Communiqué from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order

In the context of the contemporary crises of displacement and uprooting of people, of refugees and of human trafficking, the Commission paid a deeply moving visit to the Cape Coast Castle (see photograph). This was a major centre of the transatlantic slave trade, with the terrible incongruity of an Anglican church directly over the dungeons that held those who, through the ”˜Door of No Return’, were to be shipped into chattel slavery.

For part of the meeting, the Commission was joined by Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, who offered a deep and wide-ranging reflection on the present challenges within and future hopes for the Communion. The Commission warmly welcomed the opportunity to engage with him on ways of strengthening its capacity to fulfil its mandate in the service of the Communion.

The Commission was also greatly heartened by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s timely decision to invite his fellow Primates of the Anglican Communion to meet together in January, and held this gathering in its daily prayers. Recalling that all of the Primates gathered at the Enthronement Eucharist of the Archbishop in March 2013, IASCUFO believes that the forthcoming meeting could be an opportunity for a new, redeemed conversation within the Communion to begin, and stands ready to assist in any way consistent with its remit.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques

2 comments on “Communiqué from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order

  1. MichaelA says:

    Pardon me for asking, but what does the IASCUFO actually do?

    Back in 2011, it did do some useful work on the practical implementation of the Anglican Covenant. But since that covenant now appears to be dead in the water, having been rejected by most groups in the Anglican Communion, what useful function does IASCUFO perform?

    They supply a link to their 2012 report, and parts of it are frightening in the way the facts are, shall we say, very selectively presented. For example, take these little gems on page 28:
    [blockquote] “2. The basis of the Anglican Communion is personally grounded in the relationship of each of the Churches to the Archbishop of Canterbury who is freely recognised as the focus of unity.” [/blockquote]
    Really? The ABC’s own committee has freely recognised him as such, but evidence that others in the Communion do is rather sparse. And the relationship of other Anglican churches has historically been with the Church of England rather than with the ABC, despite recent attempts to claim otherwise.
    [blockquote] “The Archbishop calls a Lambeth Conference in consultation with other primates.”[/blockquote]
    That is simply not true. The 2018 Lambeth Conference was cancelled unilaterally by Lambeth Palace, and the Primates weren’t consulted.

    [blockquote] “The Primates’ Meeting elects one of its number to be a voting member of the Crown Nominations Commission regarding the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury.”
    I see – and when did this last happen? Certainly not at the last election of an ABC – no Primates Meeting elected the Archbishop of Wales to be their representative on the CNC. Instead he was chosen by an obscure process, no doubt on the basis that he would be most amenable to the wishes of the vested interests in the CofE hierarchy.

    If IASCUFO can’t get basic things right, why are they trusted, and why should funds be paid to enable them to continue?

  2. MichaelA says:

    The highly questionable assertions in the IASCUFO report “towards a symphony of instruments” just keep on coming. Continuing from page 28:
    [blockquote] “Canterbury is historically the first metropolitical see (the seat of the archbishop who has primatial authority) of the Church of England and therefore of the Anglican Communion.”
    The first part is correct, but where do the final six words come from? It is simply not true to assert that the authority which the Archbishop of Canterbury possesses within the Church of England translates across to the Anglican Communion – how? by what means? who has ever asserted this?
    [blockquote] “It is not possible for a Church to be a member of the Communion without being in communion with the Archbishop as bishop of the See of Canterbury.”[/blockquote]
    That remains to be seen. Let look at in practical terms: It is quite possible that the orthodox Primates in the near future will declare themselves to be in a state of broken or impaired communion with the CofE (and therefore with ABC) yet to also state that they remain part of the Anglican Communion. If so, what objective basis is there for anyone to disagree with them?
    [blockquote] “[The office of Archbishop of Canterbury] is a ministry that is not hierarchical and unaccountable, but constitutional and accessible and that knows its limits but also one that is aware of its potential for good in terms of the unity and mission of the Church.” [/blockquote]
    On what basis is this rather wild assertion made? Surely that is something for the rest of the church to judge, i.e. whether that is a fair description of the office in recent years? The following examples of the behaviour of recent ABC’s doesn’t exactly fill orthodox Anglicans with confidence:
    * unilateral failure to call primates’ meetings;
    * unilateral decision to cancel the next Lambeth Conference;
    * introduction of “Indaba” at the last Lambeth Conference with minimal consultation;
    * failure to implement decisions of previous primates meetings.

    Continuing on to page 29:
    “While the gathering [the Primates meeting] has no legal jurisdiction, it acts as one of the Instruments of Communion among the autonomous Churches of the Communion. … The Windsor Working Group stated that, ‘When they speak collectively, or in a united or unanimous manner, then their advice – while it is no more than advice – nevertheless needs to be received with a readiness to undertake reflection and accommodation’.” [/blockquote]
    Sure, and the same comments apply with equal force to the office of Archbishop of Canterbury: he has no legal authority within the Anglican Communion, and his statements are no more than advice.

    The way that IASCUFO puts the above quotes is highly misleading – by applying these caveats only to the Primates Meeting, they imply to an unwary reader that the Primates Meeting is the only one bound by them. Yet in fact these caveats also apply to the ABC, the Lambeth Conference and the ACC – each of them has “no legal jurisdiction” within the Anglican Communion, and each of them can do no more than proffer “advice” to the rest of the Communion.