The full Commission will meet as a whole on three occasions: in February; June; and September 2004. It intends to complete its initial report on the nature, extent and consequences of Impaired Communion in the Anglican Communion as a result of recent developments by the end of September 2004 for submission to the Archbishop of Canterbury in October. Intensive work will also be commissioned from individual members of the Commission and others, and undertaken beyond the main sessions set out above.
As required by its mandate, the Commission will begin by considering recent work elsewhere on the issue of Communion. It will give primary consideration to the resolutions of the Lambeth Conferences of 1988 and 1998 on this issue, together with a consideration of what has been achieved in the Grindrod, Eames and Virginia Reports, which addressed matters of Communion, particularly in relation then to the issue of the ordination of women to the episcopate. It will also wish to give especial attention to the recent work of the Inter Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission on the theological nature of Communion, and the various statements and pastoral letters issued by the Primates at their recent meetings.
There are no plans at this stage to hold sessions of the Commission in public, but it is felt that it will be important for the work of the Commission to be as open as possible. For this reason, evidence considered by the Commission will generally be published on the web site associated with the Commission, and it is intended to publish interim reports of the work of the Commission following each plenary session. Specific submissions to the Commission will be invited from particular groups or individuals, both in written form and by the reception of evidence in interview, either at plenary sessions, or at subsidiary meetings and sub-committees. The Initial Report in its final form will not be published until it has been received formally by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Submissions of evidence may be forwarded unsolicited for the consideration of the Commission, provided that the following criteria are met:
Submissions must relate strictly to the terms of reference of the Commission (key questions are set out below), and be sent in electronic format to the email address of the Commission’s Secretary set out below.
Submissions should be in word processed format, and no longer than one side of an A4 sheet of paper or the equivalent.
The Commission may decide to request clarification or development as it feels appropriate. All submissions may be published on the Commission web site at the direction of the Commission’s Chair, Archbishop Robin Eames.
The Commission should be grateful if members of the Anglican Communion, and our ecumenical partners, will hold the Commission’s work in their prayers, together with the life of the Anglican Communion.
Information on the Commission and its ongoing work may be found on the web site: (www.anglicancommunion.org/ecumenical/commissions/primates/index.cfm), or by contacting the Secretary to the Commission, the Revd Canon Gregory Cameron, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media enquiries should be addressed to the Press Officer of the Archbishop of Armagh:
The Revd Brian Parker
Tel: +44 (0) 28 90 232909
Mobile: +44 (0) 7775 927807
The Commission’s Key Questions:
Taking into account work on issues of communion carried out by Lambeth Conferences 1988 and 1998, and the views of the Primates Meetings since 2000:
1. What are (a) the legal and (b) the theological implications flowing from ECUSA decision to appoint a priest in a committed same sex relationship as one of its bishops? (See LC 1998 Res. I.10)
2. What are (a) the legal and (b) the theological implications of the decision of the diocese of New Westminster to authorise services for use in connection with same sex unions?
3. What are the canonical understandings of (a) communion, (b) impaired communion and (c) broken communion? (What is autonomy and how is it related to communion?)
4. How (do and) may provinces relate to one another in situations where the ecclesiastical authorities of one province feel unable to maintain the fullness of communion with another part of the Anglican Communion?
5. What practical solutions might there be to maintain the highest degree of communion that may be possible, in the circumstances resulting from these two decisions, within the individual churches involved? (eg [alternative] episcopal oversight when full communion is threatened)
6. What practical solutions might there be to maintain the highest degree of communion that may be possible, in the circumstances resulting from these two decisions, as between the churches of the Anglican Communion? (eg [alternative] episcopal oversight when full communion is threatened)
7. Under (a) what circumstances, (b) what conditions, and (c) by what means, might it be appropriate for the Archbishop of Canterbury to exercise an extraordinary ministry of pastoral oversight, support and reconciliation with regard to the internal affairs of a province to maintain communion between Canterbury and that province? (see LC 1998, Res. IV.13)
8. Under (a) what circumstances, (b) what conditions, and (c) by what means, might it be appropriate for the Archbishop of Canterbury to exercise an extraordinary ministry of pastoral oversight, support and reconciliation with regard to the internal affairs of a province to maintain communion between that province and the rest of the Anglican Communion? (see LC Res. IV.13)