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Section K: The Windsor Process

The moratoria

145.  The moratoria cover three separate but related issues: ordinations of persons living in a same gender union to the episcopate; the blessing of same-sex unions; cross-border incursions by bishops. There is widespread support for moratoria across the Communion, building on those that are already being honoured. The moratoria can be taken as a sign of the bishops’ affection, trust and goodwill towards the Archbishop of Canterbury and one another. The moratoria will be difficult to uphold, although there is a desire to do so from all quarters. There are questions to be clarified in relation to how long the moratoria are intended to serve. Perhaps the moratoria could be seen as a “season of gracious restraint”. In relation to moratorium 2 (the blessing of same-sex unions) there is a desire to clarify precisely what is proscribed. Many differentiate between authorised public rites, rather than pastoral support. If the Windsor process is to be honoured, all three moratoria must be applied consistently. 

The Pastoral Forum

146. There is clear majority support for a Pastoral Forum along the lines advocated by the Windsor Group, and a desire to see it in place speedily. There is agreement that it should be pastoral and not legal and should be able to respond quickly. It was also clearly stated that this process should always be moving towards reconciliation. There is concern about mandate, membership, appointment process and authority. Some wondered whether the Pastoral Forum should have members from outside the Communion. Many felt strongly that the forum could operate in a Province only with the consent of that Province and in particular with the consent of the Primate or the appropriate body. It is essential that this should be properly funded and resourced if it has any chance of being productive. There was some support for an alternative suggestion: to appoint in any dispute a Pastoral Visitor, working with a professional arbitrator and to create in the Communion a “pool” of such visitors.

Instruments of Communion

147. The four “Instruments of Communion” are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting. There is a need to clarify the role and function of each of these instruments and their relationship one to another.

148. Archbishop of Canterbury.  There is honour and respect for the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Being in communion with the See of Canterbury is one of the essential elements of belonging to the Anglican Communion. There is a need to explore the role of the Archbishop in the Communion and a desire not to burden the office further, creating inappropriate and unbearable expectations.[37] We would welcome more visits by the Archbishop around the Communion in the exercise of his apostolate.  In discussing the role of the Archbishop, great affection and love was expressed for the present Archbishop of Canterbury.

149. The Lambeth Conference. There was a desire that the Lambeth Conference should meet more frequently, for a shorter period of time and a particular suggestion of a ten-day meeting every five years. The reason for this sense of wanting to be together again so soon was the continuation of the indaba process. The Lambeth Conference needs to consider the appointment of a fundraiser to facilitate its future well-being. There was support for the view that one of the roles of the Lambeth Conference is to allow the bishops to exercise a collegial teaching ministry. There was also support for furthering diocesan partnerships, in order to sustain, between conferences, the relationships made at Lambeth.

150. Anglican Consultative Council. There is a lack of knowledge in the Communion about the Council and its members and therefore an uncertainty about its role. Some believe it exercises too much authority; others would like to see it reconstituted and given more. One suggestion was of a two-tier Council with a tier of Primates and another of clergy and laity with the inclusion of younger representation. There was a desire to enhance the presence of clergy and laity in decision making at the Communion level.

151. Primates’ Meeting.  There is much discomfort about the role that the Primates’ Meeting now finds itself exercising. Many fear that it is trying to exercise too much authority. Others believe that the Primates are the only ones who can bear the weight of our current challenges. Perhaps their key role is in supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The primates should not exercise collectively any more authority than they have in their Provinces.


37. See the Hurd Report 2002

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