Already in 1977, Archbishop of Canterbury Donald Coggan and Pope Paul VI signed a Common Declaration, in which they affirmed the following about our churches:
“[we] have come to recognize, to value and to give thanks for a common faith in God our Father, in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit; our common baptism into Christ; our sharing of the Holy Scriptures, of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the Chalcedonian definition [on Christ’s full humanity and full divinity], and the teaching of the Fathers; our common Christian inheritance for many centuries with its living traditions of liturgy, theology, spirituality and mission” (§2).
Through our international dialogue, we have reached significant agreement on the nature of the eucharist and ministry. We have also reached convergence on authority in the Church, the nature and mission of the Church, salvation and justification, discipleship and morals, and more recently, the place of Mary, Mother of Jesus, in the life and doctrine of the Church.1 In Canada, we rejoice in our use of a common lectionary, in our joint participation in theological and pastoral formation in some places, in our national theological dialogue and in the meetings of our bishops on regional and national levels.
Today, we no longer feel ourselves as strangers in each other’s houses of worship. Despite remaining obstacles which we continue to address in dialogue, we have come a long way, making considerable progress in our relations.
And yet, as the recent international document Growing Together in Unity and Mission stated, “we have only just begun to give tangible expression to the incontrovertible elements of shared faith” (§7). In that document, we express our conviction that “it is the time to bridge the gap between the elements of faith we hold in common and the tangible expression of that shared belief in our ecclesial lives” (§10). “Even in a time of uncertainty, the mission given us by Christ obliges and compels us to seek to engage more deeply and widely in a partnership in mission, coupled with common witness and joint prayer” (§7).
II. Moving Forward in Mission
Here in Saskatchewan, Anglicans and Roman Catholics have enjoyed the regular meetings of our bishops since the 1970s; meetings were expanded to include Lutheran and Ukrainian Catholic bishops in the 1990s. In 1999, the Anglican, Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches joined with the Franciscan community in setting up an ecumenical board to give direction to St. Michael’s Retreat House in Lumsden. This is a sign and indication of what is possible when we give tangible expression to the faith we share.
The Spirit now calls our Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches to a new stage in jointly building up the body of Christ in our dioceses.
To that end, our relationship now moves us to commit our two dioceses to the following:
1. Hold a prayer service each year, ideally during the Easter season, alternating between the two cathedrals, with our bishops present. This would take the form of an annual service of reconciliation, with participants (planning, officiants, servers, lectors, choir, etc) from both churches.
2. Commit ourselves to regularly remembering the other church and its leaders, and our relations, in our intercessions at each Sunday eucharist.
3. Join together on a justice-related initiative locally and/or sponsor a justice-related project where our churches are working together in the developing world.
4. Hold joint meetings with First Nations elders in order to promote reconciliation and healing.
5. Commit ourselves to maintaining communication between us when any new development in one of our churches has implications or challenges for the other.
We also encourage the following at the diocesan level and in communities where there are both Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes. Whenever possible, other Christian churches and their ministers would fully share in these proposed activities and initiatives:
1. Joint activities in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity;
2. Common services in Advent and Lent;
3. Joint witness in the name of Christ to people in particular spiritual need, including those who have lapsed from regular attendance at worship;
4. Parish welcome and support for inter-church couples and families;
5. Bishops acting together when feasible: for example, issuing joint statements on current public pastoral concerns;
6. Clergy acting together when feasible: for example, holding occasional study days; arranging a joint component in our parish programs for baptism preparation;
7. Youth leadership: possibility of a joint youth group forming or occasional jointly- organized events with our youth;
8. Occasional workshops on aspects of the liturgy which would allow us to learn liturgical best practices from each other (e.g. welcoming/greeting, music, lectors, servers, those preparing intercessory prayers);
9. Meetings of those with parallel ministries: pastors; deacons; lay leadership/lay ministry; musicians; healing ministry; bereavement; church wardens/vestries/parish councils;
10 Exploration of common texts – for example, study of Scripture, study of our joint A-RC statements, e.g. Growing Together in Unity and Mission;
11. Social occasions following joint liturgical events, to offer opportunities for fellowship;
12. Fostering friendly relations and regular communication between neighbouring Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes and their clergy; they are encouraged to enter into parish covenants and hold annual events together;
13. Justice issues - speaking out together on areas of common concern where we can act together: prison ministry; relations with First Nations communities; healing ministry, chaplaincies, nursing homes;
14. Preparation for mission: coming together to identify a specific concern in the community and provide gracious outreach, then joining together to bring relief and Christ’s healing.
1. The GAFCON/FCA Primates’ Council met in Oxford from October 4th through October 7th, 2010. We gathered as Bishops in Council and as the elected leaders of provinces and national churches of the Anglican Communion representing more than forty million Anglicans. We know that many of our people confront a fallen world where sin abounds; the economy is troubled and resources are scarce; disasters loom and governments often seem impotent and helpless and yet even in the midst of all these things “our hope is in the Name of the Lord” and we are filled with hope and vision.
2. We are thankful for God’s hand in establishing GAFCON and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. We rejoice in God’s guidance from the Scriptures, the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and the provision of a godly fellowship to sustain us. In this context we have met in Oxford, a city that has seen many critical events in Anglican history, and are grateful for the men and women who have given their lives to protect the faith that has given us eternal life.
3. We believe that we are now entering a new era for the Anglican Communion. New ways of living out our common life are emerging as old structures are proven to be ineffective in confronting the challenges of living in a pluralistic global community. We rejoice in the call of the Jerusalem Declaration for a renewed commitment to the authority of scripture and the centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly the rejection of these historic anchors to our faith has brought us to a crisis in the life of the Communion.
4. As we have made clear in numerous communiqués and meetings those who have abandoned the historic teaching of the Church have torn the fabric of our life together at its deepest level. We have made repeated attempts to bring repentance and restoration and yet these efforts have been rejected. We grieve for those who have walked apart and earnestly pray for them and the people under their care.
5. For the sake of Christ and of His Gospel we can no longer maintain the illusion of normalcy and so we join with other Primates from the Global South in declaring that we will not be present at the next Primates’ meeting to be held in Ireland. And while we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate.
6. We also acknowledge with appreciation the address to the Nicean Society meeting in Lambeth Palace on September 9th of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. We welcome his call to all churches of the Anglican Communion to step back from the abyss of heresy and reclaim the revealed truth that is at the heart of our historic understanding of Christian faith and moral order. We share with him the conviction that failure to do so will endanger our common witness and many important ecumenical dialogues but we would also point out that there are many within the Anglican Communion who have not ‘bowed the knee’ to secular liberalism and who are determined to stay true to the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ whatever the cost.
7. The Primates Council, as bishops of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, wish to affirm the reality of human sin and divine judgment, the only way of salvation from sin through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, the sufficiency and clarity of Holy Scripture as the revelation of God’s will, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit as he brings new birth and holiness of life.
8. As many people in the nations where we serve experience new economic challenges, we affirm that the Church has been entrusted with the task of holding before all people the truth of the gospel of the kingdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ, the key to human well-being and the hope of creation. While we know well the scourge of poverty and the despair it produces, we call on our churches to remember this unique calling and not be seduced by those who would argue that economic development is our only goal. The destiny of humanity is not limited to this present world but to live the resurrection life in the new heavens and new earth.
9. We are, however, determined to lead our churches away from unhealthy economic dependency and to teach our people the importance of becoming effective stewards of their own resources. We must reclaim a vision of financial self-sufficiency. We are grateful for reports of several initiatives that are building capacity for economic growth in our various provinces and commit ourselves to making this an essential dimension of our continuing work. We also believe that a vital part of our witness is the integrity of our marriages and families and our care for the most vulnerable among us, our children. We welcome recent initiatives to encourage the ministry of women in leadership by CAPA – the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa.
10. We are also grateful for the recent conference sponsored by CAPA in Entebbe, Uganda, where we witnessed the growing strength of the Anglican Churches in Africa and their commitment to wholistic mission. We believe that GAFCON/FCA must expand its ministry through the inclusion of other Anglican provinces that share our faith conviction and love for the Communion. We also applaud the efforts of the Global South Provinces to find common ground and opportunities for common mission. We are committed to doing all that we can to strengthen our common witness.
11. We remain convinced that the unique character of GAFCON/FCA with its diversity of cultures and its embrace of the Jerusalem Declaration as a common theological confession is a vital contribution to the future of the global Anglican Communion. We are persuaded that we must offer new initiatives to more effectively respond to the crises that confront us all. We must strengthen our communication capabilities and we are also looking to build partnerships with other denominational churches that share our faith convictions.
12. Specifically, we are planning a leadership conference in the latter part of 2011 that will focus on the need to “Contend for the Faith in the Public Square.” We are also beginning preparations for an international gathering of Primates, Bishops, Clergy and Lay leaders in 2012, provisionally designated “GAFCON 2”. To support all of this we have approved the expansion of the Secretariat.
13. Finally, we acknowledge that it is only by God’s grace that we can accomplish any of this and so we call on all those that acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord to join us in prayer for our world and for the raising up of many initiatives that will bring the redeeming and transforming love of God to all those in need.
14. To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
And so I ask once again who is
knowing Christ and making Him known in the world?
The first is a joint statement from the RC and the Anglican Church in Canada and the second is from our "friends" the Conelonialists.
H/T Thinking Anglicans