This morning brings news that the most recent conversations among the Primates meeting in Dublin concern the question of whether there is an Anglican Church or are we "a communion of churches"? There's much more to the answer of that question than mere linguistic style.
Episcopal News Service reports on the latest briefing:
"[The Archbishop of Burundi, the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi] told fellow Primates that the December meeting of IASCUFO in South Africa saw the members work in four groups: one studying the definition of 'church'. Archbishop Bernard said, 'We are asking: 'Is the Anglican Communion a Church or a communion of Churches?'' The second group is looking at the Anglican Communion Covenant and resources for studying it. The third group is studying the Instruments of Communion, their theological meaning and how they relate to one another. The fourth group is considering the topic of 'reception', that is how the work of the Instruments and of ecumenical dialogues is communicated and understood at all levels of the Anglican Communion.
Archbishop Bernard said that, in addition to the Instruments of Communion, there are other informal mechanisms that contribute to strengthening, enlivening and uniting the Anglican Communion. He gave as examples the international Anglican Networks, Anglican mission agencies, principles of canon law, and the Mothers' Union.
Later the Primates went on to discuss what they believed were the key points from the last few days. These included expectations of Primates' Meetings, the role of a Primate, the place of the United Churches (such as those in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) in the Communion and the reality of the linguistic diversity of the Communion."