The Windsor Report 2004

Part V: Management of Communion Issues

Article 23: Communion Issues of Common Concern

  1. Communion issues are those essential matters of common concern to the member churches of the Communion, and include the affairs, actual and prospective decisions, of a member church which touch fundamentally the fellowship and mission of the Anglican Communion, the relations of its churches, and the compatibility of such decisions with this Covenant and the unity and good order of the Communion.
  2. The Instruments of Unity shall set out formally their composition, functions, relations one with another, and procedures for matters arising under this Part.
  3. A matter is a communion issue if so designated by the Instruments of Unity, where appropriate in dialogue with any member church involved in the matter, subject to the right of the Archbishop of Canterbury under Article 27.

Article 24: The Instruments of Unity

  1. The Instruments of Unity serve in communion to discern our common mind in communion issues, and foster our interdependence and mutual accountability, but exercise no jurisdiction over autonomous member churches save to the limited extent provided in this Covenant and the laws of member churches.
  2. The Archbishop of Canterbury enjoys a primacy of honour and is a personal sign of our unity and communion, and shall be assisted by a Council of Advice.
  3. The Lambeth Conference, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing episcopal collegiality worldwide, gathers for common counsel, consultation and encouragement and to provide direction to the whole Communion.
  4. The Anglican Consultative Council has such membership and functions as are prescribed by its constitution.
  5. The Primates' Meeting, presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assembles for mutual support and counsel, monitors global developments and exercises collegial responsibility in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters.

Article 25: The Anglican Communion Officer in Each Church

Each church shall:

  1. designate a person to act as its own Anglican Communion Liaison Officer, appointed to defend the bonds of communion expressed in this Covenant, and accountable to its central assembly; and
  2. have a system to identify and process within that church contentious communion issues for submission to that Officer.

Article 26: Process in Contentious Communion Issues

  1. On discernment by the Officer of any contentious communion issue, the Anglican Communion Liaison Officer shall liaise with the Primate and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.
  2. Following such liaison, the Officer or Secretary General may submit the matter to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  3. The Archbishop may issue such guidance as he deems fit or, as appropriate, refer the matter to the Council of Advice for guidance and, if necessary, the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council, or the Lambeth Conference to resolve the issue having regard to the common good of the Communion and compatibility with this covenant.

Article 27: Interpretation and Periodic Review

  1. The Archbishop of Canterbury shall decide all questions of interpretation of this Covenant, consulting the Council of Advice, and seeking the advice of any other body as he deems appropriate.
  2. If approved by the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates’ Meeting and Anglican Consultative Council, the decision of the Archbishop shall be regarded as authoritative in the Communion until altered in like manner.
  3. The Council of Advice shall carry out periodic reviews of the administration of this Covenant for submission to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who shall act upon such reviews as he deems appropriate, so that our churches may more completely embrace the life in communion to which all are called by the Lord Jesus Christ.