The Windsor Report 2004

The Primates' Meeting

  1. Finally, in 1978, the Lambeth Conference called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to work with all the primates of the Anglican Communion “to initiate consideration of the way to relate together the international conferences, councils and meetings within the Anglican Communion so that the Anglican Communion may best serve God within the context of one, holy, catholic and apostolic church”[70]. Archbishop Coggan advocated “meetings of the Primates of the Communion reasonably often, for leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation … perhaps as frequently as once in two years”[71]. Recently, this has been increased on occasions to intervals of less than a year. The meetings have not always been leisurely, and they may not always have lived up to Archbishop Coggan's other aspirations. Like the other Instruments of Unity, however, the Primates' Meeting has refused to acknowledge anything more than a consultative and advisory authority. In part, it is the task of the present Commission to consider proposals made at the Lambeth Conferences in 1988 and 1998[72], and reiterated in To Mend the Net[73], for the primates to have an “enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters”.[74]