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Communion means Communion

Communion means Communion

At the Café we’ve been exploring the meaning of Episcopal identity.  But we aren’t the only ones wondering.  In a very good post at his website, Liturgy, New Zealand Anglican priest Bosco Peters is wondering as well.  And in a post titled Communion means communion, Peters suggests that:

“A Communion of churches, at the very least surely, are churches that can celebrate communion together, churches where they accept the validity of each others ordinations, churches where someone ordained in one church can preside in the other.”

But, as he then writes;

“What is called “The Anglican Communion” is not such a communion.  At the recent meeting of Anglican Primates, there was no shared Eucharist as part of their meeting timetable.”


Peters reminds us that this brokenness in communion dates back to the beginning of ordination of women in some provinces but not in others, and that though those differences did not threaten the “Communion,” the issue of full inclusion of LGBT persons has.

But he also reminds us that communion, table fellowship, is the beginning of reconciliation and not the end;

“The Eucharist is the source and the summit of our Christian life – including our unity. It is the source before it is the summit. One might say, hence, that the Eucharist is more source. We will not reach the summit if we do not draw on Christ the source in the Eucharist.

But the Primates, and other Anglican leaders, have reversed this dynamic. They will not draw near and receive the Body and Blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ in order to grow together until they have humanly reached the summit of cobbling together a unity that, following traditional theology, hasn’t been broken. The very act that Christ gives us to draw us into unity is evaded.”

Communion should mean communion, at the very least, and we should enter into it in humility and with open hearts rather than pridefulnees and closed minds.

Go check out all of what Bosco has to say here


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Tobias Haller

One could go back further to the Act of Parliament that permitted the ABC and York (with others) to ordain and consecrate White and Proovost without the royal warrant, and absent the oaths. Among other things, it stated:

…be it hereby declared, that no person or persons consecrated to the office of a bishop in the manner aforesaid, nor any person or persons deriving their consecration from or under any bishop so consecrated, nor any person or persons admitted to the order of deacon or priest by any bishop or bishops so consecrated, or by the successor or successors of any bishop or bishops so consecrated, shall be thereby enabled to exercise his or their respective office or offices within his Majesty’s dominions.

So from the outset the Anglican “Communion” has been one in a shared spirit, but without the standard mark of “communion” as it is used in ordinary ecumenism: mutual recognition of ministers, and their ability to function within each other’s churches (mutatis mutandis).

Tobias Haller

Oops, that’s “Provoost”…

Marshall Scott

And you being originally from New York!

Christopher Epting

One “silly bishop” is hardly the point. When bishops/dioceses/Provinces cannot break the Bread together, there is no ecclesial communion.

Paul Woodrum

I think it a bit extreme to think the actions of one silly bishop can wipe out the whole communion, but when whole provinces don’t recognize one another, there is a problem. Perhaps we can practice the Art of the Covenant, slice a few heifers in half, and make a really great deal.

Christopher Epting

The Anglican Communion has not been a communion since the first time an Anglican bishop would not receive the Eucharist from another Anglican bishop. Probably in 1976.

Jean Lall


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