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Resolution 42 - The Unity of the Church - Special Areas

Resolution 42

The Unity of the Church - Special Areas

The Conference, maintaining as a general principle that intercommunion should be the goal of, rather than a means to, the restoration of union, and bearing in mind the general rule of the Anglican Churches that "members of the Anglican Churches should receive the Holy Communion only from minsters of their own Church," holds, nevertheless, that the administration of such a rule falls under the discretion of the bishop, who should exercise his dispensing power in accordance with any principles that may be set forth by the national, regional or provincial authority of the Church in the area concerned. The bishops of the Anglican Communion will not question the action of any bishop who may, in his discretion so exercised, sanction an exception to the general rule in special areas, where the ministrations of an Anglican Church are not available for long periods of time or without travelling great distances, or may give permission that baptized communicant members of Churches not in communion with our own should be encouraged to communicate in Anglican churches, when the ministrations of their own Church are not available, or in other special or temporary circumstances.

Explanatory Note: In view of the dangers of misconception, we think it desirable to say that in recognising that a bishop of the Anglican Communion may under very strict regulations and in very special circumstances permit individual communicants to join with members of other Christian bodies in their services of the administration of the Lord's Supper, we felt bound to consider the difficulties created by present conditions, especially in some parts of the mission field. But we would point out that the very special circumstances and the very strict regulations specified in this Resolution of themselves show that we are not departing from the rule of our Church that the minister of the sacrament of Holy Communion should be a priest episcopally ordained.