International Anglican Liturgical Consultations


A Review

The international and ecumenical academy of liturgical scholars, Societas Liturgica, meets every two years. Originally European, it has now become a global organization. In 1983 Anglicans attending the congress of Societas in Vienna met together as a caucus. Their conversations led to a resolve to meet more regularly, at subsequent similar occasions.

1.     Children and Communion

Two years later some of the Anglican members of the congress of Societas in Boston met to consider the issue of children and communion, noting that the 1968 Lambeth Conference had asked the Provinces of the Communion to examine the theology of initiation and admission to communion. The Consultation reviewed existing practice, which varied widely in the Communion—from provision in North American liturgical texts for communion of the newly baptized at the time of their initiation to apparent disinterest in the subject in some Provinces, with a variety of provisional, experimental, and study schemes in between.

The Consultation noted that there was not yet a common theology of initiation throughout the Communion, especially in relation to the practice of confirmation. The Consultation also recognized that cultural considerations are an issue in this field. However, members asked if these issues had encouraged Anglicans to treat baptized children as if they were only catechumens, and whether cultural factors could continue to be used to exclude children from the eucharist.

The Consultation developed a brief but clear ecclesiological basis for exploration of the question of children and communion, noting that, “The church is the whole body of the faithful. It is created through baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the sign of faith and of participation in God’s act of redemption.”[1] Members argued that the baptism of infants is baptism into the church’s eucharistic life, suggesting that, “it is paradoxical to admit children to membership in the body of Christ through baptism, and yet to deny that membership in the eucharistic meal that follows.”[2] Grasping the nettle of inherited understandings of confirmation, the Consultation noted that although the outline of Western medieval confirmation practice was retained at the time of the Anglican Reformation, emphasis was shifted from the administration of the outward rite to the catechizing which preceded it. This, coupled with the appearance of a stricter discipline in the 19th century, and a theology which affirmed confirmation as essential to the completion of baptism, created in practice a barrier to the admission of baptized children to communion.

Members of the Boston Consultation were open to the possibility of a non-initiatory pastoral rite of confirmation, possibly preceded by a period of instruction, with which the role of the bishop may still be associated. However, members favoured, “an increased frequency in the occasions when the bishop will preside at baptismal eucharists.”[3] The Consultation was committed, in spite of local patterns and variations, to the position that those admitted to communion be accepted as communicants wherever they worship in the Anglican Communion.

The Consultation, while recognizing the existence of a wide variety of marital, household, and cultural patterns, suggested the following pattern for children with at least one baptized and believing parent.

  1. Members of the congregation should be involved in the preparation of parents for the baptism of their children.
  2. Parents should be the chief sponsors for their children and may be joined by others. (Parents are responsible for the growth and nurture of their children, it is thus particularly appropriate that they sponsor their children whom they will nurture in the Christian life. In some cultures this role is undertaken by others in the extended family.
  3. The whole Christian community, which on one view is symbolized by the other sponsors, and is exemplified by the congregation actually present at the baptism, has a continuing responsibility for nurturing the baptized by prayer, by example, and by support at worship in their discipleship. This is well expressed in the question addressed to the congregation in several Anglican baptismal rites, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?”
  4. In the baptismal eucharist the infant receives communion along with his or her family.

The Consultation agreed on the following recommendations:

  1. that since baptism is the sacramental sign of full incorporation into the church, all baptized persons be admitted to communion;
  2. that provincial baptismal rites be reviewed to the end that such texts explicitly affirm the communion of the newly baptized and that only one rite be authorized for the baptism whether of adults or infants so that no essential distinction be made between persons on basis of age;
  • that in the celebration of baptism the vivid use of liturgical signs e.g. the practice of immersion and the copious use of water be encouraged;
  • that the celebration of baptism constitute a normal part of an episcopal visit.
  1. that anyone admitted to communion in any part of the Anglican Communion be acknowledged as a communicant in every part of the Anglican Communion and not be denied communion on the basis of age or lack of confirmation;
  2. that the Constitution and Canons of each Province be revised in accordance with the above recommendations; and that the constitution and Canons be amended wherever they imply the necessity of confirmation for full church membership;
  3. that each Province clearly affirm that confirmation is not a rite of admission to communion, a principle affirmed by the bishops at Lambeth in 1968;
  • that the general communion of all the baptized assume a significant place in all ecumenical dialogues in which Anglicans are engaged.

2.     Liturgical Formation

In 1987, an Anglican Liturgical Consultation met at Brixen, North Italy. The subject was the formative role of liturgy in the life of the people of God. Papers were presented on a variety of subjects including the formative character of liturgy, the catechumenate, the liturgical ministry of the laity, questions of presidency, inculturation, and mission.

The Brixen Consultation did not produce an itemized concluding statement but the areas of its deliberations anticipated ongoing debate in the Communion during the decade which has followed. The formative role of the Prayer Book tradition on the life of the whole Communion has continued to concern Anglicans who watch their traditional liturgical forms give way to regional and contemporary patterns of worship expression. More specific and intentional models of formation, e.g., the restoration of the catechumenate, continue to be explored and debated. However, the Brixen consultation was a herald of things to come in the attention it gave to two subjects of discussion.

First, the liturgical role of the laity—the subject of three of the published papers—continues to capture attention, whether in the radical form of proposals that lay people be authorized to preside at the eucharist or in more modest questions relating to a multiplicity of functions within the liturgical assembly and to the appropriate leadership of liturgical assemblies when an ordained leader is not present.

Second, Elisha Mbonigaba’s paper, “Indigenization of the Liturgy”, set the stage for a major continuing conversation in the Communion on the subject of what is now usually called “inculturation”. Touching on questions of missionary history, cultural imperatives (Mbonigaba quotes Anscar Chupungco, “The Church must incarnate herself in every race as Christ incarnated himself in the Jewish race,”),[4] cultural complexity, forms of prayer, music, rites of passage, the use of local commodities, and other matters, Mbonigaba opened a subject which was to receive much more attention in the Communion in the ensuing years. In fact, it was to be the subject of the next Consultation in 1989.

3.     Inculturation

The York Consultation (1989) explored the subject of inculturation from a number of points of view—Anglican identity and the cultural matrix of the Prayer Book tradition, the relationship between formation and inculturation, and specific cultural challenges ranging in location from Tanzania, Southern Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and inner-city England. However, the stage for the Consultation was perhaps set by an essay in which Victor Atta-Bafoe (Ghana) and Philip Tovey (England) distinguished among indigenization (the development of local leadership), adaptation (adjustment of essentially Prayer Book forms to a new context), and inculturation. They defined inculturation as, “the incarnation of the Christian life and message in a particular cultural context in such a way that not only do local Christians find expression for their faith through elements proper to their culture, but also that faith and worship animate, direct and unify the culture. Inculturation in this sense is the dialogue of gospel and culture.”[5]

The York Consultation produced a very substantial statement on the subject of its exploration, which reflects members’ awareness that, “liturgy to serve the contemporary church should be truly inculturated,” and which underlines and expands two Lambeth Conference (1988) resolutions.


This Conference (a) recognizes that culture is the context in which people find their identity; (b) affirms that … the gospel judges every culture … challenging some aspects of the culture while endorsing others for the benefit of the Church and the society; (c) urges the church everywhere to work at expressing the unchanging gospel of Christ in words, actions, names, customs, liturgies which communicate relevantly in each society.


This Conference resolves that each Province should be free, subject to essential universal Anglican norms of worship, and to a valuing of traditional liturgical materials, to seek that expression of worship which is appropriate to the Christian people in their cultural context.

The York Statement identified the incarnation as God’s self-inculturation in this world, and in a particular cultural context. “Jesus’ ministry on earth includes both the acceptance of a particular culture,” members wrote, “and also a confrontation of elements in that culture. When Jesus in turn commissions his disciples with “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” they too are to pursue the mission which the Holy Spirit gives them by relating to their society incarnationally. They are to adapt themselves to different cultures (“as a Jew to the Jews, as a Greek to the Greeks”) but also to confront the culture where it is contrary to the good news or to God’s righteousness. Thus, just as language forms change from one place or time to another, so the whole cultural appropriateness of styles and expressions of worship should be ready to vary similarly.”

The Consultation noted that distinctive Anglicanism rests historically on the adoption of common prayer expressed in the culture of the Reformation period and on the asserted freedom of Churches and Provinces to develop their own distinctive forms (Art. XXXIV). The resulting style has often been treated as necessary to Anglican identity, although in fact it has fostered cultural alienation in both urban England and rural Africa (and elsewhere), and ecumenically as well. The Lambeth resolutions address this situation.

The Consultation suggested that inculturation must affect the whole ethos of worship, buildings, furnishings, art, music, and ceremonial as well as texts. “True inculturation implies a willingness in worship to listen to culture, to incorporate what is good and to challenge what is alien to the truth of God. It has to make contact with the deep feelings of people. It can only be achieved through an openness to innovation and experimentation, an encouragement of local creativity, and a readiness to reflect critically at each stage of the process …. The liturgy, rightly constructed, forms the people of God, enabling and equipping them for their mission of evangelism and social justice in their culture and society.” The Consultation emphasized the importance of liturgical scholarship and expertise at the level of leadership, and encouraged a closer and more trusting relationship between bishops and synods on one hand and well-equipped imaginative liturgists on the other.

The Consultation cited a number of areas which should be examined for their openness to inculturation: language, music, architecture, ceremonies, sacramental elements, rites of passage, the relationship between worship and identification with the oppressed, and agape meals.

Members of the Consultation agreed, “We would not want to suggest that some ‘tokenist’ inclusion of a single local practice into an otherwise alien liturgy will suffice. Nor is it necessary for a whole liturgical event or series of events to be culturally monochrome: good liturgy grows and changes organically and always has rich marks of its stages of historical conditioning upon it, and in addition has often to serve truly multicultural congregations today.

“In each Province and diocese Anglicans ought to examine their degree of attachment to ways of worship which are required neither by the gospel itself, nor by the local culture. We do not think that these criteria should be set aside by a loyalty to some supposed general “Anglicanism”, for every expression of the gospel is culturally affected, and what is viewed as general Anglicanism, if it can be identified, grew in a very specific Western culture.”

The Consultation suggested that “essential Anglican norms” are largely those contained within the Lambeth Quadrilateral, and that the use of vernacular language is foundational to inculturation. Differing styles of worship may be necessary not only from one Province to another but within Provinces, and special encouragement should be given to minority groups to develop their own culture in worship.

Members agreed that there is danger in inertia, “and in failure to recognize, understand, or value our own cultural context aright. Provinces should be ready both to treasure their received ways and also to reflect critically on them in the light of their own cultures. They should be wary lest sheer conservatism in liturgy, or an over-dependence upon uses from elsewhere, in fact become a vehicle of cultural alienation, making Anglican worship a specialist cult, rather than a people’s liturgy. Let us hold fast to the essentials, and follow the cultural adaptability of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus in everything else.” The Statement concluded with a request that Primates would report on inculturation to the Steering Committee

Thirty-one liturgical leaders signed the York statement, nearly double the number who had met in Brixen two years before. It is perhaps a tribute to the timing and penetrating content of their document that in 1991, when the Consultation met in Toronto, the African participants, meeting separately, agreed in a caucus of their own that the time had come to engage the subject of inculturation on their own soil. Under the leadership of (now) Archbishop David Gitari some 17 African liturgists and a number of observers met at Kanamai (near Mombasa, Kenya) in 1993 to address issues of inculturation in their own context. Their deliberations led to the formulation of “The Kanamai Statement: African Culture and Anglican Liturgy,”[6]

While the Kanamai conference and its statement are independent of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultations, they clearly belong to the same family of conversations and deserve not only the respectful attention of the rest of the Communion but the careful study of Provinces in other continents where people of diverse cultures long for the expression of their own identity in their forms of worship. The Kanamai statement suggests a simple method, outlined as a series of issues for consideration.

  • . Listen to the needs of, and consult with, the whole body of worshippers, young and old, male and female, rich and poor, rural and urban, the literate and non-literate: what do they want to express before God, and how?
  1. Exercise caution in view of the diversity and dynamic nature of African cultures: what helps one group today may hinder another, or may be out of date tomorrow.
  2. Seek insights from the work done by other Churches in the area, bearing in mind the liturgical convergence seen in the last few decades.
  3. Understanding the principles employed by the Christian liturgists of the past, and the principles of worship in African traditional religion.
  4. Recognize and study the liturgical inculturation which has already taken place, formally and informally, in the previous generations, as liturgies have been created, transmitted and used.

Teaching and training are needed so that

  1. Every Christian may fully understand the words and symbols used, and so be inspired to worship God in all he or she does.
  2. Leaders of Worship may be sensitive to those whom they serve, and to the symbols and values of local cultures, and may best utilize the tools they are given.
  3. Liturgical Specialists may appreciate the structure of our liturgical inheritance, knowing what may be bult up, and what may be safely demolished.[7]

The conference suggested that liturgical inculturation should begin with the structure of the rite rather than the text, and proposed guidelines for preparing new liturgies and steps for implementation.

Solomon Amusan, now Professor of Liturgy at Immanuel College, Ibadan, put the work of the Kanamai conference in a framework primarily theological but with political implications in an initial response published with the conference documents. He wrote, “The struggle of the colonized countries is aimed at human liberation, not only at the social, political and economic levels, but especially at the religious level of life. Full liberation based on biblical teachings has a more comprehensive character than political liberation because it also involves spiritual freedom. This is why we now speak of indigenization, contextualization, inculturation and liberation of liturgy. It must be noted that “missionary Christianity,” as brought to Africa in general, developed its own appropriate theology —namely “colonial theology,” which has resulted in “imperialistic theology.” Consequently we are now witnessing liturgical imperialism which implies imposition of foreign liturgy, thus discouraging the Africans from thinking about a concept of liturgical practice of their own. Liturgy and liturgical theology lack their full potential until they become deeply ingrained, virtually instinctive and natural expressions of faith and of the nature of God for the people who are actually worshipping. Admission to any form of indigenization, adaptation, inculturation of English liturgy in this century is an admission of the African liturgists of their failure to face the liturgical challenges; for they have been forgetting that the English liturgy, with its theology, as handed down by the missionaries, was shaped by the same community that later produced those who imposed imperial domination upon Africa. Until there is an appropriate African liturgical theology which will speak of a God who is as truly the God of the Africans as the God of any other continent, we cannot be really involved with Africans in the real sense, for the theology of English rite defends the structure of their concept and culture. An appropriate liturgical theology developed in the context of the African situation will help the churches in Africa, and does not need indigenization or adaptation or contextualization because it is enveloped within the African concept of God.”[8]

A second conference on African culture and Anglican liturgy was held at Kempton Park, South Africa, in November 1996.

4.     Initiation

The International Anglican Liturgical Consultation returned to the subject of initiation at its meeting in Toronto in 1991. On this occasion 64 Anglican liturgical leaders met, and for the first time a concerted effort had been made in two Provinces at least to ensure the participation of representatives from the “two-thirds world.” The Consultation divided into four sections to address the theology of initiation, the relationship of baptism, mission, and ministry, the renewal of baptismal faith, and rites of initiation. The statements of the four groups, presented to the plenary Consultation in draft form for revision and subsequently edited and approved for publication by the Steering Committee of the Consultation, have been published in Christian Intiation in the Anglican Communion, and with related essays in Growing in Newness of Life.[9]

The findings of the Toronto Consultation, which should be studied in detail, have been distilled in seven recommendations.

    1. The renewal of baptismal practice is an integral part of mission and evangelism. Liturgical texts must point beyond the life of the church to God’s mission in the world.
    2. Baptism is for people of all ages, both adults and infants. Baptism is administered after preparation and instruction of the candidates, or where they are unable to answer for themselves, of their parent(s) or guardian(s).
    3. Baptism is complete sacramental initiation and leads to participation in the eucharist. Confirmation and other rites of affirmation have a continuing pastoral role in the renewal of faith among the baptized but are in no way to be seen as a completion of baptism or as necessary for admission to communion.
    4. The catechumenate is a model for preparation and formation for baptism. We recognize that its constituent liturgical rites may vary in different cultural context.
    5. Whatever language is used in the rest of the baptismal rite, both the profession of faith and the baptismal formula should continue to name God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
    6. Baptism once received is unrepeatable and any rites of renewal must avoid being misconstrued as rebaptism.
    7. The pastoral rite of confirmation may be delegated by the bishop to a presbyter.

5.     Revising the Eucharist

As already noted, a concerted effort was made to guarantee that membership in the Toronto Consultation would be more representative in terms of geography and the cultural spectrum of the Communion than had been the case before. However, it became apparent after Toronto that funds would not be available on a voluntary basis in sufficient quantity to provide the same arrangements every two years. It was therefore decided by the Steering Committee that full Consultations would be held every four years, when every effort would be made to ensure the widest possible representation, and that preparatory conferences would be held at the intervening two-year points, composed chiefly of Anglican members attending Societas Liturgica.

The first such conference was held at Untermarchtal, Germany, shortly before the congress of Societas Liturgica in Fribourg, Switzerland. Forty people attended. The conference received a number of papers,[10] including an influential submission by Thomas J. Talley on the structure of eucharistic prayers. On the basis of its deliberations, the Steering Committee developed a list of headings for consideration by the next full Consultation at Dublin in 1995. They were,

  • Eucharistic Theology The development of a comprehensive theology of the eucharist within the broad framework of a theology of church and sacraments (including eschatological, paschal mystery, and ethical dimensions) within which traditional Anglican points of tension will be addressed, e.g., the role of the Spirit, offering, consecration, sacrifice, presence.
  • Ministry, Order, and the Eucharist The ecclesiological issues, i.e., the relationship of the eucharist to both the universal and the local church and the implications of this relationship for practice, i.e., who may participate? who may minister? who may preside? how may the eucharist be extended? how may the eucharist be shared in ecumenical contexts?
  • The Structure of the Eucharist The structure of the whole rite as well as the structure of the eucharistic prayer; the function of the structure in conserving the tradition and the extent to which that tradition may responsibly be stretched; proposed common eucharistic prayers and possible models; a review of the guidelines proposed by Lambeth 1958 for Provinces revising their eucharistic liturgy.
  • Ritual, Language, and Symbolism The symbolic nature of the eucharistic assembly and the inherent symbolism of the eucharistic action; the implications of symbolism for the use of space, for iconography, inculturation, inclusivity, vesture, gesture, and other ritual actions; the essential components of the eucharist, its symbolic character, and the significance of the symbols and their relationship to cultural contexts.
  • Liturgical and Eucharistic Renewal Liturgical education for eucharistic renewal in both practice and spirituality, the resources available and required, and curricula designed for teaching programs on liturgy.

The Dublin Consultation (1995) attracted nearly 80 participants who worked, for a week, “towards the development of principles which would inform the Communion during the next phase of liturgical revision and renewal.”[11] The Consultation developed the following principles and recommendations.


In the celebration of the eucharist, all the baptized are called to participate in the great sign of our common identity as the people of God, the body of Christ, and the community of the Holy Spirit. No baptized person should be excluded from participating in the eucharistic assembly on such grounds as age, race, gender, economic circumstance or mental capacity. (1)

In, through, and with Christ, the assembly is the celebrant of the eucharist. Among other tasks it is appropriate for lay persons to play their part in proclaiming the word, leading the prayers of the people, and distributing communion. The liturgical functions of the ordained arise out of pastoral responsibility. Separating liturgical function and pastoral oversight tends to reduce liturgical presidency to an isolated ritual function. (6)

The church needs leaders who are themselves open to renewal and are able to facilitate and enable it in community. This should affect the liturgical formation of laity and clergy, especially bishops as leaders of the local community. Such continuing formation is a priority and adequate resources for it should be provided in every Province. (8)

Faith and Practice

In the future, Anglican unity will find its liturgical expression not so much in uniform texts as in a common approach to eucharistic celebration and a structure which will ensure a balance of word, prayer, and sacrament, and which bears witness to the catholic calling of the Anglican communion. (2)

The sacrificial character of all Christian life and worship must be articulated in a way that does not blur the unique atoning work of Christ. Vivid language, symbol, and metaphor engage human memory and assist the eucharistic action in forming the life of the community. (4)

In the eucharist, we encounter the mystery of the triune God in the proclamation of the word and the celebration of the sacrament. The fundamental character of the eucharistic prayer is thanksgiving and the whole eucharistic prayer should be seen as consecratory. The elements of memorial and invocation are caught up within the movement of thanksgiving. (5)

The embodied character of Christian worship must be honoured in proclamation, music, symbol, and ritual. If inculturation is to be taken seriously, local culture and custom which are not in conflict with the Gospel must be reflected in the liturgy, interacting with the accumulated inculturation of the tradition. (7)

Vocation and Ministry

The eucharistic action models the way in which God as redeemer comes into the world in the Word made flesh, to which the people of God respond by offering themselves — broken individuals – to be made one body in Christ’s risen life. This continual process of transformation is enacted in each celebration. (3)

Celebrating the eucharist involves both reaffirming the baptismal commitment to die to self and be raised to newness of life, and embodying that vision of the kingdom in searching for justice, reconciliation and peace in the community. The Spirit who calls us into one body in Christ equips and sends us out to live this divine life. (9)[12]

6.     Finland 1997

A second preparatory conference will be held in conjunction with a congress of Societas Liturgica at Järvenpää, Finland, in August 1997. Responding to a number of suggestions, the Steering Committee has planned for a discussion on some of the theological and liturgical issues relating to ordination, with a view to fuller discussion at a Consultation in 1999. Invitations have been issued, chiefly to Anglican members of Societas, and papers have been invited. The areas of discussion have been identified as follows.

  • . Nature of order in the church Ontology, function, teleology, episcope, presbyterate, diakonia. The ministry of the whole church (apostolicity, priesthood, prophetic witness, servant model of the kingdom etc.) as enabled by the ordered (structured) ministry (bishops, priests, deacons). (Other special issues include proposals for lay presidency at the eucharist.)
  1. Imparting ministry within the church Appointment/commissioning/ordaining. Evaluation and critique of received and current rites and practices in election/selection, secondary rites, examination, hand-laying-with-prayer, etc. Inculturation.
  2. Ecumenical questions for the future of the church Issues of recognition (Rome/Orthodoxy); issues of uniting (post-Reformation churches). The nature and meaning of succession. (Other special issues include the “repair” of breached succession, recognition/non-recognition of a bishop on such grounds as gender, supposed hetero-doxy, absenteeism; the recognition of a bishop or priest received from another de-nomination, the recognition/non-recognition of a presbyter on such grounds as gender etc.)

7.     India 1999

The Consultation scheduled for Kottayam, India, in the summer of 1999 ran into problems even before it convened. A number of members were denied visas and some did not receive them in time to travel. Almost on the eve of the event, officials of the Indian government informed the chair that he was forbidden to convoke a Consultation as planned. The assembly quickly moved to accept a recommendation of the Steering Committee that the current meeting not be deemed to be a full Consultation and that a full Consultation should be held in 2001 when formal statements might be adopted.

In spite of the shadow which these events cast over the Kottayam meeting, members grappled with the issues before them. They divided into three groups to address (1) the structure of ordination liturgies, (2) theological issues, (3) and the processes of discernment of vocation and preparation for ordination. The group working on structural issues affirmed the centrality of a baptismal ecclesiology and the laying on of hands. They wrestled with the forms in which these emphases should be expressed. Members working on theology addressed such issues as the relationship of orders to particular church structures (like parish and diocese), the ambiguous nature of the word priest (especially in English), the role of the deacon, and the nature of validity. The group working on discernment and preparation explored the relationship of culture and ministry and the meaning of call as it is used in relation to ordination.

The work of the groups was subjected plenary criticism and it became apparent that the task required more work than the present assembly could complete in the prevailing time frame and circumstances. The group leaders proposed the formation of an editorial committee who would work on the material produced and refined by the groups and in the light of plenary criticism. A preliminary draft would be circulated and members were urged to submit their comments on it before the end of February 2000. This process is on schedule at the time of writing.

8.     Structural Matters

The International Anglican Liturgical Consulta-tions began as an independent meeting of Anglican liturgists who found themselves in the same place. A more formal relationship with the “instruments” of the Communion, and especially with the ACC, has developed over the years. The Council has repeatedly commended the findings of the Consultations for study. The Joint Meeting of Primates and the ACC (Cape Town) author-ized the Coordinator for Liturgy to seek financial support for the work of the Consultations, which led to a generous response for the work of the Steering Committee and for the support of “two-thirds world” participants at Dublin. The Coor-dinator for Liturgy provides secretarial support for the Consultations and their Steering Committee.

In the meantime, the Consultations were developing a more organized structure for themselves. What had begun as a conversation among friends eventually required some organizational order. The York Consultation (1989) adopted Guidelines (revised in 1995) to define the task of the Consultations, to provide for a Steering Committee and for other procedures.[13]

It is important to note that the Consultations perform in fact the tasks which were envisioned by ACC-7 for a commission which was never established. They began as a caucus of Anglicans at the biennial congress of Societas Liturgica, the ecumenical academy. They have now expanded into major meetings with broad representation every four years, and small conferences at the intervening two-year points. They have the disadvantage of a self-selecting system of representation which favours affluent regions of the Communion. On the other hand, they have the advantage of a much broader range of expertise than a small commission could hope to assemble, and they create a large network of informed participants who can carry their message more deeply into the church’s life.

The continued effectiveness of the Consultations depends on at least three factors. First, sufficient Provincial support to make it possible for an authentic representation of the Communion to be present at their deliberations, and to enable the Steering Committee to meet and perform its tasks. Second, commitment on the part of Provincial leadership to study and respond to the documents they produce. And third, initiative on the part of Provincial leadership in identifying areas of concern for their closer attention.

Paul Gibson
14 February 2000

Addendum by Scully: The Berkeley meeting of IALC in 2001 issued the statement “To Equip the Saints: Anglican Ordination Rites” (available on the Anglican Communion website, under “Liturgy”). A meeting of the IALC in 2003 at Cuddeston, UK was held on the topic of “Liturgical Formation of the People of God”. Papers from this meeting are also available on the Communion website. The topic of the 2005 Consultation was “Anglican Identity and Liturgical Uniformity”. A ‘green paper’ from that meeting will be available by late Autumn 2005.


Children and Communion, Grove Books Limited, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1985.

A Kingdom of Priests: Liturgical Formation of the People of God, ed. Thomas J. Talley, Grove Books, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1988.

Findings of the Third International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1989.

Liturgical Inculturation in the Anglican Communion, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Nottingham, 1990.

Anglican Liturgical Inculturation in Africa, ed. David Gitari, Grove Books Limited, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1994.

Christian Initiation in the Anglican Communion, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Bramcott, Nottingham, 1991.

Growing in Newness of Life: Christian initiation in Anglicanism today, ed. David R. Holeton, Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, 1993.

Revising the Eucharist: Groundwork for the Anglican Communion, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1994.

Renewing the Anglican Eucharist, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1996.

Children at the Table, ed. Ruth A. Meyers, The Church Hymnal Corporation, New York, 1995.

Anglican Orders and Ordinations, ed., David R. Holeton, Alcuin/GROW Liturgical Study 39, Cambridge, Grove Books, 1997.

[1] Children and Communion, Grove Books Limited, 1985, p. 2.

[2] ibid., p. 3.

[3] ibid., p. 5.

[4] Elisha Mbonigaba, “Indizenization of the Liturgy,” in A Kingdom of Priests: Liturgical Formation of the People of God, ed. Thomas J. Talley, Grove Books, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1988, p. 41.

[5] Victor R. Atta-Bafoe and Philip Tovey, “What does inculturation mean,” in Liturgical Inculturation in the Anglican Communion, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Nottingham, 1990, p. 14. The authors attribute their definition to Pedro Arrupe through A. Shorter.

[6] “The Kanamai Statement,” in Anglican Liturgical Inculturation in Africa, ed. David Gitari, Grove Books Limited, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1994, pp 37-48.

[7] ibid., p. 37.

[8] ibid., p. 50f.

[9] Christian Initiation in the Anglican Communion, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Bramcott, Nottingham, 1991, and Growing in Newness of Life: Christian initiation in Anglicanism today, ed. David R. Holeton, Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, 1993.

[10] Revising the Eucharist: Groundwork for the Anglican Communion, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1994.

[11] Renewing the Anglican Eucharist: Findings of the Fifth International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1996, p. 5.

[12] The Principles and Recommendations have been reordered, with headings, in appropriate groups. The original order is indicated by numbers in brackets. See Renewing the Anglican Eucharist, p. 6f.

[13] Findings of the Third International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, ed. David R. Holeton, Grove Books, Bramcote, Nottingham, 1989.