The Windsor Report 2004

The Instruments of Unity

  1. One matter that has struck us forcefully is the way in which the views of the Instruments of Unity have been ignored or sidelined by sections of the Communion. This has led the Commission to revisit the question of authority of the Instruments of Unity and their inter-relationship and we will make recommendations later in this report. The Virginia Report spoke of Anglicanism's core structures as “a complex and still-evolving network” of authority[54]. In many ways, such dispersed authority is a great strength, but in relation to the issues that have recently confronted the Communion, its inherent weakness has been illustrated only too clearly.

  2. Very early on in the life of the emerging Anglican Churches, it became clear that there would need to be mechanisms by which the Churches could take common counsel. These have become the core structures of the Anglican Communion, together known as the Instruments of Unity. When we speak of the 'Instruments of Unity', we are referring (in historical order) to:

    • The Archbishop of Canterbury
    • The Lambeth Conference
    • The Anglican Consultative Council
    • The Primates’ Meeting.