One of the better committees, called a "working party", in the Anglican Communion is the "Working Party on Theological Education in the Anglican Communion." At least it is on paper.
The Working Party just met in Sri Lanka 1-7 March and issued a report, which can be read HERE.
In it is the following remark:
"TEAC participants then traveled to Kandy for a day of interactions at the Theological College of Lanka, the ecumenical college founded jointly to provide theological education together for Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists. Here TEAC members listened to the challenges facing the college and the special opportunities these offered as well as sharing insights from the four-fold shape of the Anglican Way of being formed by Scripture, shaped by worship, ordered for Communion and directed by God’s mission." (The bold/ italics is my emphasis.)
One of the reasons I am opposed to a greater layering of the Anglican Communion is that committees or working parties or commissions and such on an Anglican Communion wide level are given to making statements about what it is to be Anglican, statements which go unchallenged and unnoticed, until one day, voila, they become the voice of Anglicanism and more or less institutionalized writ.
Where did the idea "the four-fold shape of the Anglican way" come from, and how did the recitation of the way as one "formed by Scripture, shaped by worship, ordered for Communion and directed by God's mission" come to be determined? Probably in a document of some Commission, or a paper at a meeting of TEAC. But who knows?
The thing is, it doesn't matter where it came from. The notion that there is an Anglican Way is a bit mythological, just as is the notion that there is an Anglican method. In any event we might notice that reason gets the short straw and is not mentioned, worship trumps sacrament (particularly baptism and Eucharist which I hope forms us more than worship), the Communion (shall we read The Anglican Communion?) is something that orders us and God's Mission (which I am all for) gets made a direction rather than a way of being. And notice the verbs: formed, shaped, ordered, directed. Get the picture?
Actually being formed, shaped, ordered and directed sounds pretty much like living the faith. My sense is this is what is meant by "formation." The problem is this "Anglican Way" seems filled with agendas whose weight it cannot bear. Who invented this slogan?
A working group on Theological Education in the Anglican Communion is a good thing. But it would do well not to announce an Anglican Way whose shape is four fold, etc.
We need to take a long and careful look at this business of a Four Fold Anglican Way before it sneaks in under the wire and becomes yet another phrase that gets set in stone as part of the Anglican ethos.
The thing is, building an Anglican Communion ethos, including this Anglican Way of formation, is part of building for a world wide Anglican Church.