Report from the Chairs of the Theological Group and the Faith and Order
Advisory Group of the Church of England House of Bishops
(Jan 24, 2005)
Following the publication of the Windsor Report on 18 October 2004, the
House asked the Chairs of its Theological Group and the Faith and Order
Advisory Group, the Bishops of Rochester and Chichester (assisted by the
Vice-Chair of FOAG, the Bishop of Guildford and the House's theological
consultant, Dr Martin Davie ), to prepare a paper to help guide its own
deliberations at its January 2005 meeting, with a view to this document
forming the basis of the Church of England's response prior to the Primates'
Meeting in Belfast on 20 -26 February. This document, which was also
informed by discussion at a meeting of bishops at Lambeth on 1 December, is
attached. The House was mindful that the issues which the Windsor Report
seeks to address have significant implications for Anglican ecumenical
dialogue and inter-faith relationships.
In considering the Report, the House was very conscious of the critical and
urgent issues addressed by the Windsor Report for the cohesion of the
Anglican Communion, and the need to support the Archbishop of Canterbury in
his dual role both in terms of the leadership of the Anglican Communion and
as the representative of the Church of England at the forthcoming Primates'
Meeting. This meeting is potentially of great significance for the future
unity of the Anglican Communion and its ecumenical relationships, and with
this in mind the House decided to focus on questions of particular immediacy
for this meeting (rather than, for instance, consider points of detail about
the illustrative Covenant set out in Appendix 2 of the Report).
With the foregoing in mind, the House therefore:
a Affirms the basis of faith and life that binds Anglicans together as
set out in paragraphs 1-11 of the Windsor Report and illustrated by the
Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and accepts the basic principle of
autonomy-in-communion exercised within the constraints of truth and charity
set out in the Report.
b Supports the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates in taking all
steps necessary to seek to achieve reconciliation by persuading all within
the Anglican Communion to comply with the mind of the Communion as expressed
by the Instruments of Unity, in the light of the recommendations of the
c Supports the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates in requesting
ECUSA and other parts of the Communion that have taken similar decisions to
provide for the rest of the Communion the thought-out theological rationale,
based on Scripture and Tradition, for the actions that have been taken that
has been requested in the past but which so far has not been forthcoming.
The House also recognises that there are structural issues that will need to
be resolved with some urgency in relation to how the Anglican Communion
expresses its mind. The House supports the drawing up of an Anglican
Covenant and commends an enhanced and properly resourced role for the
Archbishop of Canterbury in fostering the unity and mission of the Anglican
Finally, the House upholds the Primates in its prayers as they prepare for
their meeting in Belfast later this month.
(on behalf of the House of Bishops)
+ROWAN CANTUAR: + DAVID EBOR: