Jesus: Center of Our Unity

Via the Anglican Communion Institute

Toronto, Ontario

September 20, 2013

Greetings to the Faithful of the Anglian Communion and all our Friends in Christ:

We write to you from a conference in Toronto, Canada, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Pan-Anglican Congress held here. We are Primates and bishops representing the Anglican Global South, including the chairmen of the Global South Primates’ Steering Committee, Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), and Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

We thank Wycliffe College and her friends for hosting us.

We have heard talks recollecting our Anglican legacy from this 1963 Congress, and gave thanks in worship and fellowship for the astonishing missionary growth to which the congress both called and pointed us. In the midst of our gathering, we were blessed by a live address from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, commenting on the Congress theme of Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ.

We commend the calls we received in the conference talks, which included:

  • Taking the risk of personal evangelism
  • Being honest about the structural challenges facing our Communion
  • The necessity of truth-telling in our Christian vocation of reconciliation as a Communion
  • Programmatic proposals for renewing the Instruments of Communion
  • The importance of committed assurances for preserving the faith and witness of traditional Anglicans in North America
  • Support and expansion of theological education in areas of rapid growth in the GS

Our final talk inspired us to a revival of the missionary spirit of the Toronto Congress.

In this spirit, we lay before you the following:

  • Communion is a missionary movement: as Stephen Bayne said at the time, our common goal is to plant the Gospel “in every place of the world”.
  • Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence (MRI) remains a compelling calling for today.
  • We need renewal of the structures of the Communion so as to reflect the tremendous growth of the Church in last 50 years in Global South. As the Congress noted regarding the fact of mission: “the form of the Church must reflect this”.
  • We must reclaim and strengthen Anglicanism’s conciliar character in these structures and in our decision-making, as MRI assumed.
  • We are open to a fresh articulation of an Anglican Covenant and commend the role it can have in the renewal of our Communion, and we believe that we ourselves can have a constructive role to play in leading in this.
  • We ask that our Communion consider our offering and our desire to be faithful in it to the vision laid out not only 50 years ago at the Toronto Congress, but for many years before in our common life.

Finally, please know that we rejoice that Jesus is the center of our unity, amidst all our hopes and struggles. “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” (1 Jn. 1:3-4)

Image: Archbishop Eluid Wabukala of Kenya, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi, Dean Kuan Kim Seng of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore, Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean, Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt and North Africa, Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon of Kaduna, Nigeria • Photo by Sue Careless


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