Two important resolutions for Anglican-Pentecostal/Charismatic relations were passed by the 1998 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops.
The first resolved to seek a formal dialogue process with the classic Pentecostal Denominations. The second, resolved to improve understanding and encounter of New Churches and Independent Christian Groups (i.e. Churches, Groups and Communities that do not have a visible ecclesial connection with an historic denomination or alliance in England this would include New Frontiers, Pioneer, Vineyard networks as well as groups having no apparent linkage to a wider movement). The latter resolution emerged from a moving series of debates in which the Bishops in the Called to be One section of the Conference moved from expressing a sense of threat from new churches suddenly appearing in their dioceses to a will for communication, understanding and relationship.
The first resolution is being pursued by the Inter-Anglican Commission on Ecumenical Relations. The second is being pursued by a more informal group chaired by the Bishop of Ely (who chaired the Called to be One section of the Conference) from the Church of England. Details of the first meeting of the Group follow. As can be seen from the Bishop of Elys Statement, the Group is in the process of gathering information and guidance.
By now the Primates of the Anglican Communion should have replied to the Ely Statement. However, assistance is sought from anyone who would like to affirm and encourage this new and important ecumenical process. Those who would like to support this initiative (especially those with research interests in this field, experience in this area of dialogue, leadership roles in New Churches and Independent Church Groups etc.) are invited to contact Dr Chris Cocksworth, the originator of this note and a member of the Group email@example.com or Dr Bridget Nichols, the Bishop of Elys research assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
[STATEMENT TO BE SENT TO PRIMATES OF THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION, BISHOP JABEZ BRYZE & BISHOP FRENCH CHANG-HIM]
investigate ways and means of monitoring the development of New Churches and Independent Christian Groups, studying their characteristics, and offering advice to provinces and dioceses about initiating and developing relationships with them. (Resolution IV.25)
In response to this, an informal group of people with specialist experience in various aspects of this growing field of ecumenism met in London on 15 January 1999. [A list of participants is attached]. The lively discussion which ensued convinced them that significant resources existed to advance an open-textured initiative, as a contribution towards the implementation of the resolution.
The group also recognised that the planning and development of the initiative required the active participation of church people and Christian scholars from all parts of the Anglican Communion, and embarked on steps to achieve that objective. It is fully open to, and wishes to learn about, resources in and enquiries carried out by other churches and institutions of higher education.
The groups first task is to explore as fully as possible the range of existing contacts known to each member, and to report on initial reactions at a second meeting in London, arranged for 14 May 1999. We consider ourselves to be at a pre-planning stage, and are therefore open to all suggestions for advancing the initiative.
The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations will be exploring the possibility of formal conversations between the Anglican Communion and interested Pentecostal Churches, as agreed in resolution IV.21 of the Lambeth Conference. The group proposes, through Canon David Hamid, to establish communications between this initiative on New Churches and Independent Christian Groups and the Anglican Consultative Council.
At this time, however, because the implementation of the resolution is the goal of the initiative, the group particularly invites the advice and guidance of the Primates. It would be most helpful if comments, refinements and criticisms of this project could be sent to me. I would also value the names of people who should be consulted. All communications should reach me by 15 April 1999, and may be sent by post, fax or email to the following address:
The Rt Revd Stephen Sykes
The Bishops House
Cambs CB7 4DW
Fax 0044 1353 662749