Lambeth Commission tackles tensions in the Church

16 February 2004 • Persistent link:

The Lambeth Commission today expressed its sadness over the “strident language” being used in the debate now besetting the Anglican Communion over the issues of openly gay clergy and same sex unions.

In a statement following its first full plenary meeting under the chairmanship of the Most Revd Robin Eames, the Primate of all Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, at St George’s House, Windsor, the commission sets out its work-plan for the next few months.

Due to report to the Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in September 2004, the commission has organised small working groups to study and reflect on five key topics.

The subject areas are:

Issues of process in the Anglican Communion
The nature and purposes of Communion
The obligations of Communion
The role of the instruments of unity in preserving fellowship

The commission states, “The commission is saddened that tensions within the Communion, exacerbated by the use of strident language, have continued to rise in recent months, (and) requests all members of the Anglican Communion to refrain from any precipitate action, or legal proceedings, which would further harm ‘the bonds of communion’ in the period whilst it completes its work. Mission and ministry, including prayer for unity, remain the priorities.”

The statement also says that the members of the commission “are united in their commitment to preserving the unity of the Anglican Communion, and to finding a way forward.”

The commission this week heard various presentations from theologians including one from Dr Mary Tanner, former Moderator of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. A full record of presentations may be found on the Lambeth Commission web site (address below).

The commission has received submissions from around the world and further submissions should be sent to the Commission Secretary: Revd Canon Gregory Cameron at: commission.secretary [at] anglicancommunion [dot] org

The commission has adopted the title “The Lambeth Commission” which recognises that it was set up following the Primates Meeting at Lambeth Palace, London, in October 2003.

The next meeting of the Lambeth Commission will be held in the USA in June 2004.

Notes to Editors

The Lambeth Commission met at St George’s House, Windsor from Monday 9 to Friday 13 February 2004. The meetings were private.

The members of the commission are:

Archbishop Robin Eames
Primate of All Ireland, (Chairman)

The Revd Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan
Director of Faith, Worship and Ministry, the Anglican Church of Canada

Bishop David Beetge
Dean of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa

Professor Norman Doe
Director of the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University, Wales

Bishop Mark Dyer
Director of Spiritual Formation, Virginia Theological Seminary, USA

Archbishop Drexel Gomez
Primate of the West Indies

Archbishop Josiah Iduwo-Fearon
Archbishop of Kaduna, the Anglican Church of Nigeria

The Revd Dorothy Lau
Director of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council

Ms Anne McGavin
Advocate, formerly Legal Adviser to the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church

Archbishop Bernard Malango
Primate of Central Africa

Dr Esther Mombo
Academic Dean of St Paul’s United Theological Seminary, Limuru, Kenya

Archbishop Barry Morgan
Primate of Wales, (not able to be present on this occasion)

Chancellor Rubie Nottage
Chancellor of the Province of the West Indies

Bishop John Paterson
Primate of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia,
and Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council

Dr Jenny Te Paa
Principal of Te Rau Kahikatea, College of Saint John the Evangelist, Auckland, New Zealand

Bishop James Terom
Moderator, the Church of North India

Bishop N Thomas Wright
Bishop of Durham, the Church of England

Canon John Rees
Legal Adviser to the Anglican Consultative Council (Legal Consultant)

Canon Gregory K Cameron
Director of Ecumenical Affairs, Anglican Communion Office (Secretary)