Unity Faith and Order - Commissions IASCER

Resolution 01.08: The 2008 Lambeth Conference


  • notes with appreciation the high level of ecumenical participation in the 2008 Lambeth Conference
  • notes with appreciation the outstanding support given to the ecumenical participation at the Lambeth Conference by Canon Gregory Cameron, Dame Mary Tanner and the other staff
  • commends the document “A Guide for Ecumenical Participants” produced for that Conference
  • commends the inclusion of a corresponding level of ecumenical participation within future Lambeth Conferences
  • commends for the attention of the Communion the contribution of ecumenical participants and the messages of greeting from other Churches:

Resolution 02.08: Reception of Ecumenical Documents


  • regrets the fact that the nature of the programme at the 2008 Lambeth Conference prevented sustained attention being given to significant ecumenical agreed texts, such as “Growing Together in Unity and Mission” (the Report of IARCCUM), “The Church of the Triune God” (the Report of ICAOTD), and “Called to be the One Church” (the Ecclesiological Statement of the Porto Alegre Assembly of the World Council of Churches)
  • encourages ACC-14 to consider how the Anglican Communion might respond officially to these texts as a contribution to their potential reception in the life of the Church
  • commends the text “Reception in the Anglican Communion: Responding responsibly to ecumenical and inter-Anglican developments” prepared by IASCER to assist in their deliberations.

Resolution 03.08: On the Baptismal Formula

IASCER, noting with appreciation the Responses of the Vatican dicastery, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, (1st February 2008) concerning certain questions on the formula of baptism, affirms, in accordance with scripture (Mt. 28.19) and the Catholic tradition as embodied in the Lambeth Quadrilateral, that to be valid, baptism must invariably be administered “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

Resolution 04.08: Ecumenical formation of bishops


  • notes with gratitude that the Theological Education in the Anglican Communion (TEAC) Working Group recommends that candidates for the episcopate be “alert to ecumenical and inter-faith issues” and that bishops “encourage honest and open ecumenical and inter-faith relationships”
  • reminds the Provinces of the Anglican Communion that this requires adequate formation for new bishops in the history of the ecumenical movement and the current state of ecumenical agreements and inter-faith relationships
  • and, therefore, recommends that educational programmes for new bishops invariably include work in both ecumenical and inter-faith relations as part of the curriculum.

Resolution 05.08: Non-presbyteral Presidency


  • noted the recent resolution of the Diocese of Sydney concerning diaconal and lay presidency at the eucharist and re-affirms its own resolution (18.01):
  • IASCER concurs most strongly with the view expressed in the Report of the 1998 Lambeth Conference concerning lay presidency of the eucharist, that:

    “Such a development would challenge the tradition of the church catholic that ordained ministry serves the church by uniting word and sacrament, pastoral care and oversight of the Christian community. Presiding at the Eucharist is the most obvious expression of this unity. Lay presidency would also create major difficulties with many of our ecumenical partners as well as within the Anglican Communion. We are not able to endorse this proposal.” (Lambeth Conference 1998 Official Report p.202)
  • The Commission is aware that among ecumenical agreements which have been formally received by the Churches of the Anglican Communion is the ARCIC elucidation on Ministry (1979), which the 1988 Lambeth Conference recognised as “consonant in substance with the faith of Anglicans”. That statement asserts that:

    “At the eucharist Christ's people do what he commanded in memory of himself and Christ unites them sacramentally with himself in his self-offering. But in this action it is only the ordained minister who presides at the eucharist, in which, in the name of Christ and on behalf of his Church, he recites the narrative of the institution of the Last Supper, and invokes the Holy Spirit upon the gifts. (ARCIC The Final Report, Elucidation on Ministry 1979, paragraph 2)
  • The Faith and Order text Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, about which the Lambeth Conference of 1988 stated “Anglicans can recognise to a large extent the faith of the Church through the ages”, states that:

    “The minister of the eucharist is the ambassador who represents the divine initiative and expresses the connection of the local community with other local communities in the universal Church. (BEM, Eucharist, paragraph 29)
  • It is the consensus of this Commission then, that a diocese or province which endorses lay presidency of the eucharist would be departing from the doctrine of the ministry as Anglicans have received it, and from the practice of the undivided Church. Such action would jeopardise existing ecumenical agreements and seriously call into question the relation of such a diocese or province to the Anglican Communion.
  • and further notes that in The Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion, Principle 66 on ‘Holy Communion: nature and celebration’, it is clearly stated (66.7) that “Presidency at the Holy Communion is reserved to a bishop or priest” and (66.9) that “a deacon, or a lay minister specially authorised by the bishop as a eucharistic assistant, may assist in the distribution of the Holy Communion”.
  • believes that there needs to be further theological reflection and engagement with the theological and ecclesiological perspectives that have shaped the Sydney proposal, noting that Anglicans have never taken a sola scriptura position, but have recognised the place of tradition as well as Scripture in shaping the faith and order of the Church.
  • asks that ecumenical partners be assured that the position of the Anglican Communion as a whole has not changed in the matter of eucharistic presidency.

Resolution 06.08: The “Cloud of Witnesses”

IASCER, recognising both that the communion of saints and martyrs is a pledge (arrabon) of the unity and holiness in Christ that the Church on earth is called to manifest and proclaim, and that conversely their witness (and in certain circumstances their deaths, especially at the hands of fellow Christians) can be a church-dividing issue and obstacle to unity,

  • welcomes the joint initiative of the Monastery of Bose and the WCC Faith and Order Commission—and specifically the communiqué of the recent symposium at Bose—to promote the call (first made at the Commission meeting in Bangalore in 1978) for the ecumenical commemoration of the ‘cloud of witnesses’ (Heb 12.2)
  • encourages
  • the WCC Faith & Order Commission to produce a short text on the communion of saints
  • all provinces of the Anglican Communion to collaborate with the WCC Faith and Order Commission in carrying this project forward with the goal of discerning a common ecumenical martyrology, and
  • all Christians, especially those involved in bilateral and multilateral ecumenical dialogue, to find ways of giving expression to a shared confession and commemoration of the communion of saints, thus making more visible the degree of communion that already exists.
  • draws attention to Resolutions 77-80 of the Lambeth Conference 1958, and Resolution 21 of ACC-9 which address these topics.

Resolution 07.08: The Church of the Triune God

IASCER asks the Provinces to engage with the Report of the ICAOTD by considering and responding to the questions below.

Questions for The Church of the Triune God

Section I (Trinity and the Church; Christ the Spirit and the Church; Humanity, Christ and the Church)

  • In what ways might these chapters enrich the faith of Anglicans?
  • In what ways does the faith of Anglicans challenge these chapters?
  • To what extent can your church recognize in these chapters the faith of the church through the ages?

Section II (Episcopacy, Episcope, Primacy and the Church; Priesthood, Christ and the Church; Women and Men, Ministry of the Church)

  • In what ways might these chapters enrich the Anglican exercise and understanding of ministry in the widest sense, with particular attention to the ministries of bishops and presbyters, and the ministries of women and men?
  • In what ways does the Anglican exercise and understanding of ministry challenge these chapters?
  • To what extent can your church recognize in these chapters the faith of the church through the ages?

Section III (Women and Men, Ministry and the Church; Heresy, Schism and the Church; Reception in the Church)

  • In what ways might these chapters offer insights to current Anglican processes to deal with disagreement, change and division in the church?
  • In what ways do these chapters assess critically the ways in which Anglicans deal with controversy?
  • To what extent are these chapters consonant with Anglican instruments of reception and decision-making?

Resolution 08.08: IARCCUM


  • notes that the IARCCUM report “Growing Together in Unity and Mission” has been referred by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Provinces, and to the Roman Catholic Conferences of Bishops by the President of the PCPCU, together with the request that the report be studied by Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops, if possible together
  • requests the Provinces of the Anglican Communion to consider the attached questions (addendum 1), and to report their responses to the Anglican Communion Office by 31st December 2011
  • welcomes the news of the Covenant between the Diocese of Newcastle in the Anglican Church of Australia and the Catholic Dioceses of Maitland-Newcastle and Broken Bay (addendum 2), and commends this covenant as a model for adopting practical initiatives in unity and mission in line with the recommendations of the IARCCUM Report.


1. The Questions

Growing Together in Unity and Mission: Building on 40 years of Anglican – Roman Catholic Dialogue, an Agreed Statement of the International Anglican – Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM)

The Agreed Statement Growing Together in Unity and Mission aims to stimulate local co-operation and ecumenical development among Anglicans and Roman Catholics. The Statement is set out in two parts, which:

  • offer an honest assessment of the degree of convergence in faith discerned in the ARCIC dialogue, and
  • translate that into practical ecumenical co-operation.

The Provinces of the Anglican Communion are therefore asked, if possible in co-operation with the local Roman Catholic hierarchy or their representatives, to respond to the following questions:

  • Is the degree of convergence in faith described in the document - as well as the areas noted for further discussion in the document - accurately described from your perspectives?
  • Are the possibilities for co-operation set out in the document appropriate and/or workable and/or practised in your region?

2. The Text of a Covenant between the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay

In the spirit of the mutual recognition of what unites us as expressed in the documents of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission and the recent agreed statement of the International Anglican and Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, and in the light of the tradition of collaboration and mutual respect which already exists between us, the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, and the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay hereby enter a covenant relationship in which we commit ourselves to:

  • an annual Episcopal Dialogue in the both Hunter-Manning and Central Coast areas between the respective Anglican and Catholic Bishops
  • an annual Ecumenical Service of Worship in both the Hunter-Manning and Central Coast areas
  • an annual Joint Clergy Day for the clergy of the three Dioceses to come together to reflect on pastoral, social or theological issues which we face together
  • an annual Service of Reconciliation to focus on the restoration and growth of relationships between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Communions
  • an annual exchange of pulpits by the respective Anglican and Catholic Bishops in both the Hunter-Manning and Central Coast areas
  • a twice-yearly meeting of the Ecumenical Commissions and Bishops of the three Dioceses
  • an annual dinner to be shared by the Bishops of the three Dioceses to foster their friendship and communion
  • the exploration of possibilities for the sharing of church plant
  • an annual review and re-affirmation of the Covenant.

Resolution 09.08: ‘Finding our Delight in the Lord’


  • warmly welcomes the new proposal for full communion between The Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church in North America entitled ‘Finding Our Delight in the Lord’
  • notes that different understandings of the diaconate will preclude exchangeability of deacons between the two churches, yet the document appears to accept the Moravian practice of diaconal presidency at the Eucharist without question
  • expresses its view that it would be inappropriate to encourage Episcopalians to participate in Moravian celebrations of the eucharist where there is diaconal presidency given the difference of teaching between the two traditions, and believes this detracts from the agreement
  • believes that the realisation of full communion would be enhanced by Moravian assurance that this practice will, in due course, be phased out.

Resolution 10.08: The mutual recognition of Baptism by the Churches of CONIC, Brazil.


  • welcomes the November 2007 document of mutual recognition of Baptism, signed by the member churches of the Conselho Nacional de Igrejas Cristãs do Brasil (CONIC): the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brazil; the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil and the Syrian Orthodox Church
  • commends the positive commitment to the journey of ecumenism made explicit in the section ‘Implications of the mutual recognition of the Sacrament of Baptism to the life of the churches’.

Resolution 11.08: The Confederation of Christian Churches in Sri Lanka


  • welcomes the ecumenical initiative of the Confederation of Christian Churches in Sri Lanka and hopes that it will result in a significant step towards full, visible unity
  • expresses a concern that the proposed timetable does not allow sufficient time for deliberation and consultation given the complexity of some of the issues involved. The nature of the mutual recognition of ministries and the liturgical act intended to bring this about need further elucidation and IASCER has nominated a small group to assist the Director of Ecumenical Affairs in advising on this matter when these further elucidations are to hand.

Resolution 12.08: The Church Unity Commission in South Africa


  • gratefully receives the documentation from the Church Unity Commission in Southern Africa having followed with interest the progress of the Commission over the years
  • notes the pace of development in this scheme and the obstacles to visible unity that remain to be overcome
  • is aware of the considerable challenges of a multi-lateral approach to church unity schemes and suggests consideration of alternative approaches to the dialogue such as bilateral initiatives within the overall multi-lateral framework
  • further suggests that the goal of ‘full visible communion’ between those Churches that are already closer to one another in their ecclesiology and polity might be investigated.

Resolution 13.08: The Global Christian Forum


  • welcomes the proposals for the further development of the Global Christian Forum for the period 2009-2011, noting the distinctive nature of this forum, and commending its unique vision and vocation at different levels of its engagement.

Resolution 14.08: The 9th Bilateral Forum


  • welcomes the Statement of the 9th Forum on Bilateral Dialogues (held at Breklum, Germany, 10-15 March 2008) (link below)
  • commends its recommendations to those concerned with Anglican bilateral dialogues and to provincial ecumenical officers.

Resolution 15.08: The Principles of Canon Law common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion


  • welcomes the compilation and publication of The Principles of Canon Law common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion, and commends it as a resource for theological and ecumenical study and research
  • welcomes the attention given to Ecumenical Relations in The Principles of Canon Law,in particular Principles 93-100 in Part VIII (Ecumenical Relations) and Section IV (The Ecumenical Significance of the Anglican Ius Commune) in Professor Norman Doe’s concluding essay, ‘The contribution of common principles of canon law to ecclesial communion in Anglicanism’, and commends what is said to all Anglicans concerned with ecumenical dialogue.

Resolution 16.08: The Anglican Covenant


  • notes the publication of the St Andrew’s Draft of An Anglican Covenant, and “A Lambeth Commentary” following discussion of the draft at the Lambeth Conference
  • draws to the attention of the Covenant Design Group its concern that any Covenant should take adequate account of:
  • the need for a stronger affirmation of Anglicanism’s ecumenical vocation, and our commitment to the biblical and patristic vision of Church unity, in response to Christ’s prayer that ‘all may be one’
  • the particular nature of the United Churches of South Asia, including their internal ordering (and so their ability to adopt a Covenant) and their commitments to other Christian World Communions in which they also have a part
  • the relationship between a Covenant and any other commitments already made by Provinces and the Anglican Communion to ecumenical partners
  • openness to the further development of ecumenical commitments
  • the need to acknowledge that there may, under carefully considered conditions, be occasion for allowing ‘bearable anomalies’ during transition periods, for example, in ecumenical agreements and schemes of union and unity
  • concerns that ecumenical partners may have about the ways that Anglicans handle potentially difficult and divisive questions, recognising that these can be addressed by an increased clarity around consultation procedures.

Resolution 17.08: Principles of Anglican Engagement in Ecumenism


  • welcomes the document “Principles of Anglican Engagement with Ecumenism” prepared by the Director of Ecumenical Affairs, and commends it to ACC-14 for reflection and discussion
  • hopes that the document may be further developed by IASCUFO as a resource for ecumenical work in the Anglican Communion.

Resolution 18.08: In memoriam Henry Chadwick

IASCER notes with sadness the passing of the Revd Professor Henry Chadwick, whose outstanding scholarship informed his unique and impressive contribution to the understanding of the roots of Christian division and the search for Christian unity. The work of this devoted and scholarly priest was deeply appreciated by both Anglicans and Roman Catholics in the ARCIC conversations, as well as by Christians of the Orthodox and many other Christian traditions. We give thanks to God for his life and works and we pray that he may rest in peace and rise in glory.

Resolution 19.08: In memoriam David Beetge


  • receives with sadness the news of the recent death of Bishop David Beetge, sometime Anglican Co-Chair of IARCCUM
  • gives thanks to God for the work of this outstanding bishop who gave himself unstintingly to both diocese and the wider Church, working in the service of the unity of the Church, both within his own Communion, and in our ecumenical relationship with the Roman Catholic Church
  •  commends him into the hands of God, praying that the ministry of unity which he undertook as a servant of the Anglican Communion may, by the providence of God, be brought to completion.

Resolution 20.08: In memoriam Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia


  • receiving with sadness in the course of their meeting the news of the death of His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, assure the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church of their heartfelt condolences and prayers, giving thanks to God for the ministry of the Patriarch, and his commitment to the search for the unity of the Church
  • affirms the commitment of the Anglican Communion to the search for the full visible unity of the Church, and particularly in this context to the continuation of the work of reconciliation between the Churches of the Anglican Communion and of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Resolution 21.08: On the Conclusion of the IASCER Mandate


  • has appreciated the mandate given to it following its setting up by the Lambeth Conference of 1998
  • has found the experience of the annual review of Anglican involvement in ecumenical endeavour around the world a valuable one, which has provided the opportunity of achieving consistency and coherence in ecumenical dialogue, as well as highlighting important matters of faith and order
  • is grateful for the privilege of meeting every year, by invitation, in various provinces of the Communion, and trusts that its engagement with these local Churches has been an encouragement to them, as its members have been encouraged and learned from them
  • notes with sadness that internal tensions within the Anglican Communion have hampered some ecumenical progress during the time of its meetings
  • hopes that its successor (IASCUFO) will be able to sustain and build on its work and enjoy the continuing confidence, encouragement and support of the Instruments of Communion
  • wishes to thank Archbishop Drexel Gomez for his Chairmanship and wishes him a long and fulfilling retirement
  • thanks the staff who have served IASCER during its existence, and likewise the Churches who have hosted its meetings
  • above all gives thanks to God for the many blessings received and continues to pray for the fulfilment of the Lord’s prayer for his Church, ‘that they may all be one’.