Unity, Faith and Order body welcomes Primates Meeting
[ACNS] The body responsible for promoting the deepening of communion between the churches of the Anglican Communion and its ecumenical partners, the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO), has welcomed next month’s Primates Meeting in Canterbury. The Commission has described Archbishop Justin Welby’s invitation to his fellow-primates as “an opportunity for a new, redeemed conversation within the Communion.”
The comment was made in a communiqué issued by the Commission after their meeting last week in Elmina, Ghana, in the Province of West Africa’s Diocese of the Cape Coast. The Commission say that they are “greatly heartened” by the forthcoming meeting and are “ready to assist in any way consistent with its remit.”
During their meeting, the participants visited the Cape Coast Castle, a major centre of the transatlantic slave trade, and spoke of the “terrible incongruity of an Anglican church directly over the dungeons that held those who, through the ‘Door of No Return’, were to be shipped into chattel slavery.” They described their visit as “deeply moving” in “the context of the contemporary crises of displacement and uprooting of people, of refugees and of human trafficking.”
The Commission is working on a paper on Theological Anthropology, in which issues of slavery and human trafficking are addressed.
The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, presented a “deep and wide-ranging reflection on the present challenges within and future hopes for the Communion,” during the meeting and the Commission members “welcomed the opportunity to engage with him on ways of strengthening its capacity to fulfil its mandate in the service of the Communion.”
The bulk of the Commission’s work focused on its support for next April’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) in Lusaka and recent significant ecumenical developments and agreed statements; as well as new papers on the deepening relationships between Anglicans and Lutherans and the forthcoming commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017; and the question of “receiving one another’s ordained ministries” as Anglicans enjoy closer links with ecumenical partners.
- Click here to read the full communiqué
It was good to see the presence of our diocesan, Bishop Victoria Matthews (Bishop of Christchurch in ACANZP) at the recently concluded Faith and Order Conference of the world-wide Anglican Communion. As one of the earliest female bishops in the Anglican Communion, Bishop Victoria came to us from the Anglican Church of Canada, where she had the task of Chairing the St. Michael’s Commission, charged with studying the issues of gender and sexuality that have been the subject of controversy – not only in the A. C. of C. – but also the Episcopal Church of the US (TEC/ECUSA) and other Churches of the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Victoria gave a most interesting talk on the subject of Christian Marriage at the meeting of our General Synod members in Aotearoa/New Zealand, which has been seen by many as an important contribution to our understanding of the origins and purpose of that sacrament of the Church – and which demonstrated her more liberal understanding of matters that are currently exercising the minds and hearts of members of our diverse Anglican Church family around the world, and which, no doubt, would have receoved an airing at this latest meeting of ASCUFO in Ghana.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand