Liturgy ‘essential to church’s mission’

The Rev. Eileen Scully, director of faith, worship and ministry, and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald. Photo: Harvey Shepherd
The Rev. Eileen Scully, director of faith, worship and ministry, and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald. Photo: Harvey Shepherd
Published August 14, 2015

The International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC), a network of the Anglican Communion, has issued a communiqué summarizing its 2015 biennial meeting, held in Montreal, Aug. 3-8.

The network, which met in Dublin in 2013, reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening the spiritual exchange between the churches of the Anglican Communion “by renewing its life of liturgy and prayer as integral to the mission of the Church.”

Among the IALC summary’s many observations is the distinct move in several Communion provinces toward revising prayer books, hymnals and liturgical texts-a task often hampered by inadequate human and financial resources.

The document also points to emerging concerns about the inadequacy of contemporary liturgical formation for clergy and lay leaders, with training in this aspect of worship no longer seen as a priority in seminaries and ministry training programs.

Adopting revised guidelines for governance, IALC rearticulated its purpose. It stressed its central roles of advising Communion provinces on questions of liturgy and common prayer, and encouraging inter-province conversations on liturgical theology and practice. It also committed to reviewing developments in liturgical formation and practice with the Anglican Communion’s ecumenical partners and to aiding Anglican provinces making new proposals in these areas.

Continuing the healing and reconciliation theme of the Dublin meeting, the Montreal gathering concluded that the journey toward reconciliation should include “ritual moments and symbolic enactments.” To that end, the consultation committed to producing appropriate guidelines for these by exploring relevant biblical texts, the theology of reconciliation and baptismal identity, and liturgical frameworks for rites of corporate reconciliation. In this area, the group expects to work in partnership with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Consultation on Peace and Conflict Prevention.

Attendees included Anglican and Episcopal church representatives from Southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Melanesia, Polynesia, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Southern Africa, South America, Canada, the United States, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The Anglican Communion office was represented by its director of unity, faith and order, Canon John Gibaut of the diocese of Ottawa. Anglican Church of Canada attendess included the primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz; National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald; and the Rev. Eileen Scully, director of faith, worship and ministry.

Editor’s Note: This story’s headline has been changed from Consultation centralizes liturgical life, to Liturgy ‘essential to church’s mission.’ Event organizers noted that the meeting did not centralize liturgy “rather much the opposite, we are bringing diversities into consultation with one another.”


  • Diana Swift

    Diana Swift is an award-winning writer and editor with 30 years’ experience in newspaper and magazine editing and production. In January 2011, she joined the Anglican Journal as a contributing editor.

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