From a more or less important Anglican Communion commission near you...

The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order met in Seoul, Republic of Korea 2 to 9 December 2011.  The Commission is dubbed "IASCUFO" - pronounced "i-as-cu-fo" (as in "I ask u fo" - money probably.)   

IASCUFO issued a communique following its December meeting.  There seems not to have been a communique following last year's meeting, so this is only the second full blown report in hand.
Their work involved the following:

  1. reflecting critically on the Instruments of Communion and the relationships among them. Our discussions continue to develop the potential of these in the wider contexts of Anglican and ecumenical ecclesiological reflection;
  2. studying the definition and recognition of churches;
  3. providing a variety of materials to assist in the reception of the Anglican Communion Covenant. The guide which we produced during the past year is being augmented by a short video presentation which will be made available from the Anglican Communion website;
  4. assisting the Communion in its engagement with the complex processes involved in reception. This includes receiving from one another and embracing the fruits of ecumenical dialogue and of Anglican theological reflection at all levels in the Communion. In our work as a Commission, we have become increasingly and acutely aware of the importance of this task in the life of our churches;
  5. considering the question of transitivity, that is, the way in which regional ecumenical agreements between churches which are members of different global communions in one geographical area affect or extend to other parts of the Communions 
Jim Naughton, over at Episcopal Cafe has pointed out that item 3 is pointedly directed to convincing Churches of the Communion that they ought to buy on to the Anglican Covenant.  The matter was pointedly raised as an item separate from but immediately following the general "to-do" list:

"Aware of our mandate to promote the deepening of communion between the churches of the Anglican Communion, we emphasised the importance of being a fully representative group, and we greatly regret that some of our members were not present. We re-affirmed the significance of the Anglican Communion Covenant for strengthening our common life."

As Jim points out IASCUFO is not a "fully representative group" even if all the members were to be present. And, not to put a fine point on it, the group not only had members absent, but one of the members listed was a persons reduced to consultant status.

But as Jim also points out, none of the members "represent" churches anyway. If they are representative they are representative of various views in the larger Communion, in which case reducing someone to consultant status because their church is being reprimanded is just, well, silly. 

Go read Jim's thoughtful piece HERE. 

Meanwhile, who was absent?  Well, its hard to find a list of just who is on IASCUFO at this time. 

The Commission met in 2009 and a meeting was planned for 2010 in South Africa. There is no communique published from that meeting. The list of those attending the 2011 event was as follows, with notations about differences from the 2009 list (those "starred" with an asterisk were present at the 2009 and 2011 meetings) :

*The Most Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi
Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, and Chair of the Commission

*The Rev. Canon Professor Paul Avis
Church of England

The Rev. Sonal Christian
Church of North India

*The Rev. Canon Dr. John Gibaut
World Council of Churches

*The Rt. Rev. Dr. Howard Gregory
The Church in the Province of the West Indies

*The Rev. Professor Dr. Katherine Grieb
The Episcopal Church (USA) (Consultant)

The Rt. Rev. Kumara Illangasinghe
Church of Ceylon, Sri Lanka

*The Rev. Canon Clement Janda
Episcopal Church of the Sudan

The Rt. Rev. William Mchombo
Church of the Province of Central Africa

*The Rev. Canon Sarah Rowland Jones
Anglican Church of Southern Africa

*The Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews
Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

*The Rev. Canon Dr. Charlotte Methuen
Scottish Episcopal Church/Church of England

The Rev. Canon Dr. Simon Oliver
Church in Wales/Church of England

*The Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Pickard
Anglican Church of Australia

*Dr. Andrew Pierce
Irish School of Ecumenics

*The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Guen Seok Yang
The Anglican Church of Korea

Missing from this meeting but listed in the 2009 list (full list provided by courtesy of John B. Chilton, the Lead, the Anglican Communion website being down at the moment.)

The Rt. Revd Dr George Titre Ande, Congo
The Ven Professor Dap Asaju, Lagos State University, Nigeria
The Rt. Revd Philip D Baji, Bishop of Tanga, Tanzania
THe Revd Dr. Edison Muhindo Kalengyo, Unganda Christian University, Uganda
The Rev. Canon Dr. Michael Nai Chiu Poon, Trinity Theological College, Singapore, South East Asia.
The Rt. Revd Tito Zavala, Bishop of Chile and Primate, Southern Cone. (Consultant)

From the ACC Office:

The Rev. Canon Joanna Udal
Archbishop of Canterbury’s Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs

The Rev. Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan
Director for Unity, Faith and Order

Mr. Neil Vigers
Anglican Communion Office

There were four members present in 2011 not members in 2009. There were six members of the 2009 group not in the 2011 list. So at the least two members of the invited list did not come, at the most six. 

The only thing we can note is that of the six from 2009 who were not there in 2011, all or almost all were members belonging to churches identified with the GAFCON / Global South alternative universe - Nigeria, Tanzania, Southern Cone, South East Asia, and Uganda. ( I am not sure of the "status" of Congo vis a vis GS.)

About the four members present in 2011 not at 2009, three are from the "global south" (Central Africa, Sri Lanka, North India) although it is unclear if they are from the Global South Anglican group.

Regarding IASCUFO's statement about the Covenant:

IASCUFO looks to be a fine group of people of great abilities. They are not representatives of the Anglican Communion, but rather representatives of various theological understandings. Whether those are "widely representative" is another matter. Apparently they don't include many folk from the GAFCON world. 

Their view of the Anglican Covenant does not then represent a "communion wide" vote of confidence, at least not on the face of it.

Nice try.

1 comment:

  1. It is worth noting that the Faith and Order has been part of the ecumenical movement for the past century. This suggests to me that we are in something a bit like ecumenical dialog with other churches in the Communion. There is much we share in both faith and order, but there is disagreement about whether that is sufficient for full communion. Even though I am sceptical about the Commission, I think we may need to be having faith and order discussions to discern what kind of relationships among the churches are now possible.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.