Resolution 40 - The Unity of the Church - South India
The Unity of the Church - South India
The Conference has heard with the deepest interest of the proposals for Church union in South India now under consideration between the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon, the South India United Church and the Wesleyan Methodist Church of South India, and expresses its high appreciation of the spirit in which the representatives of these Churches have pursued the long and careful negotiations.
The Conference notes with warm sympathy that the project embodied in the Proposed Scheme for Church Union in South India is not the formation of any fresh Church or province of the Anglican Communion under new conditions, but seeks to bring together the distinctive elements of different Christian Communions, on a basis of sound doctrine and episcopal order, in a distinctive province of the Universal Church, in such a way as to give the Indian expression of the spirit, the thought and the life of the Church Universal.
We observe further, as a novel feature in the South Indian scheme, that a complete agreement between the uniting Churches on certain points of doctrine and practice is not expected to be reached before the inauguration of the union; but the promoters of the scheme believe that unity will be reached gradually and more securely by the interaction of the different elements of the united Church upon one another. It is only when the unification resulting from that interaction is complete that a final judgement can be pronounced on the effect of the present proposals. Without attempting, therefore, to pronounce such judgement now, we express to our brethren in India our strong desire that, as soon as the negotiations are successfully completed, the venture should be made and the union inaugurated. We hope that it will lead to the emergence of a part of the Body of Christ which will possess a new combination of the riches that are his. In this hope we ask the Churches of our Communion to stand by our brethren in India, while they make this experiment, with generous goodwill.
The Conference thinks it wise to point out that, after the union in South India has been inaugurated, both ministers and lay people of the united Church, when they are outside the jurisdiction of that Church, will be amenable to the regulations of the province and diocese in which they desire to officiate or to worship, and it must be assumed that those regulations will be applied to individuals in the same manner as they would now be applied to similarly circumstanced individuals, unless any province takes formal action to change its regulations.
The Conference, fully assured in the light of the Resolutions of the General Council of the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon adopted in February 1930 that nothing will be done to break the fellowship of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, confidently leaves in the hands of the bishops of that Church the task of working out in detail the principles which are embodied in the Proposed Scheme.
The Conference gives its general approval to the suggestions contained in the Report of its Committee with regard to the Proposed Scheme for Church Union in South India, and commends the Report to the attention of the Episcopal Synod and General Council of the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon.