Notes on a conversation among Anglican liturgists
at Kottayam, India, 13-18 August 1999
Ronald Dowling opened the meeting with prayer, welcoming participants and especially representatives of local churches. He read letters from the Archbishop of Canterbury, from a members of the Lambeth Palace staff, and from John Peterson, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council. Participants in the meeting introduced themselves. Ronald Dowling welcomed John Baldovin SJ as ecumenical partner
Ronald Dowling expressed regret for the circumstances which prevented the attendance of some who had intended to be present, including Solomon Amusan, Ellison Pogo, Richard Leggett, Anthony Aarons, Francis Wickremesinghe, Robert Okine, Enrique Illarze, Orlando Santos de Oliveira, Alfred Kariboni, Tessa MacKenzie, and Azad Marshall. The meeting agreed to send good wishes to these absent colleagues.
Ronald Dowling reminded members that he had originally advised them to obtain tourist visas. Later he was told that they should apply for conference visas and notified them accordingly. Later still he was advised to return to the original suggestion that applications should be made for tourist visas. Unfortunately, a number of those who had applied for conference visas in the interval were subsequently refused. The reason for the shifts in advice was a change in government and in government policy. On 12 August, on the day before the Consultation was to begin, Ronald Dowling was summoned to the police station where a letter was eventually given to him indicating that foreigners were forbidden to attend an International Anglican Liturgical Consultation at St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute.
The steering committee of the IALC met with representatives of local churches and decided to cancel the intended Consultation, withdraw from the use of the premises of the St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute (SEERI) and convoke a meeting of Anglicans who were members of Societas Liturgica or who are eligible to be members of Societas Liturgica on the premises of the Green Park Hotel. Participants in this meeting were asked to do nothing in India or elsewhere that would embarrass or compromise members of Indian churches with whom they have been associated.
Ronald Dowling then stepped down as chair of the meeting and stated that he would not resume the chair unless permission to hold a Consultation were granted by the Central Government.
Colin Buchanan informed the meeting that the present gathering was not a consultation of the IALC because of the action of the Government of India, and that the steering committee had already begun to consider a proposal to downgrade the current assembly from consultation status because of the large number of intending participants who were unable to obtain visas. He informed the meeting that if a decision were made to move in any other direction, the steering group would find it necessary to distance themselves from further engagement in the gathering.
Colin Buchanan reviewed elements of the program with the meeting and invited participants to submit topics for discussion at an appropriate time. He noted that since the Dublin Consultation three members of the IALC had died, Brian Davis, Michael Vasey, and Boone Porter.
David Holeton paid tribute to Brian Davis, who was working on promotion of the communion of children at the time he first met him. Brian Davis was subsequently invited to participate in the Boston Consultation on this subject, drawing on his pastoral experience in this field. On the retirement of Bishop Colin James, Brian Davis became liaison with the Primate’ Meeting. He retired early after the diagnosis of cancer, and died not long after. He is warmly remembered by his IALC colleagues.
Colin Buchanan paid tribute to Michael Vasey, a man of great creativity. He was a founding member of the IALC, a fine and much-loved pastor as well as a liturgist, a man of great caring. His mother was a Jew, and much of his childhood was spent in Africa. He died suddenly in June of 1998.
Louis Weil paid tribute to Boone Porter. He said the American church lost one of its notable leaders when Boone Porter died in June of this year, just before a conference on a subject dear to him—diverse ministries within a baptismal covenant. He earned his D.Phil. at Oxford, taught at Nashotah House and the General Theological Seminary, and then changed direction and became director of a centre where he promoted new forms of ministry among minorities and native communities. He then became editor of the Living Church. He was actively involved in the development of the 1978 BCP, especially the rites of ordination. His insight and humour will be greatly missed.
Philip Tovey provided a brief introduction to Christianity in Kerala which is firmly held to have been initiated by St. Thomas. He illustrated his remarks with an historical chart. He said that the indigenous church had been bolstered by migrations from the middle east in the course of history. Until the arrival of the Portuguese the church had been directed by an archdeacon, while bishops came from the middle east to perform certain episcopal functions. The Portuguese annexed the indigenous church and placed it under the Bishop of Goa. The subsequent Latinization of the church involved the widespread destruction of local liturgical texts but this resulted in a revolt and ultimately in divisions. One group continued in the eastern tradition but under Rome. A second catholic group adopted the West Syrian rite, and three other orthodox West Syrian groups gradually emerged, as well as the "Reformed" Mar Thoma Church. The East Syrian rite may be found in the Nestorian church, which dates in its present form in Kerala from the end of the third quarter of the 19th century. The Church of South India represents an ecumenical convergence and Latin Christians resemble the Latin church elsewhere in the world.
George Matthew of the Mar Thoma Church welcomed participants in the meeting to Kerala, which he said is the land of coconuts and bishops. He described the history of the Mar Thoma Church, as well as its liturgical and sacramental practice. The church has ten dioceses and 600 priests.
Colin Buchanan welcomed Bishop Mar Philoxenos of the Mar Thoma Church.
Ronald Dowling reviewed the work of the IALC and its expansion through a number of events which issued in a variety of papers and statements. At one point in this process there was a decision to make a distinction between "consultations," for which funding for under-funded Provinces is sought, and "conferences" which serve as an opportunity to prepare for a later consultation. Recent consultations and conferences have focused on initiation, eucharist, and ordination. After the preparatory conference on ordination in Finland in 1997, the steering committee attempted to distinguish among topics related to ordination on which the conference had achieved consensus, and topics on which further work was needed, and topics which had not yet been addressed in depth. Papers were sought or produced on these latter subjects, notably on episcopacy and authority, on the terms "priest" and "presbyter", on the role of bishops with non-diocesan constituencies, and on indelibility.
Various housekeeping announcements were made.
2 History of the Task
David Holeton addressed the meeting on the state of the question of ordination in the Anglican Communion today. He said it would be an easier task on the subjects of initiation and eucharist, but on the subject of ministry we have to wait and see. He suggested a number of directions in which we might go. He said he spoke as a liturgiologist who sought an understanding of the tradition and the way things got to be the way they are and the implications of that for today.
David Holeton disucssed what he described as a couple of things we take as "givens" but on which we do not follow through. We affirm a baptismal ecclesiology as the proper context for understanding the nature of Christian ministry, but do we take the implications of that seriously? For instance, that there is no such thing as a baptized person without a ministry? We write as if we were dealing only with relatively literate adults. We don’t behave as if ministry belonged to the whole baptismal priesthood. We lack clarity in distinguishing between the diakonia to which all the baptized belong and the diaconate whom we ask to bear the burden of diakonia. Another area is the way we deal with hierarchy. We run the gamut from the special pleadings of hierarchy on one hand, to those who seem to regard hierarchy as some kind of disease on the other. For better or worse we transmit the message that the minister is the one who is ordained. We do this in liturgical texts and in our regular eucharistic assemblies. We may talk about the ministry of all the baptized, but when we have ceremonies like the ordination anointings we imply a status which had already been given in baptism. Perhaps in a much more insidious fashion we reinforce the idea that it is the ordained who are the ministers of the church by the arrangement of our liturgical space. The building shouts, "This is clergy space. Stay out!". This negates the principle that it is the whole people of God who are the ministers of the eucharist.
We have to recognize the charismatic ministry which appears within the church. What we do think we are doing when we ordain? The old rite for the ordination of a deacon refers to the "making" of deacons. Are we recognising charisms people already have or are we conferring an order they do not have? Another question of baptismal ecclesiology relates to the complementary nature of ministry within the church. When the various grades or ministries cease to correspond to needs within the life of the community the various functions cease to be complementary and become a hierarchy. This process takes on dimensions of its own. Once ministries come to be seen hierarchically, those at the top must have all the charisms whether or not they are seen to have them, and we have to guarantee it by passing them through all the grades.
A second consequence is that when ministries cease to be complementary and become hierarchical, the higher ranks begin to usurp the ministries of the lower ranks (e.g., the lector used the read the gospel but it was usurped by the deacon because he and the gospel were more important). One mode of the cursus has been training, but we have to ask, "training for what?" Is the final end of the process the episcopate? Or is it training for a particular state of life or caste which is set apart from the people of God as a whole? The cursus prepares people for the higher ministries and time is needed for preparation, but when the cursus is preparation for a state of life it draws people away from the community. The diaconate has been referred to in Roman Catholic circles as a lay ministry because it is outside the requirements of celibacy for an ordained state of life.
We have to be able to say to someone that they have the gifts for a ministry and therefore should be ordained. At the same time we must encourage someone who does not feel they have those gifts adequately. If the answer is training we must ask if we should still do it in the usual way which assumes that people are entering a cursus. Do we want to say that ministry involves a state of life which is radically different from that to which we are called in baptism? At the very least we need to make a clear acknowledgement that direct ordination is a legitimate and sometimes more honest option in the church. Answers to these questions might deal with the knotty problem of clerical dress and the appearance of bishops and presbyters as deacons in the liturgy. The question of indelibility might begin to fall into place if we take the question of baptismal ministry more seriously. Baptism is in some sense indelible if it means that we enter into a covenant relationship with God who is always faithful even when we are not. However, viewed historically, some of the things we say about order as indelible may be related to the transfer of baptismal values to ordination rites.
There is the question of the explicative rites within the ordination rites. First, it is important to remind ourselves that historically these are relatively late. The giving of implements was for people on whom there was no imposition of hands, e.g., lectors who were given the wherewithal to read to show what their task would be. Only in the 9th and 10th centuries in the west are implements first given to those who receive the imposition of hands. These ceremonies derived from a time when the church’s own self-understanding was highly clerical. They take place in the context of a church whose public liturgical symbols are, on the whole, eucharistic. We have to ask if giving an empty chalice and paten is the best way to explicate presbyteral ministry, or would it be better for the laity to present and hand over the gifts as a symbol of the function the presbyter is to perform? Is giving the Bible to the deacon the best symbol for explicating the role of a restored permanent diaconate? We have to examine these questions in the historical context in which they began. The exercise may be freeing. The most dangerous element in this is that more often than not we as persons in holy order tend to understand these things through an inherited clerical piety rather than through a baptismal ecclesiology.
Some cultural questions. There is the argument that the explicative ceremonies are consciously imitative of the cursus honorum of the Roman civil service in which appropriate symbols were conferred at each stage. Knowing this helps us ask if some of our ceremonies are merely anachronistic or to what extent they reflect some of the negative aspects of our culture. These questions are related to leadership styles. It has been suggested that clergy sometimes model themselves on the way the local bureaucracy behaves towards the local population. Christian hierarchy ought to fly in the face of all secular hierarchy because it is the hierarch who is the servant of all.
Another question is the distinction between priest and presbyter. This is partly a problem of those who speak English and not of those who speak other languages. The word for priest in Czech and Slavonic languages has no etymological relationship to priest or presbyter, but derives from prince, which was first of all applied to senior clergy and then derivatively to simple priests. Words based on presbyteros exist only in adjectival form. When we deal with priest/presbyter we are dealing with one set of images, but what is the message when we address the ecumenical world where our documents may not be read in the language in which they were written but in a context in which the words carry different meaning? A parallel example: we have known the ordained ministry of women for more than two decades and we must ask what we can tell the ecumenical world about what this means to us. A Roman Catholic leader has suggested that Anglicans could help them a lot if we could reflect theologically on what the marriage of priests means.
Our task is to give clear guidance to the Anglican Communion on these matters. We do not help the Communion if we simply pose a series of open-ended questions. We help the Communion by providing recommendations and their implications. We may look forward to living complementarily in an ordered (if not hierarchical) pattern and producing fruits for leadership in time to come.
The meeting engaged in dialogue with David Holeton.
3 Reviewing Some Preparation Papers
The attention of the meeting was drawn to preparation papers circulated earlier. Paul Gibson and David Stancliffe reviewed papers they had submitted.
Paul Gibson said his paper was based on three principles: first, in human experience, what we do defines who we are; second, baptism and the eucharist are not the possession but the source of the church; and third, all theological statements are symbolic and consist in saying, "This is that, but still this," or "This is like that but not the same," and the difference between signifier and signified is as important as their similarity because it warns against exaggerated literalism and treating symbols as idols. The implications of these principles are: good church order is more important than its credentials; as the church is servant of gospel, baptism, and eucharist, so ordained ministers are servants of the church and we need to think of ordination as inserting a person into a dimension in the church’s ordered life rather than inserting an order into a person. The implications of all this for liturgy are: ordination rites are about the ministry of the whole church at a time when leadership gifts are being discerned and affirmed; ordination rites are about the ministry of the local church as well as the whole church and the appropriate time and place for ordinations is the Sunday liturgy where the person will serve; nothing at an ordination should detract from the simple gesture of laying on of hands with prayer; ministry is a symbolic activity (in the highest sense of symbol) because it is the outward and visible sign of God'’ shalom and we need to find a liturgical expression for the principle that whoever would be first must be servant of all.
David Stancliffe told a story. When he had first gone to Salisbury as bishop and his house was in a muddle he decided to abandon it for three months to go about the diocese, meeting the clergy and churchwardens in parishes and praying with them, and try to get a sense of what was going on. At the end of it he tried to construct a theological as well as geographical map of ministry in the diocese. Out of this experience grew a new initiative for vocations. The first thing that was needed was a priest in each local community and a model of vocation was developed. Churchwardens asked, "When are we going to have our priest?", by which they meant when were they going to have a priest in their own village. He replied by asking which of them he should ordain. The question is to decide what the church needs, who has the gifts for it, and how prepare them for it. As candidates emerged a process of formation developed, which provided for training in their localities, and for sending them back to teach in their congregations what they had learned the week before. The candidates are ordained to the diaconate at an early stage, nine months after they begin the course, and it is made clear that they will not be ordained to the priesthood for another three years. It was important for them to function as deacons. He said he could contemplate people being ordained to the episcopate directly from the diaconate, but not to the presbyterate without experience in the diaconate. The issue is practical. In response to a question regarding the distinction between the diaconate and the servanthood of the whole church, he said that all ministries express the ministry of the whole church. A member noted that the Church of England used to teach people that there should be a probationary diaconate before ordination to the priesthood a year later, but this seems to have changed. David Stancliffe said that the best form of training is in the home church and that a much longer period of formation in the diaconate may be appropriate and that some may spend their whole ministry in the diaconate.
4 First Report by Groups
(Notes on the reports of groups reflect moments and stages in an on-going conversation and should not be interpreted as the final positions of individuals or settled statements of the mind of the meeting.)
Trevor Lloyd reported for Group 1 (structure). He said the group had identified three main areas, the impact of the baptismal ecclesiology on the ordination rite, the laying on of hands and all that surrounds it and its relationship to the rites, and the structure of the rite as discussed by the Järvenpää statement.
Ruth Meyers reported for Group 2 (theological issues). The group had subdivided to discuss four subjects, baptismal ecclesiology and the relationship between baptism and ministry, mission and the need to avoid regarding our own distinctive culture as normative, the nature of the local church and the relationship between the parish and the diocese, and the diaconate and the question of the need for that order especially in the light of the discussions of the other groups.
Louis Weil reported for Group 3 (discernment and preparation). He said the group discussed primarily discernment and preparation and then moved to the three orders and the criteria by which the church designates persons for ordination. What gifts are expected? Are they transcultural? The group had so far discussed mostly the episcopate.
Groups had been asked to look at areas of emphasis, areas of disagreement, and areas still to be discussed
On Sunday 15 August, Trevor Lloyd reported again for Group 1 (structure). The group had worked from the Järvenpää statement. Harold Miller reported on work on structural issues. The group wants to draw out the distinctiveness of each order. The group has remained with an essentially eucharistic structure because ordination is an ecclesial event. The group emphasized laying on of hands with prayer and the ecclesial nature of ordination rites. They wanted to emphasize that the sermon should be for the whole congregation and should be an explication of the word that is read. Family emphasis at an ordination should not subvert the ecclesial emphasis. Not everything to be done can be contained within the ordinal. There might be a celebration of the ministry a new deacon or assistant like that of a new incumbent. The role that the newly ordained play within the rite of ordination is not a matter of agreement yet. There is no agreement yet as to where vesting should take place. The details of explicatory rites are still to be discussed, and so are the details of the best structure, and other matters. A member said that new ordination rites should be grounded in a baptismal ecclesiology. Ordinations should take place within the principal eucharistic celebration of the local church. The bishop’s opening greeting might take the form of a dialogue with the congregation. The sermon should be addressed to the whole congregation and the readings should address the particular ministries to which people are being ordained. The gathered community should provide readers, etc. A reaffirmation of the baptismal covenant should be a significant feature of the rite. John Baldovin spoke on the shape of the laying on of hands with prayer. Areas of emphasis are, first, the context of the ordination which should take place at the eucharist after the celebration of the word; second, prayer with the laying on of hands as the centre of the rite, which should involve a litany, an invocation of the Spirit, and the presidential prayer with the laying on of hands. The gift of implements is secondary. They could be given in the post-communion rite in association with the dismissal. Vesting should not be prominent. Personal gifts should be given privately. There was disagreement on the nature of the introduction of the newly-ordained to other members of their order. There are matters still to be discussed. Trevor Lloyd said the group was trying to work towards a set of principles, followed by examples. In discussion, a member asked that attention be given to issues of cultural difference. Other questions were raised.
Clay Morris reported for Group 3 (discernment and preparation). He said the group began its conversation with the intention of producing a list of characteristics to be looked for in candidates for various orders. A candidate for the episcopate should be a theologian, a person of prayer, a person interested in oversight, a teacher, someone who can deal with ambiguity amd complexity, a person of moral integrity, a person whose ministry exhibits an apostolic character, a person who functions as an agent for unity, who has been immersed in the local culture, who is able to delegate, who loves the church and life, a pastor of pastors. A candidate for the presbyterate should be someone who can make the connection between the congregation and the larger community, an indigenous person. The group worked on general principles around the issue of discernment. Discernment of the call to Christian ministry is a lifelong process. It is evolutionary, grounded in a Christian’s individual journey of faith. Candidates for ordained ministry are persons who have experienced life in a eucharistic assembly. They should possess an integrated personality, a capacity to embrace the catholicity of the church. The character of candidates for the diaconate should be consistent with the order to which they are called: they should be able to organize and supervise the diaconal ministry of a community. The group wondered if other groups are addressing direct ordination (the answer was yes). A member said that without disagreeing he would like to reserve some space for eccentrics. Another member asked the group to address the question of the decision to ordain being the responsibility of the bishop and the training team as well. Another asked if the group would address the rites that might be used during the discernment process.
Colin Buchanan reported for Group 2 (theological issues). He said there was some agreement on the baptismal community in relation to orders. As the ordained function in both a congregational and diocesan context, there can be a question of the appropriate place and rite of ordination. The group was concerned to express the servant role of all orders and not only the diaconate. The practice of ministry is deeply affected by the cultural context, but the extent to which the church should be counter-cultural was not explored. Areas of disagreement include the words priest and presbyter, the need for and the role of transitional deacons, and the group is undecided on the use of the word "local" in an Anglican ecclesiology. The group has not yet handled a theology of what happens in ordination, as well as questions of indelibility, validity, and others. Ruth Meyers emphasized the group’s commitment to a baptismal ecclesiology as the foundation of ministry, and to a definition of the church as the people who in a place gather to baptize, celebrate the eucharist, etc. A member said that priesthood is a matter of relationship within the church and not an entity which can be analyzed by itself. A member said that the problem of priest and presbyter is not in those words themselves but in the use of sacerdotal imagery in relation to them.
Questions related to drafting and process were raised.
Still More Reporting
Trevor Lloyd reported for Group 1 (structure). He said the ordination service is an ecclesial event, to be celebrated in the context of the eucharist of the day. Each ordination service should be for one order only. The proposed structure is based on the structure of the eucharist as described in the Dublin documents, consisting of
the gathering of the people, presentation of the candidates (with a set of questions and an initial section of the charge), proclamation of the word,
the ordination, renewal of the baptismal covenants (which some members of the group would like to associate with the gathering rite), the second section of the charge, further questions, silence, litany, invocation of the Holy Spirit, ordination prayer, welcome, eucharistic celebration,
conclusion, consisting of silence, another set of questions and a brief exhortation (the last bit of the charge) referring to the mission of the newly-ordained as well as the people, the giving of gifts (e.g., Bible), and the dismissal.
In response to a question Trevor Lloyd said the group had considered the porrectio of paten and chalice and had not so far specified it; it may be more appropriate as part of a welcome to a new charge.
Ruth Meyers reported for Group 2 (theological issues) and said that the group had been working on the relationship of orders to particular church structures and had discussed a dynamic interplay between parish and diocese rather than a vertical relationship. George Guiver reported on the work of a sub-group. He said the sub-group has done a lot of work on the term priest, which they felt it was important to retain in tandem with presbyter, and had tried to specify the ways in which sacerdotal language could properly be used. The sub-group had produced a long document, part of which he read. He said the group had drawn very much on members’ experience of India. We often have difficulty with the word priest because it is associated with pagan and pre-Christian models of priesthood, but the model of priesthood is the people and the priesthood of Christ. If we drop the term priest the people’s consciousness of the priesthood of all the baptized would be diminished. The sub-group also looked at the diaconate, noting that all Christians are called to servanthood and that there are limitations to describing the diaconate exclusively in those terms. The role of the deacon is to enable the servanthood of the people, and liturgically to function as a sort of master of ceremonies whose service enables the rite. Symbolism associated with the diaconate will not in itself support the order, it is a matter of what is actually done. In some places the presence of a diaconate involved in community service and liturgy may be desirable, and in others it may not. Another issue was validity. Concern about validity has been called a western obsession, but there are broader issues. Whatever we pray for God has promised to grant and we get what we ask for. Rather than trying to define what is the minimum required to satisfy God we need to aspire to what is best. Validity has been used ecumenically to judge the orders of others, while the orders of each church should be judged in their own context. Indelibility should be examined on the same principle. Some churches might want to ordain people for a term. The Anglican tradition does not accept that, holding that acceptance of an order changes the person who receives it. However, if another church decided to ordain people temporarily we are sure God will grant it, on the principle that you get what you ask for! A member said that in a baptismal ecclesiology direct ordination is a possibility. In response to a question George Guiver said that in normal parlance when priest is used it has sacerdotal connotations and the word presbyter is unknown. It is important to say that priesthood is not a possession and we can only talk about the priesthood of the baptized in which there is a priestly ministry. Sacerdotal language has to be used within this context.
Louis Weil reported for Group 3 (discernment and preparation). He said the group had started by naming a set of principles which are now being developed in small groups. The group had discussed important issues in relation to culture, and especially the extent to which the dominant culture has impressed itself on other cultures within the Communion. It is important to develop models of discernment and training which are contextual within their own culture. Training should be broadening in the ways that experience in a culture other than one’s own can provide. At the same time, it is important for candidates to be sensitive to their own culture as well as other cultures. A member asked if it is important for education and formation whether a vocation was perceived through an external call, or primarily through an internal call. Louis Weil said this would be placed on the agenda of the group, along with the issue of continuing education.
5 Status of the Meeting
Ronald Dowling suggested to the meeting that the steering committee was on the horns of a dilemma because of problems surrounding the legal status of the meeting. On one hand, the Indian Government does not decide who we are. On the other hand, we still have an order from the Indian Government that foreigners may not attend the IALC. In addition, the visa problem has prevented full representation at this Consultation. The steering committee recommended that the meeting declare this assembly to not be an IALC, would mean that finalizing of the document on ordination could be delayed for two more years and that the steering committee (according to the Guidelines) would remain in office. The other option was to consider the meeting to be a Consultation as planned, in which case an election process could be initiated almost immediately. Both options had advantages and disadvantages. He suggested an open discussion before any attempt was made to reach a decision.
It was proposed by two members (Fabian/Maitland) that the steering committee’s recommendation that this meeting not be deemed to be a full Consultation be adopted and that a full Consultation be held in 2001.
During discussion, Archbishop David Gitari invited the Consultation to meet in Nairobi in 2003. Members expressed concern that the identity of any statement eventually issued with the Kottayam meeting not be lost. Some members suggested that appropriate forms of protest against the action of the Government of India should be made.
Those present indicated unanimous (or near) support for the proposal by a show of hands.
6 Common Date of Easter
Ronald Dowling noted that there is a suggestion that a calculation of the date of Easter based on Nicene rules but calculated on Jerusalem instead of Alexandria would produce a common date of Easter in all but two years in the next century, and that this be supported by churches. The meeting indicated approval of the proposal. Ronald Dowling suggested that members return to their home churches with recommendations that it be supported.
7 Business Items
7.1 Ecumenical Observers and Partners
Barbara Liotscos told the meeting that her counterpart in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada had planned on attending the congress of Societas Liturgica following this meeting and that the Anglican Church of Canada had wanted him to attend this meeting as an observer because of a new and increasing relationship between the two churches. The steering committee had ruled against this. In discussion it became apparent that many members of the meeting approved the invitation of ecumenical observers from churches with whom there are formal agreements.
7.2 Daily Office and Lectionaries
David Stancliffe reported that the Church of England has been working on various matters concerning the office. A Sunday office is being planned and designs of the office will follow the model of Celebrating Common Prayer. The Liturgical Commission would like to tie days of the week with seasons of the year in a pattern established in Celebrating Common Prayer. The Psalter will be read more in course in the "green" season. He described the various models of daily reading being planned by the Church of England.
Brian Mayne reported that the Church of Ireland has designed a new office with readings and psalms based on the ECUSA and BAS models.
Paul Gibson reported on movement towards a one-reading a day lectionary offering lections which provide opportunity for reflection on themes in the previous Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary readings.
The meeting discussed daily eucharistic lectionaries and noted that where they exist such lectionaries are based in one way or another on the Roman scheme, often through a Canadian modification of it.
Members expressed a desire to put the daily office on the agenda of a future conference or Consultation.
7.3 Lambeth Conference
Colin Buchanan reported on the work of Section 3 at the Lambeth Conference. A statement on worship was prepared which received a negative critique from another section. A resolution commending the IALCs also received negative treatment and was moved to the debatable section of the agenda. However, it was eventually adopted without opposition.
7.4 Next Meeting
Societas Liturgica will meet 13-18 August 2001 in Santa Clara, California. The steering committee expects IALC to meet from on Monday 6 August until Saturday 11 August 2001.
The meeting discussed topics to propose to the steering committee for further work. The office had already been suggested. A member suggested funerals and funeral practice. (It was noted that Societas Liturgica will probably concentrate on life-cycle rites.) A member suggested that it is important to get the proposals and opinions of people from "southern" Provinces who are unfortunately under-represented at this meeting. There has been a request for work to be done on the elements of the eucharist and the steering committee will put this subject on the agenda for the next meeting.
Ronald Dowling noted that there is no guarantee that money spent on airline tickets which were not used by members who were unable to attend this meeting will be refunded. It is therefore important that members solicit funds from Provinces, dioceses, parishes, trust funds, and other sources.
8 Towards a Document on Ordination
The leaders of the three groups (Trevor Lloyd, Ruth Meyers, and Louis Weil) made a proposal to the meeting. They suggested that there should be a short plenary to consider draft proposals for a document, but the meeting should not attempt to work through the statements on a line-by-line basis. The group leaders will inform the meeting of major criticisms which have been made. The meeting will then go into groups to work on the material which has been produced, especially in the light of criticisms. The work done in the morning will be reviewed in plenary in the afternoon. At the end of that process the group leaders will act of an editorial group, receiving comments in writing as members wish to submit them, with a view to producing a document over the course of the next 18 months to two years so that a statement can be received, and hopefully approved, at the California Consultation. The meeting discussed the proposal. In response to concerns about the geographic origins of the group leaders, Ron Dowling pointed out that the group would be accountable to the steering committee which is more representative.
Trevor Lloyd presented comments which had been made on the work of Group 1. It was suggested that the material does not contain enough argument and reasoning for its statements. Some statements should be couched in less prescriptive language and cultural variety should be reflected.
Ruth Meyers presented comments which had been made on the work of Group 2. She said that critics have suggested that the draft material needs to be much clearer about theological principles and how they apply to the liturgy of ordination. There is not enough connection between theology and liturgy. It must be clear that this is the work of a group of liturgists and that liturgy is the focus of any statement that will be made.
Louis Weil presented comments which had been made on the work of Group 3. He said that critics suggest that the group has painted with too broad a brush and that there needs to be much more attention given to formation for liturgical leadership. It is a scandal that preparation for such leadership is scanty or lacking in a church which claims to be deeply liturgical. Second, there are questions about the impact of the qualities that the group has identified with regard to the ordination rite itself. Third, the group has been asked if it would support the practice of "staging" rites, as rites are staged during the process of catechumenate.
A member of the meeting said that there were further criticisms and that he disagreed profoundly, for instance, with the theological work of Group 2. He said it appears as two totally separate pieces of material which gives the impression that the whole group is not familiar with its work. He objected to suggestions that the word priest could be invested with sacerdotal content. Another member objected to theological minimalism and suggested that sometimes, and in some cultures, a proliferation of symbols is helpful in communicating and fostering a relationship with the divine. Another member referred to the logical ordering of the material. He said that it is important that the material should relate to the liturgical rites which will be developed in the Communion. He also suggested that Group 2 has been rehearsing material on which substantial statements had already been made in the Communion and that to produce a document that appeared to be unaware of them would bring the Consultation under criticism. The editorial process will have to demonstrate the logical coherence of all the material. John Baldovin, ecumenical partner, suggested that training for liturgy is not the focus of this meeting’s task. Another member, supporting this point of view, suggested that there are one or two models of vocation around and we may ask what are the liturgical implications for those who are called in different ways.
In the final session of the meeting the documents of the three groups were presented by the group leaders.
Ruth Meyers led the meeting through the document produced by Group 2, which was concerned with theological issues related to ordination. She stressed that it was a sketch and a collection of notes and that the meeting was still in the process of refining a document (which will be the work of an editorial committee). It was presented first because it would probably be first in a final document. The document starts with baptism, baptismal theology, and a baptismal ecclesiology, affirms that ordination liturgies are celebrations by the baptized and not by clergy exclusively, and moves on to a treatment of issues relating to the three orders. A member asked if ordination rites should recognize, for instance, different kinds of deacons (vocational and transitional). He suggested that whenever a distinction is made in a rite, one element is always treated as superior to the other. Another member welcomed a theology of ministry related to a theology of the Trinity, but warned that Trinitarian theology in western culture is often a reflection of a cultural affection for relationship. Another member questioned the statement (made earlier in the course of debate) that there is no tradition of speaking of the presbyterate or diaconate or episcopate of the baptized he suggested that the baptized community does in fact have diaconal and episcopal functions.
Louis Weil presented the document produced by Group 3, which was concerned with discernment in preparation for ordained ministry. He said the document was substantially the same as the one presented earlier with some additional responses. The group has clarified, restructured, and reduced the document, and eliminated some extraneous material. A member noted that the document refers to "the Anglican theological method" and asked what it was. He said there was a North American "feel" to much of the document. A member asked what the document had to do with ordination liturgy. A member suggested that the lists of qualities expected in those who are ordained could be re-written as questions and answers for liturgical use. A member asked if stages in the process of training should be ritually marked (there was a reply that imitation of the stages in the catechumenate should be avoided).
Trevor Lloyd presented the document produced by Group 1, which was concerned with the structure of the ordination rite, drawing attention first to the section on General Principles and then to other amendments. A member suggested that in places where the deacon normally leads the intercessions, it would be strange to insist on the intercessions being led by lay people (as suggsted in the document). Another member suggested that the document is too detailed and thereby prevents inculturation. Are we talking about a structure or a ceremonial? Another member said he was concerned that a large congregation might make the eucharist inappropriate. A member said the suggested structure is too prescriptive.
Members were urged to send further comments to the editorial group in writing.
Ruth Meyers proposed
that the group leaders and John Kato take into account the comments made at this meeting, that by mid-October 1999 Ronald Dowling have revised documents sent to members of the meeting who may then make comments to the editorial committee by the end of February 2000, that a revised draft take into account comments made by members of the meeting and incorporate material as appropriate from other IALC conferences and consultations, checking the accuracy of historical data, and drawing on other official documents (e.g., BEM, etc.). and that the editorial committee be expected to submit a new draft to the steering committee for its meeting in May of 2000 when the steering committee will decide how the document is to be circulated so that a draft will be available for the next consultation in the year 2001 where it will be refined as needed and hopefully adopted.
Ronald Dowling then proposed
that the group leaders, together with an additional non-North Atlantic person to be identified by the steering committee, constitute an editorial committee.
The meeting indicated support of both these proposals. Themba Vundla later acceped the nomination of the steering committee to the editorial committee.
Ronald Dowling asked the meeting if any Provinces had adopted the Revised Common Lectionary since the last meeting. The Church of England and the Church of Ireland reported affirmatively.
10 ELLC Texts
David Stancliffe reported that the Church of England has retained "and was made man" in the Nicene Creed, and that the wording of the creed in reference to the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary is still unsettled. In the Lord’s Prayer the Church of England has so far kept "and lead us not into temptation." Charles Sherlock reported that in Australia the church has adopted the ELLC text of the Lord’s Prayer without difficulty. He proposed
noting the desirability of a common modern language text of the Lord’s Prayer for English-speaking Christians; and that most Protestant churches and almost all Anglican Provinces have adopted the ELLC text for this purpose; and that the matter is before the authorities in the Roman Catholic Church; we request the Steering Committee of the IALC to communicate with each Primate asking them to encourage the adoption of the ELLC text as a common modern-language version for use across the Communion, hopefully in time to celebrate the new millenium.
The meeting indicated support of this proposal and referred it to the steering committee.
11 Reflections of the Ecumenical Partner
John Baldovin SJ said he would make some general comments on what he had heard and then some more specific comments on the matter in hand, and finally a report on the work of ICEL over the last two years.
First, as a progressive Roman Catholic he was struck by the basic health of Anglicanism and of the IALC on the question of ministry and ordination rites because Anglicans do not have to deal with a lot of questions which Roman Catholics have to deal with. On the other hand, he said that every now and again his personal reaction to some of what he hears confirms him in his Roman Catholicness and in Roman Catholic liturgy. The most difficult task that Anglicans face is fidelity to their own tradition, combined with a critical sensitivity to their own cultures and those of others and their commitment to a contemporary affirmation of God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ. We have to keep our tradition, our culture, and the ecumenical consensus in balance.
We all at times long to go back to Egypt where things were comfortable, but there is no need for us to be slaves to the 16th century. Anscar Chapungco has suggested that the reform of the Roman rite that took place after Vatican II was only a reform of texts, that streamlined the rites so that they might be inculturated. The Vatican II texts are a script for individual churches to take and mold in their own cultural genius. In some ways the work of IALC is like that: it provides the same kind of skeleton which cannot pretend to fill in the next step.
He said he saw members of the Consultation talking past each other because of theological presuppositions. This could be avoided by starting with semi-formal drafts which could then be revised. ICEL only deals with texts after a great deal of work has been done by a sub-committee and almost-ready texts have been presented. This might be helpful to IALC. However, what is accomplished in the time available is remarkable.
The IALC needs to be very careful about the theological method that grounds its work. It is important to get more clarity on how the group thinks theology and liturgy relate to each other. He said he would be remiss as a Roman Catholic if he did not mention the Secretary for Christian Unity/Congregation for the Defence of the Faith response to the Lima document, which indicated that nothing would really advance without some settling of the issue of authority.
On some very significant details, he said he saw in one document the term ex opere operato used in a negative way. He said it could be used more positively to indicate confidence that when the church is faithful God is indeed offering grace. Another theological issue is the intercession of the saints. There are friendlier ways to interpret the intercession of the saints in terms of our solidarity with those who have gone before. Some people have found that the litany of the saints in the Roman Catholic ordination rite is, with its mantric quality, one of the most important moments.
On the question of the notion of priesthood, it is important theologically that we always begin with the irony of the New Testament. All of those words like king and lord do not refer to human lordship. The same is true of priesthood. Christ is priest in a very metaphorical sense and the word is subversive of other forms of priesthood. He said he thought the best book he had read in recent years was by a man named Allison and is titled, The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin Through Easter Eyes.
John Baldovin said that the Sacramentary which was the result of 14 years work by ICEL has now been completed. The original opening prayers have been disallowed by Rome, but have been privately published. There is resistance to original texts in general. There is a proposal for the stages of the catechumenate to be applied to the baptism of children. The Congregation for Divine Worship now seems to resist the 1969 instruction which favoured dynamic translation. A study text on the Order for Celebrating Marriage has evoked few responses. The next task will be on the Liturgy of the Hours. A second volume of the Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979 covering 1980-1995 will shortly be issued.
John Baldovin said this would be his last meeting with IALC and he expressed gratitude for the friendship, hospitality and acceptance he had received.
Ronald Dowling expresed thanks to IALC’s hosts and to participants in the meeting, whose collaboration had made a committed and energetic encounter possible in spite of contextual difficulties.
5 September 1999