Back to results
Reunion of Christendom
The Conference approves the following statements as representing the counsel which it is prepared to give to the bishops, clergy and other members of our own Communion on various subjects which bear upon the problems of reunion, provided that such counsel is not to be regarded as calling in question any canons or official declarations of any synod or House of Bishops of a national, regional, or provincial Church which has already dealt with these matters.
- In view of prospects and projects of reunion:
- A bishop is justified in giving occasional authorisation to ministers, not episcopally ordained, who in his judgement are working towards an ideal of union such as is described in our Appeal, to preach in churches within his diocese, and to clergy of the diocese to preach in the churches of such ministers.
- The bishops of the Anglican Communion will not question the action of any bishop who, in the few years between the initiation and the completion of a definite scheme of union, shall countenance the irregularity of admitting to Communion the baptized but unconfirmed communicants of the non-episcopal congregations concerned in the scheme.
- The Conference gives its general approval to the suggestions contained in the Report of the Sub-Committee on Reunion with Non-Episcopal Churches in reference to the status and work of ministers who may remain after union without episcopal ordination.
- Believing, however, that certain lines of action might imperil both the attainment of its ideal and the unity of its own Communion, the Conference declares that:
- It cannot approve of general schemes of intercommunion or exchange of pulpits.
- In accordance with the principle of Church order set forth in the Preface to the Ordinal attached to the Book of Common Prayer, it cannot approve the celebration in Anglican churches of the Holy Communion for members of the Anglican Church by ministers who have not been episcopally ordained; and that it should be regarded as the general rule of the Church that Anglican communicants should receive Holy Communion only at the hands of ministers of their own Church, or of Churches in communion therewith.
- In view of doubts and varieties of practice which have caused difficulties in the past, the Conference declares that:
- Nothing in these Resolutions is intended to indicate that the rule of confirmation as conditioning admission to Holy Communion must necessarily apply to the case of baptized persons who seek Communion under conditions which in the bishop's judgement justify their admission thereto.
- In cases in which it is impossible for the bishop's judgement to be obtained beforehand the priest should remember that he has no canonical authority to refuse Communion to any baptized person kneeling before the Lord's Table (unless he be excommunicate by name, or, in the canonical sense of the term, a cause of scandal to the faithful); and that, if a question may properly be raised as to the future admission of any such person to Holy Communion, either because he has not been confirmed or for other reasons, the priest should refer the matter to the bishop for counsel. or direction.