[Anglican Communion News Service] The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order met at the Ecumenical Centre, Chateau de Bossey, Switzerland, 3 to 10 December 2014.
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 worshipped 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 first-hand from the Rev. Dr 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 inter-religious dialogue, about mission and evangelism, and about the unity statement from the 2013 Busan, Korea Assembly of the WCC.
The WCC Deputy General Secretary, Yorgo Lemopoulos, spoke to the members of IASCUFO in light of the WCC Busan Assembly: 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. 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 Revd Tony Franklin-Ross, currently a post-graduate 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 their 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 Revd Canon Dr 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 2–9 December 2015 in a place to be determined.
Present at the Bossey meeting
The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, and Chair of the Commission
The Revd Professor Paul Avis, Church of England
The Revd Sonal Christian, Church of North India
The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, World Council of Churches
The Rt Revd Dr Howard Gregory, The Church in the Province of the West Indies
The Revd Professor Katherine Grieb, The Episcopal Church (USA)
The Rt Revd Kumara Illangasinghe, Church of Ceylon, Sri Lanka
The Rt Revd William Mchombo, Church of the Province of Central Africa
The Revd Canon Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Church in Wales
The Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
The Revd Canon Dr Charlotte Methuen, Scottish Episcopal Church/Church of England
The Rt Revd Prof Stephen Pickard, Anglican Church of Australia
The Revd Dr Jeremiah Guen Seok Yang, The Anglican Church of Korea
The Revd Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director for Unity, Faith and Order
The Revd Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office.
Not present at the meeting:
The Rt Revd Dr Georges Titre Ande
The Rt Revd Prof. Dapo Asaju
The Revd Canon Clement Janda
The Revd Dr Edison Kalengyo
The Revd Canon Dr Simon Oliver
Prof. Andrew Pierce
The Revd Canon Dr Michael Nai Chiu Poon
The Most Revd Hector Zavala