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Plans for a United Anglican PRovince

Posted on: June 13, 1997 11:02 AM
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Plans are underway to create a new Anglican Province of Continental Europe which will unite the existing parallel jurisdictions.

All the Anglican/Episcopal bishops on the Continent have given the proposal their backing. The bishops met at the end of May and "agreed to begin a process of consultation with the clergy and laity of our respective jurisdictions, with our Metropolitans...and with the Anglican Consultative Council."

The bishops warn that the process of becoming a province cannot be hurried. "It will require a gradual growing together of clergy and congregations, an increasing sharing of resources and insights, and the securing of adequate funding."

At the moment in Europe the Church of England has its diocese in Europe under Bishop Hind: the Episcopal Church in the United States of America has its own diocese in Europe; and in Spain and Portugal, these exist alongside the Spanish Reformed Church and the Lusitanian Church of Portugal. In addition, there are other Churches in Communion with the See of Canterbury: The Old Catholics Churches and the Churches in the Nordic Baltic region that have signed the Porvoo Agreement.

The bishops also say "It is our belief, that Catholic order requires there to be only one bishop in each place. In a pluralistic context like Europe, however, where there are great differences of culture, it is important that the episcopate be adjusted to serve the diverse needs of people of different cultures. Proposals for overcoming the problem of parallel jurisdictions must not lead to a narrow uniformity or to the suppression of that legitimate diversity which is such a valued part of our Anglican tradition."

The bishops will now seek the support of the 1998 Lambeth Conference in their desire to move towards closer relations.