The Unity, Faith and Order department at the Anglican Communion Office organises and oversees all Anglican ecclesiological engagement at a global level, both between member churches and with other Christian denominations, and provides advice on doctrine, polity, and liturgy to the Instruments of Communion.
Since its earliest emergence, Anglicans have led, and been shaped by, the movement of Christians and churches toward visible unity with one another. This ecumenical work continues today, in tandem with conversations about Anglican identity and the shape of the Anglican Communion.
The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886 and 1888 marked an early Anglican commitment to what was then called 'Home Reunion.' Following the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh and the advent of the Ecumenical Movement, Episcopal bishop Charles Henry Brent proposed a conference on faith and order, by which Christian churches might reach agreement. This came to fruition at the First World Conference on Faith and Order of 1927 in Lausanne, Switzerland, attended by Protestant, Anglican, Old Catholic, and Orthodox delegates. Meanwhile, the Lambeth Conference of 1920 published its influential 'Appeal to All Christian People' (Resolution 9), which cemented the Anglican commitment to 'the vision and hope of a visible unity of the whole Church.' Every Lambeth Conference since has reiterated the Anglican commitment to full, visible unity, even as Anglicans have helped shape the agenda of the World Council of Churches since its formation in 1948 and poured themselves into bilateral dialogues with other churches since the 1960s.
The Anglican Communion Covenant of 2009 reported an 'ecumenical vocation of Anglicanism' (2.1.5), citing a series of agreed texts by the Anglican-Roman Catholic and Anglican-Orthodox dialogues, and the landmark Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (1982), to describe Anglican identity and self-understanding. The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) carries forward this work, in an effort to articulate and develop the conditions and structures by which Anglicans can sustain our life together as a communion of churches.
Archbishop Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Based at the Anglican Communion Office, Dr Christopher Wells oversees the Communion’s ecumenical relations and the work of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO).
Christopher served as executive director and publisher of the Living Church Foundation from 2009 to 2022. He has written widely on Anglican ecclesiology and ecumenism and teaches at parishes and seminaries around the Communion and at the Anglican Centre in Rome. He served for many years as theological consultant to the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the U.S., and on the steering team of the Communion Partners. Christopher completed his doctoral work at the University of Notre Dame and wrote a dissertation on the sacramental Christology of Thomas Aquinas.
Dr Christopher Wells at Lambeth Palace
The Revd Neil Vigers facilitates the communion’s ecumenical and doctrinal work and is based at the Anglican Communion Office. He is Secretary to the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation and has a particular role in the production and publication of reports and other theological resources.
|Christopher Wells||Phone: +44 (0)20 7313 3930
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +44 (0)20 7313 3929
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