The Archbishop of Canterbury last month dropped his first hint that this summer’s meeting of the world’s 500 bishops will be a major turning point for the Anglican Communion. Some have suggested that the 1968 Lambeth Conference will be the last, and Archbishop A. Michael Ramsey said, “It is impossible now to prejudge what decisions may be made about the future role of Lambeth Conferences,” which have been held every ten years for the past century.
Ramsey also said the 1968 meeting will make decisions about the future organization of the Anglican Communion and “its relation to the wider ecumenical movement.” In many nations, Anglican bodies are involved in merger talks, though suspicions lurk that when the moment of decision comes, some of them may get cold feet. The parent Church of England is supposedly nearing merger with the Methodists. The Anglican Church of Canada is talking officially about 1974 merger with the United Church and gets a report this June on possibilities for intercommunion before that. But some pro-union Anglicans fear the whole thing is bogging down. In the United States, the Episcopal Church is a pivotal factor in the nine-way Consultation on Church Union, which meets again the last week of this month.
A delegate to closed-door talks between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion revealed last month that a report not yet released by Pope Paul and Archbishop Ramsey will recommend practical measures for the growing together of the two communions. This plotting of a course in the direction of unity, said Professor Eugene Fairweather of Toronto, was settled at the third joint meeting, which closed January 3.
Along with discussions of unity, signs of Anglican ...1
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