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Resolution 56 - The Unity of the Church - Further Approaches to Reunion

Resolution 56

The Unity of the Church - Further Approaches to Reunion

The Conference calls upon all the Churches of the Anglican Communion to seek earnestly by prayer and by conference the fulfilment of the vision `of a Church, genuinely Catholic, loyal to all truth, and gathering into its fellowship "all who profess and call themselves Christians," within whose visible unity all the treasures of faith and order, bequeathed as a heritage by the past to the present, shall be possessed in common and made serviceable to the whole Body of Christ.' It recognises that `within this unity Christian Communions now separated from one another would retain much that has long been distinctive in their methods of worship and service.' In the hope of setting forward the fulfilment of this vision, the Conference recalls the principles set forth in the "Appeal to All Christian People" and the relevant Resolutions of the Lambeth Conference of 1920 on the reunion of Christendom, and records certain counsels and considerations which it believes should guide the Churches of our Communion in future approaches to reunion:

  1. The theological issues, especially those concerning the Church and the ministry, should be faced at the outset, and to this end the negotiating Churches should obtain the help of theologians in framing schemes for reunion or intercommunion.
  2. The unification of the ministry in a form satisfactory to all the bodies concerned, either at the inauguration of the union or as soon as possible thereafter, is likely to be a prerequisite to success in all future proposals for the reunion of the Churches.
  3. The integral connection between the Church and the ministry should be safeguarded in all proposals for the achievement of intercommunion through the creation of a mutually recognised ministry.
  4. The goal in any step towards a united Church within a given area should always be a Church with which the Anglican Churches could eventually be in full communion.
  5. Because the Anglican Communion is itself a treasured unity with a special vocation, a part of our Communion contemplating a step which would involve its withdrawral from the Anglican family of Churches should consult the Lambeth Conference or the provinces and member Churches of this family of Churches before final commitment to such a course.