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Recommendation 7 - Union Among the Churches of the Anglican Communion - Encyclical Letter 1.11-12: Of diversities in worship

Recommendation 7

Union Among the Churches of the Anglican Communion - Encyclical Letter 1.11-12: Of diversities in worship

Your Committee, believing that, next to oneness in "the faith once delivered to the saints," communion in worship is the link which most firmly binds together bodies of Christian men, and remembering that the Book of Common Prayer, retained as it is, with some modifications, by all our Churches, has been one principal bond of union among them, desire to call attention to the fact that such communion in worship may be endangered by excessive diversities of ritual. They believe that the internal unity of the several Churches will help greatly to the union of these one with another. And, while they consider that such large elasticity in the forms of worship is desirable as will give wide scope to all legitimate expressions of devotional feeling, they would appeal, on the other hand, to the apostolic precept that "all things be done unto edifying," and to the Catholic principle that order and obedience, even at the sacrifice of personal preferences and tastes, lie at the foundation of Christian unity, and are even essential to the successful maintainance of the faith.

They cannot leave this subject without expressing an earnest hope that churchmen of all view, however varying, will recognise the duty of submitting themselves, for conscience' sake, in matters ritual and ceremonial, to the authoritative judgements of that particular or national Church in which, by God's providence, they may be placed; and that they will abstain from all that tends to estrangement or irritation, and will rather daily and fervently pray that the Holy Spirit may guide every member of the Church to "think and do always such things as be rightful," and that he may unite us all in that brotherly charity which is "the very bond of peace and of all virtues."

[NOTE: The Lambeth Conference of 1878 did not adopt any formal Resolutions as such. The mind of the Conference was recorded by incorporating the Reports of its five Committees, received by the plenary Conference with almost complete unanimity, into an Encyclical Letter which was duly published. Recommendations embodied in the Committee Reports were evidently accorded equivalent status to formal Resolutions, and they are reproduced here as they appeared in the course of the Encyclical Letter, under appropriate reference.]