The four instruments
of unity are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates Meeting,
the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).
The Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury remains a Diocesan Bishop who has
special responsibilities within the Church of England and also
has an historic place and responsibility within the wider Communion.
As the organization has come under pressure there has been a desire
to make the role of Canterbury more significant. This ranges from
the inclusion of the Bishop of Dover in the House of Bishops to
the proposals that within the Communion he have much more power.
This tendency would alter significantly the ecclesiological basis
of the Communion and would self consciously and disastrously mimic
See page on Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Primates Meeting and Lambeth Conference
The Primates Meeting and the Lambeth
Conference have both been
seen by orthodox Anglicans as a source of encouragement though
it is clear that there is an imbalance, particularly in the latter,
caused by the relatively large numbers of Bishops in the North
America and the UK.
Anglican Consultative Council
Consultative Council is intended to be a representative
body including Clergy and Laity. Each province of the
Anglican Communion chooses up to three members to serve on
the ACC. The Council in turn appoints a Secretary-General who
acts as an executive officer for the ACC and runs the Anglican
Communion Office located in Paddington, London.
The Council meets ever
two or three years and appoints a standing committee to conduct
business in the interim. In principle it is a forum for both
lay and clergy to participate in the mechanisms of the Communion
as distinct from the Primates gathering and the Lambeth Conference.
In reality there is a widespread perception that ACC has been
hijacked by radical liberals. The work of the Council and
the Anglican Communion Office have been substantially funded
from North American sources. Furthermore, there has been
a problem that representatives from the global south have not
been accustomed to the political games played by most of the
liberals from the UK and North America.
According to the ACO
the work of the ACC includes:
about developments in the provinces and to serve as an instrument
of common action, often by resolutions or initiating programs.
Advising on inter-Anglican relationships and formations of
Sharing resources of all kinds and support for the mission
of the global church.
To engage in important ecumenical dialogues and interfaith
work on an international level."
These four instruments of unity have a purpose and a place
but they all have to do with the organization and as such can
never be the basis of true unity in the Coummunion.