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Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations - EIR Handbook
The Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations of the General Convention is canonically responsible "to develop a comprehensive and coordinated policy and strategy on relations between this Church and other churches, to make recommendations to General Convention concerning inter-church cooperation and unity, and to carry out such instructions on ecumenical matters as may be given it from time to time by the General Convention. It shall also nominate for appointment by the Presiding Bishop, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, persons to serve on the governing bodies of ecumenical organizations to which this Church belongs by action of the General Conven-tion and to participate in major conferences as convened by such organizations" (Constitution and Canons, Title I, Canon 1.2.n(5)).

The Commission was the result of a combination in 1964 of three former Joint Commissions concerned with ecumenical matters (Co-operation with the Eastern and Old Catholic churches, Ap-proaches to Unity, Ecumenical Relations). The resolution to merge spelled out its tasks: "to develop a comprehensive and coordinated policy and strategy on relations with other churches, confirming, interpreting, or making fresh definitions, in harmony with the faith and canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church, thus involving (a) statements on Faith and Order, (b) theological discussions with other churches, separately or in ecumenical gatherings, and (c) questions of Church law, tradition, and worship, arising in relationships with other churches" (Journal of General Convention, 1964). As early as 1949 the old Joint Commission on Ecumenical Relations was instructed "to see that the Church is kept informed as to progress in this field, especially at the grass roots level, and that it be held responsible for maintaining and furthering our close fellowship and cooperation" with the World Council of Churches, "particularly with that Council's Commission on Faith and Order" and the National Council of Churches (Journal of General Convention, 1949).

Much of the work of the Commission is done through sub-groups of expert representatives who meet with representatives of churches with which we seek full communion, and with churches with which we are already in full communion. The Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies are ex officio members of the Commission, and appoint respectively the six bishops, and the six priests or deacons and six laity who are its members.


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