Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lambeth on (new) provinces

The 1930 Lambeth Conference issued the following resolutions on the topic: "The Anglican Communion-Provincial Organisation."

Resolution 52
Saving always the moral and spiritual independence of the divine society, the Conference approves the association of dioceses or provinces in the larger unity of a "national Church," with or without the formal recognition of the civil government, as serving to give spiritual expression to the distinctive genius of races and peoples, and thus to bring more effectively under the influence of Christ's religion both the process of government and the habit of society.

Resolution 53
1. In view of the many advantages of the organisation of dioceses into provinces and the difficulties and dangers of isolation, the formation of provinces should everywhere be encouraged.
2. The minimum organisation essential to provincial life is a college or synod of bishops which will act corporately in dealing with questions concerning the faith, order and discipline of the Church.
3. The minimum number of dioceses suitable to form a province is four.
4. The balance between provincial authority and diocesan autonomy may vary from province to province according to the constitutions agreed upon in each case.

Resolution 54
Without prejudice to the provisions of any constitution already adopted by any province or regional Church, the Conference advises that when the bishops of a group of dioceses under the oversight of the Archbishop of Canterbury or attached to some other province have prepared and accepted a tentative constitution for a province, they should notify this to the authorities under which they have hitherto worked, and request that the new province be recognised as such and that they be released from obedience to other authority, as far as is necessary to enable them to subscribe to the constitution of the new province, and (if so required) take the oath of canonical obedience to its metropolitan. If this request be granted, the new province may then be formally constituted. The proper procedure would be that the bishops and clergy should subscribe to its constitution and that the bishops (if so required) should take the oath of canonical obedience to its metropolitan. The metropolitan or presiding bishop should thereupon notify all metropolitans and presiding bishops in the Anglican Communion of the formation of the province.

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