October ~ 2015 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
At their autumn meeting in Niagara Falls, Ont., members of the Anglican Church of Canada’s House of Bishops agreed to convene a special meeting from February 23-26 to discuss the report of the Commission on the Marriage Canon.
In a communiqué released October 26, the bishops said this meeting would “pay particular attention to the theology of marriage, the nature of episcopacy, and the synod’s legislative process” and “wrestle with how to honour our roles as guardians of the Church’s faith and discipline and signs of unity both locally and universally.”
The question of legislative process — how General Synod 2016 will approach the divisive vote on whether or not to allow same-sex marriage — has raised some anxiety among bishops, and was brought up in the communiqué.
“We are concerned that parliamentary procedure may not be the most helpful way to discern the mind of the Church, or of the Spirit, in this matter,” it stated. “We would ask those in charge of designing the process whereby the draft resolution comes to the floor…to consider ways in which trust and understanding can be deepened and promoted.”
When the Anglican House of Bishops met in Niagara Falls, Ont., in mid-October, one of the first items on the agenda was the policy of authorized lay ministry adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) during its National Convention this summer.
Sometimes called “lay presidency,” authorized lay ministry is a dispensation by which—in extraordinary circumstances—lay people can preside over services of the eucharist. While it can hardly be considered part of standard Lutheran practice, the convention voted in July to allow it in heavily circumscribed circumstances.
In an interview with the Anglican Journal, ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson said that the measures were brought in to meet a serious need.
“We find ourselves with occasional situations where it’s difficult and/or impossible to provide regular word and sacrament ministry,” she said, explaining that after considering a number of possibilities, including greater use of reserve sacraments and local ordination, authorized lay ministry was seen to be the “best compromise.”
Anglican and Vatican cricketers met for the second time in Rome today in a match that saw the Vatican team win.
This morning’s match was played at the Capanelle Ground in Rome, coinciding with the conclusion of the Roman Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family.
St Peter’s XI reached 147 for 6, the Archbishop’s XI were all out for 105 runs.
Last autumn, in a historic first match between Vatican and Anglican sides, the Archbishop’s XI narrowly triumphed with five balls to spare in a memorable showdown at Kent County Cricket Club ground in Canterbury.
With growing concern about the plight of refugees, a Catholic parish in the City of Brockville, Ont., is coming together with two Anglican parishes to make a difference in the lives of three refugee families. Agape Brockville is a joint sponsorship effort between St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, St. Paul’s Anglican Church and St. Lawrence Anglican Church. Together, the three parishes are joining forces to prepare new homes for two families from Eritrea and one family from Syria. “The plight of refugees has just been in the news for a long time,” said Michelle Bushnell, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier and one of the founding members of Agape Brockville. “So we’ve been (increasingly) concerned about what we can do as Christians. Like in World War II, we go back and we admire so much that generation that sacrificed so much for each other and even in World War I… yet today, we have so many more people suffering.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury gave his blessing this week to the Archbishop’s XI, an English cricket team who are heading out to Rome this month to compete against a Vatican side. The trip (21-26 October) follows a visit by the St Peter’s Club — made up of seminarians studying in Rome — to England last autumn. In a memorable meeting in Canterbury, the first-ever match between a Vatican side and an Anglican side ended in a narrow victory for the hosts in the last over (News, 26 September 2014), and raised money for the Global Freedom Network, a joint anti-trafficking initiative (News, 21 March 2014).
Historic agreements have been signed between Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches helping to heal the oldest continuing division within Christianity. An Agreed Statement on Christology, published in North Wales this week by the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC), heals the centuries-old split between the Anglican Churches within the family of Chalcedonian Churches and the non-Chalcedonian Churches over the incarnation of Christ. In addition, the Commission has made substantial progress on issues concerning the Holy Spirit, which have continued to keep the Churches apart over the centuries.