Mission Center: The Episcopal Church: Partnerships

Full Communion Partners

The 1958 Lambeth Conference recommended “that where between two Churches not of the same denominational or confessional family, there is unrestricted communio in sacris, including mutual recognition and acceptance of ministries, the appropriate term to use is ‘full communion,’ and that where varying degrees of relation other than ‘full communion’ are established by agreement between two such churches the appropriate term is ‘intercommunion.’

Meaning of Full Communion – EIR Handbook
Communion in the Church and communion between and among the churches is a dynamic reality, a reality in progress, a reality never perfectly achieved, a reality with which we struggle as we struggle in our personal communion with God and with one another.

We understand full communion to be a relation between distinct churches in which each recognizes the other as a catholic and apostolic church holding the essentials of the Christian faith.  Within this new relation, churches become interdependent while remaining autonomous...Diversity is preserved, but this diversity is not static.  Neither church seeks to remake the other in its own image, but each is open t the gifts of the other as it seeks to be faithful to Christ and his mission.  They are together committed to a visible unity in the church's mission to proclaim the Word and adminster the Sacramens. (from Called to Common Mission, paragrah 2).

Full Communion Partners of The Episcopal Church

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
On January 6, 2001, The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America entered into a relationship of full communion on the basis of the document "Called to Common Mission," culminating thirty years of dialogue with one another. Not a merger, in full communion both churches retain their autonomy and structures but agree to work together for joint mission and witness in the world. In accord with procedures established in "Called to Common Mission," clergy and laity may move freely between the two churches.

The Moravian Church - Northern and Southern Provinces
The Moravian Church is a worldwide communion of over 900,000 members in 19 different provinces.  The Moravian Church – properly known as the Unitas Fratrum – dates back to 1457.  Anglicans and Moravians have been in dialogue on and off for more than 250 years, both in the US and in England.  The Moravian-Episcopal dialogue met from 1999-2008 and submitted a proposal for full communion, “Finding Our Delight in the Lord,” to both churches.  The 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church approved this proposal, and in 2010 the Synods of the Moravian Church  voted to enter into full communion.

Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht
The Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht consist of serveral national churches in Europe, located in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland.  These churches could not accept the definition of papal infallibility of the first Vatican Council in 1870.  The Episcopal Church entered into full communion with the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht on the basis of the Bonn Agreement in 1934.  Included in this full communion arrangement was the Poish National Catholic Church (PNCC), which was a member of the Union of Utrecht until 2003.  The PNCC terminated its relationship of full communion with the Episcopal Church in 1978 over women's ordination.

Philippine Independent Church
The Philippine Independent Church was founded in 1902 and has over five million members.  It also has a diocese in the United States to minister to Filipinos in this country.  In 1961, the Philippine Independent Church (also knon as the Iglesia Filipina Independiente) and the Episcopal Church entered into a relationship of full communion.  A concordat council meets annually to oversee the relationship.

Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, India
The Mar Thoma Church of India is one of several Chritian churches in India tracing its ancestry back to the apostle Thomas.  It currently has over a million members in India and an increasing presence in North America.  The Mar Thoma Church has been in full communion with the Episcopal Church since 1979 and is in full communion with other provinces of the Anglican Communion. 

The Merger of Anglican Churches with other Churches
Full Communion has been established between Provinces of the Anglican Communion and these Churches resulting from the union of Anglican dioceses with Christians of other traditions, such as the Church of North India, the Church of South India, the Church of Pakistan and the Church of Bangladesh.


Resources »

Prayers of the People for ELCA 10th Anniversary Full Communion Celebration
General Convention 2009 Statement on Interreligious Relations
NCC Statement on Ramadan and Cordoba House
Guidelines for Confirmation and Reception

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