The Anglican Church of Canada’s Faith, Worship and Ministry (FWM) Committee is hoping the next General Synod will see a full communion agreement with another denomination: the Moravians, Council of General Synod (CoGS) heard Nov. 8.
Since 2001, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) have been in full communion, allowing clergy of each church to serve congregations of the other. In 2019, General Synod passed a resolution expanding this, recognizing full communion among all four major Anglican and Lutheran churches in Canada and the U.S.
One of the “bonus effects” of this agreement is that it raised the possibility of exploring relationships with the counterparts in Canada of the U.S. Anglican and Lutheran churches’ other communion partners, the Rev. Scott Sharman, the Anglican Church of Canada’s animator for ecumenical and interfaith relations, told CoGS. Among these partners is the Moravian Unity, an international denomination with three jurisdictions in Canada. Both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church are in full communion with the Moravian Church.
FWM, Sharman said, has approved initial steps toward creating a task group for exploring a relationship with the Moravians in Canada—possibly culminating in full communion at the next General Synod, which will be a joint assembly with the ELCIC.
“If things go well in those conversations, our hope is that this task group would have a proposal to come back to CoGS for some further review, with a view that perhaps at Assembly 2022, when we gather with the ELCIC in common council, and as part of marking the end of the 20th anniversary celebrations of full communion between those two churches, we might discern together stepping into a third decade of full communion—by taking action to … extend the circle of full communion to another Christian community,” he said.
Like the Anglican Communion, the Moravian Church was born out of the reforming movements of the early modern era, and like it—but unlike many Protestant churches—it has an episcopal structure, with bishops, deacons and presbyters. It has congregations in 38 countries, including 19 congregations in Canada, Sharman said.