Adapted from Anglican Communion News Service
The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith, and Order met at the Ecumenical Centre, Chateau de Bossey, Switzerland, December 3-10.
For the first time an Anglican Communion Commission met in the ecumenical context of the historic city of Geneva. IASCUFO met with staff leadership of the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, and students and staff of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute, where the meetings were held.
On Sunday the members worshiped in three parishes: Holy Trinity Church (Diocese in Europe); Emmanuel Church (Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe); and St. Germain (Swiss Old Catholic Diocese of the Union of Utrecht). They are all in full communion with each other. As always the commission celebrated daily Eucharist, and prayed the offices. Bible study engaged the First Letter of John.
The commission benefited from hearing stories from the provinces of the Communion represented, and time spent with the students and director of the Bossey Institute. IASCUFO is grateful to all who showed hospitality to the commission.
The ecumenical context shaped this meeting: we enjoyed hearing firsthand from the Rev. Kaisamari Hintikka and her colleagues in the LWF Department of Theology & Public Witness about their work. This included plans for the commemoration of 2017 (marking the 500th anniversary of the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses).
At the WCC members of IASCUFO heard about interreligious dialogue, about mission and evangelism, and about the unity statement from the 2013 Busan, Korea, Assembly of the WCC.
Yorgo Lemopoulos, the WCC’s deputy general secretary, spoke to the commission about forming a missionary perspective in the 21st century. “We can understand ourselves as fortresses, and heritage concerns feed this, but the alternative is to see the Church as a missionary body going to the world,” Lemopoulos said. “Hence the question How can I better work with others?”
At Bossey the commission heard from the Methodist co-chair of the Anglican-Methodist dialogue in Aotearoa New Zealand, the Rev. Tony Franklin-Ross, a postgraduate student at the Bossey Institute. The commission reviewed requests from the Church of Ceylon and the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia for advice on the deepening of ecumenical relations in their regions. The commission prepared and adopted a report on the interchangeability of ordained ministries.
The commission celebrated the Agreed Statement on Christology from the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission.
The working group devoted to Communion life considered how Anglicans read Scripture, commit to a life of prayer, and engage in mission. Reflecting on our Instruments of Communion, we recognized the importance for our life together as a communion of engagement with Scripture, the Eucharist, and prayer. The theme of communion and mission underlines the rhythm of being called into relationship and sent out to serve the world. The WCC document The Church: Towards a Common Vision reminded us of the insight that communion is the gift by which the Church lives as well as the gift God calls the Church to offer to a divided and wounded humanity.
The working group on theological anthropology has chosen to begin its theological inquiry with the question Where is humanity hurting? The report on theological anthropology is one of the resources being prepared for ACC-16, which will meet in the Province of Central Africa.
This was the last meeting for the Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan as director for Unity, Faith, and Order. The commission is enormously grateful for Alyson’s superb and dedicated leadership, support and guidance of the Commission from its inception.
The next meeting will take place December 2-9, 2015, in a place to be determined.
Present at the Bossey meeting
- The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi, Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, and Chair of the Commission
- The Rev. Prof. Paul Avis, Church of England
- The Rev. Sonal Christian, Church of North India
- The Rev. Canon John Gibaut, World Council of Churches
- The Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory, Church in the Province of the West Indies
- The Rev. Professor Katherine Grieb, Episcopal Church
- The Rt. Rev. Kumara Illangasinghe, Church of Ceylon, Sri Lanka
- The Rt. Rev. William Mchombo, Church of the Province of Central Africa
- The Rev. Canon Sarah Rowland Jones, Church in Wales
- The Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
- The Rev. Canon Charlotte Methuen, Scottish Episcopal Church/Church of England
- The Rt. Rev. Prof. Stephen Pickard, Anglican Church of Australia
- The Rev. Jeremiah Guen Seok Yang, Anglican Church of Korea
- The Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, director for Unity, Faith, and Order
- The Rev. Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office
Not present at the meeting
- The Rt. Rev. Georges Titre Ande
- The Rt. Rev. Dapo Asaju
- The Rev. Canon Clement Janda
- The Rev. Edison Kalengyo
- The Rev. Canon Simon Oliver
- Prof. Andrew Pierce
- The Rev. Canon Michael Nai Chiu Poon
- The Most Rev. Hector Zavala