services for Christian Initiation). Services in preparation include Ministry to the Sick, Morning and Evening Prayer, Times and Seasons, Funeral Rites, The Ordinal, and An Order of Marriage. Funeral Rites (a booklet for the congregation) and a Resource Book for the Minister (additional services and rites related to a funeral) are expected to be published in 2009.

John Yoshida reported for the Nippon Sei Ko Kai. A new hymnal was adopted in 2006. This hymnal contains 580 hymns and 77 pieces of music. Many hymns were originally in English but some of Asian and African origin are also included. A new service of the word was approved in 2006. The current Book of Common Prayer had required Morning Prayer when the eucharist could not be celebrated, but the new service may be used in its place on Sundays and feast days.

Clay Morris reported for the Episcopal Church (U.S.A). He said several new pieces of material were approved at the recent General Convention, some related to funerals, a celebration of a new ministry, and a collection of rites of passage. Lesser Feasts and Fasts will be totally revised. The Revised Common Lectionary has been approved. He commented on the constant process of revision which has come to characterize the identity of the church.

Stephen Platten reported for the Church of England. The Common Worship project is almost at its completion. The Ordinal has been published. Times and Seasons has been produced, and a volume of material for festivals is being completed. A book of prayers which may replace the office is in process. The main task is formation. There will be a process to organize activities to promote the work of the Commission.

Ezekiel Kondo reported for the Sudan. The Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan consists of 24 dioceses. The Province has experienced a lot of difficulty due to the civil war. So far the church has been using 1662, which has been translated into various local languages but people are using a book called Way of Worship. Different tribes have produced hymn books in other languages. The Province has produced only a booklet on the eucharist, and a collection of ordination services. A commission on liturgy has been formed to compile a book based on Sudanese culture and values. The church is experiencing difficulty with funerals, including the question of burial of the unbaptized.

Darren McFarland reported for the Scottish Episcopal Church, referring in particular to the publication of Holy Baptism. An ordinal has been approved. A marriage liturgy has been approved by General Synod. The Province has completed its current program of revision and is now turning its attention to liturgical formation. A proposal for a new Scottish Prayer Book is being considered, although it is now at a very early stage. All liturgies are now available on web (

Eileen Scully reported for the Anglican Church of Canada. The General Synod recently approved a motion calling on the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee to develop principles and an agenda for the production of new liturgical texts (The Canadian church has no liturgical commission as such, but the subject is housed within a larger omnibus committee.) Under the terms of the declaration of full communion between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, each church is free to use each other’s liturgical texts. French translation of BAS texts is almost completed. Translation into many aboriginal languages offers a greater challenge but the FWM committee is seeking funding to support local initiatives in this work. The BAS proper prayers are being revised to better harmonize with the Revised Common Lectionary. Catechumenal rites are being developed.

C. Request

David Holeton told the Consultation that he was currently writing an article on Confirmation but has found it difficult to acquire information on what is actually happening in the Provinces. He asked for the assistance of members.

D. Elections

The Consultation agreed on a show of hands to advise the nominating committee that persons who have in the past served on the steering committee may be elected again. The meeting noted that this action does not set a precedent and that the new steering committee may be asked to consider the development of a resolution to amend the Consultation’s Guidelines for the clearer regulation of future elections.

The Consultation elected a nominating committee who returned with a ballot of 14 candidates. The Consultation proceeded to vote. Colin Buchanan, the returning officer, reported that Ezekiel Kondo, Eileen Scully, and Juan Quevedo-Bosch had been elected. The meeting then decided that Eileen Scully would serve the longer term, in accordance with the Guidelines of the IALC.

E. Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations (IASCER)

Bill Crockett, IALC Consultant on IASCER, reported that IASCER had met twice since the IALC Consultation in Prague, and had reviewed all international ecumenical dialogues involving Anglicans as well as provincial and regional initiatives. IASCER expects to have two more meetings to bring its mandate to completion, after which a new commission will be formed. Two significant documents, an agreed statement by the Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission and an agreed statement of the International Anglican-Orthodox Dialogue, have been published.

The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council had referred the IALC report ‘Eucharistic Food and Drink,’ to IASCER, who received it with gratitude and acknowledged the substantial research that had gone into the report. IASCER endorsed the first recommendation of the IALC report, ‘that the normative principle and practice of the Anglican Communion has always been and continues to be the use of the elements of bread and wine at the Eucharist,’ and affirmed that this is consistent with our ecumenical agreements. IASCER reminded all provinces of the third article of the Lambeth Quadrilateral. IASCER viewed with concern evidence indicating that elements other than bread and wine are used in some provinces and drew attention to its earlier resolution on the subject, noting that recommendations 2 and 3 of the IALC report are best understood as descriptive rather than prescriptive. IASCER also noted that some churches with whom Anglicans have ecumenical agreements experience similar anomalies but also affirm the normative use of bread and wine. In February 2007 the Joint Standing Committee resolved to affirm the 2006 resolution of IASCER on food and drink and endorsed the normative use of the elements of bread and wine in the eucharist. Bill Crockett reported that the Secretary General of the ACC and his deputy have informed him that the IALC report is no longer embargoed, and that the IALC report and the IASCER and JSC resolutions should be considered to be in the public domain as one entity and not as separate items. The ACC office has no plans to further circulate the report so the IALC is presumably now free to take its own action with respect to it. The following motion was proposed:

That the Prague report on eucharistic food and drink and accompanying resolutions be circulated to IALC participants at Berkeley, Cuddesdon, Prague, and Palermo, and that this IALC request the Secretary-General of the Anglican Consultative Council to distribute it to all provinces and post it on the Anglican Communion Website.

The motion was carried.

F. Business

  1. Position of Coordinator for Liturgy

    Paul Bradshaw informed the Consultation that he had discussed the eventual retirement of Paul Gibson from his position as Coordinator for Liturgy with the Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council and informed the Consultation that the Secretary General will appoint a liaison with appropriate budget in consultation with the chair and Steering Committee of the IALC. The Consultation agreed to express its gratitude to the Secretary General for the support implied in his communication and looks forward to the Steering Committee’s discussion with him at the appropriate time. The Consultation agreed to forward the issue to the new Steering Committee for further action.

    Ruth Meyers reminded the Consultation that she and Paul Gibson had been asked to prepare the Cuddesdon papers for publication but that it has been difficult to find a publisher. However, the Episcopal Church’s Church Publishing has offered to publish the papers electronically, and electronically only, and probably at a reasonable price.

  2. Finances

    Paul Bradshaw reported that a final statement could not be made of the Consultation’s financial position at the present time, but it appears that this current Consultation will be able to meet its financial obligations. The bursary fund is, at the present time, seriously depleted. An exact accounting will be sent to members as soon as possible. Paul Bradshaw reported that the bursary fund is supported by the donations of a small number of members of the IALC, to whom he expressed his appreciation.

  3. Meetings

    The next meeting of the Consultation will be from 3 August to 8 August 2009, but these dates cannot be confirmed until Societas Liturgica has made its final decision on arrangements for its own meeting in that year. George Connor commented on possible arrangements for the IALC if Societas meets as expected in New Zealand. The plan is to meet in Auckland immediately before the meeting of Societas Liturgica.

G. Report and Statement

The meeting broke into groups to discuss themes and questions rising from the Consultation’s deliberations, and to prepare draft statements which were discussed in plenary. Paul Bradshaw informed the Consultation that an editorial committee, composed of Ruth Meyers, Louis Weil, Trevor Lloyd and Cynthia Botha, had been appointed to shape preliminary work supplied by the discussion groups. At a later time in the meeting the drafting group presented a proposed text. The Consultation reviewed the text and suggested amendments.

H. Ecumenical Partner1.

Maxwell Johnson reflected on the Consultation as Ecumenical Partner. He made a strong affirmation of what he had experienced in the previous week. He was impressed by the seriousness of the papers and also by the work of the various groups. He also affirmed the respect that members of the groups paid to one another. He said he had felt very much at home. He said he was also struck by the commonalities between Anglicans and Lutherans.

Maxwell Johnson asked what was the early Christian funeral? What is our first clue? It usually consisted of preparation of the body followed by a procession with hymns and songs. Judaism and Christianity have been in the “bone business” ever since Joseph’s bones were taken from Egypt to the promised land. There are many parallels now with what happened in the early centuries. The description of the death of Polycarp tells how he was burned alive and that then the congregation gathered his bones so that they could be with them when they celebrated his death each year.

Maxwell Johnson told a story about a man named Willie who lived in a parish in western North Dakota. He was the town drunk but also a member of the Norwegian Lutheran church. Willie died and was to be buried from the local Lutheran church. However, Willie’s mother had become a conservative fundamentalist. When the Lutheran pastor visited her all she would say was, “Willie’s gone to hell.” The pastor of Willie’s mother’s church took part in the funeral and preached a sermon about Willie going to hell, suggesting that the current congregation would go there too if they didn’t shape up. When the Lutheran pastor preached he gave a powerful sermon on justification by grace alone. Later one of the locals told the pastor that when he preached that sermon the shingles tingled.

If this had been a Lutheran event it would not have started with anthropology but with theology. Then it would have moved to liturgical theology. Lutherans would have started at the other end from Anglicans but would probably have got to the same conclusion in the end.

Maxwell Johnson said that participants in the Consultation were too nice to each other. He read excerpts from the TEC Prayer Book which illustrated prayer for the dead. He asked whether this is kosher Anglicanism or not? If there is disagreement, why didn’t people disagree.

What are you trying to inculturate, he asked. He noted that there is no longer a Book of Common Prayer that unites the Anglican Communion. But there is, he said, a pattern. What we are inculturating is a pattern and not a rite. Rites are taken from this process.

Maxwell Johnson asked about celebrating the eucharist at a funeral when only a small number of those present are practising Christians. What does this mean? There is a long, long Eastern Orthodox tradition of not celebrating the eucharist at funerals and weddings.

How biblically literate do we expect those who attend funerals to be? There is a wider range of biblical readings than there used to be but will they be comprehensible to many people who do not are not familiar with their imagery?

Maxwell Johnson asked, ‘Why are you [Anglicans] doing this kind of Consultation alone? There are Lutherans with whom you could be doing it together.’

The Consultation ended with a celebration of the eucharist.

ACC: Paul Gibson, Australia: Albert Mcpherson, Boak Jobbins, Elizabeth Smith, Gillian Varcoe, Ronald Dowling, Canada: Michelle Staples, Bill Crockett, Eileen Scully, Central Africa: Bernard Malango, Czech Republic: David Holeton, England: Colin Buchanan, Anders Bergquist, Simon Jones, David Kennedy, Dana Delap, Phillip Tovey, Trevor Lloyd, Anne Dawtry, Andrew Barr, Stephen Platten, Alec George, Ghana:  John S. Pobee, Ireland: Ricky Rountree, A.J. Rufli, Kenya: Joyce Karuri, Sam Mawiyou, New Zealand: George Connor, Te Kitohi Pikaahu, Japan: Bartholomew Takeuchi, John Masato Yoshida, Philippines: Tomas S. Maddela, Southern Africa: Bruce Jenneker, Cynthia Botha, Merwyn Castle, Keith Griffiths, Scotland: Darren Mcfarland, Ian Paton, James Milne, Andrew Barr, Southern Africa, Ian Darby, Sudan, Ezekiel Kondo, U.S.A.: Juan Oliver, Juan Quevedo-Bosch, Ruth Meyers, Clay Morris, Jean Campbell, Carol Doran, Louis Weil, Lizette Larson-Miller, Robert Brooks, Wales: Raymond Bayley, West Indies: Alfred Reid.

Paul Gibson
October 2007