April 3, 2006

Who’s In — Who’s Out

The first Lambeth Conference was assembled in response to a request from the Canadian episcopate, addressed originally to the Canterbury Convocation, who then passed it along to the Archbishop. He in turn was quite clear in his invitation that he had no interest in assembling a doctrinal or legislative commission, but rather wished to share in Christian and episcopal fellowship.

There seems to be some confusion between "being in Communion with the Church of England" and "being a member of the Anglican Communion." The former, which is definitively determined (in the case of doubt) by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, is the more expansive of the two: that is, there are any number of churches that are in communion with the Church of England which are not part of the Anglican Communion. I refer those interested to page 206 of the current Canons of the Church of England (2005).

Membership in the Anglican Communion itself is not defined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but at present by the Anglican Consultative Council, which is a duly established entity with its own constitution, capable of deciding who is or isn't part of it by amendment of its schedule of members.

It does appear that being in communion with Canterbury could be seen as a prerequisite for membership in the more narrowly defined Anglican Communion. But what I am suggesting is that it might be possible for TEC (and the "founding member" the Church of Canada) to remain in communion with the Church of England even if for some reason temporarily removed or suspended from the Anglican Communion by a two-thirds majority vote of all of the Primates (in accordance with the ACC constitution).

This might, in fact, be a way to address some of the current concerns of other members of the Anglican Communion while retaining our historic relationship with Canterbury.

Tobias S Haller BSG


CJA said...

Perhaps, but would TEC and the Anglican Church in Canada ever be invited back? I don't see how this helps, really, since it doesn't address the core issues which are ones of authority and doctrine.

brightereyed, bushiertailed said...

So the possibility suggested is that Rt. Rev. Dr. Williams might support the inclusion of ECUSA in the Communion while the Communion itself did not? Is this genuinely a possibility? And for those Episcopalians for whom the Episcopal succession, in a Catholic and sacramental sense, is a real concern, would Williams' opinion represent much of a salve to being booted out from membership amongst the instruments of that succession? I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

We have no interest in coming in line with the Windsor Report. Yet, we love the tradition of the Anglican Communion so off we go to explore how we can have our cake and eat it too.