The report of the Eames Commission on the unity of the Anglican Communion reflects a “positive will” to keep the international church together, says Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.
In a statement released shortly after the report was made public, Archbishop Hutchison said it is “significant” that the commission issued a unanimous report, despite the fact that its members “cover a broad spectrum of geography, culture and theology”.
The commission, under the leadership of Archbishop Robin Eames of Armagh, was established by the Archbishop of Canterbury about a year ago, to study how the Communion can be kept together despite divergent theological views.
The unity of the Communion has been strained by the blessing of same-sex unions in one diocese of the Canadian church, and by the ordination of a gay bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church.
Archbishop Hutchison said in his statement that the Eames report would be considered at a meeting of Canadian bishops later this month, and by the Anglican church’s chief governing council when it meets in November .
The full text of Archbishop Hutchison’s statement follows:
“This morning I received a copy of the report of the Lambeth Commission on Communion (Eames Commission). The Commission was created by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and chaired by Archbishop Robin Eames of Armagh, the senior Metropolitan in the Anglican Communion. Its mandate was to maximize the Communion within the worldwide Anglican family despite significant theological differences.
The Commission members cover a broad spectrum of geography, culture and theology. Their meetings have been totally in camera with no interim reporting to the Communion. It is significant that the Commission has submitted unanimous recommendations in spite of the cultural and theological differences of its members. This indicates that there is a positive will to maintain the unity of the diverse Anglican Communion. The fact that Commission members can speak with one voice holds open the door of hope that our Church can, with prayer and dialogue persevere in seeking unity.
It is now incumbent upon us, the Canadian Church, as it is for all provinces of the Anglican Communion to study the document and its recommendations. In keeping with the nature of the Anglican Communion, each province is entitled to respond with its own voice and from its own cultural and theological context. We look forward to hearing responses from all Anglican provinces.
The bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada will receive a copy of the report today and it will be discussed at our next House of Bishops meeting in Saskatoon from November 1-4 . As well the commission report will be on the agenda of the Council of General Synod when it meets at the end of November . The report will also be distributed to Dioceses across Canada for study and comment. We have set up a mechanism to receive feedback and will look forward to receiving comments from Anglicans and our ecumenical partners. I will be able to share these thoughts when I meet with the other Primates of the Anglican Communion in Belfast, Northern Ireland in February .”
Andrew Hutchison, Archbishop and Primate
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