Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

An Ordo of Liturgical Consultation: The International Anglican Liturgical Consultations in 2013

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

An Ordo of Liturgical Consultation: The International Anglican Liturgical Consultations in 2013

Article excerpt

Two busloads of Anglican liturgists pulled up to the Maori church in Auckland for the opening welcoming eucharist and dinner of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC) of 2009. Upon instruction in ceremonial and protocol, the rubric-compliant liturgists sent the women of their group out of the buses first and into the church, whereupon they were met by a powerful Maori display. Women from Africa, Europe, North America, and Australia were greeted by their hosts' widely opened eyes and the ceremonial dancing of that culture, exercised in aggressive postures of intimidating strength. Having determined that it was safe for the men, the IALC women, following ceremonial, called back to them to leave the buses and come into the church. Welcome of the full group continued with joyful dancing, and then moved from the corporate to the intimate, as a reception line greeted each IALC member with a forehead-to-forehead press or greeting, and a gift of jade.

The images from this particular evening have stuck with me and seem an apt beginning for reflection on the recent life of the IALC. Auckland 2009 was an important turning point in the life of this organization. The hospitality and real presence of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia was both vessel for and pulse of the meeting. The graciousness and generosity of hospitality was not only experienced in the care of the Three-Tikanga Church for the comfort and enjoyment of the visitors, but in the boldness with which the local church presented itself, in its own diversities, and welcomed members to behold and enter into experiences of their lives-in-thatplace, as much as reflecting upon our own contexts and cultures.

There were many aspects to the backdrop to this meeting: controversy within the membership about whether the previously agreed-by-majority decision to focus on marriage rites was a good one; increasing tensions across some provinces of the Communion; the Anglican Communion Covenant process; and an awareness within the IALC of a shifting internal demographic dynamic as a younger generation-without long experience of past IALCs- was becoming more involved. Given tensions in the Communion and the fact that a good number of potential participants did not share a long history with each other, could we risk working on a topic wherein disagreements about sacramental theology might pale in comparison to the free-floating anxieties about the potential that questions of homosexuality or blessings of same-gender unions might come up? Was it safe to go in? Would it not be safer to avoid even the potential of a controversial matter sitting in the margins of a discussion?

In the end it was, in fact, safe to go in. We not only entered in, but set ourselves up to pray, and then to work, and then to pray again, within the nave of Holy Trinity Cathedral. The work accomplished was short of full-another full IALC meeting would be necessary in 2011 to complete the work on rites relating to marriage-but some things happened within that meeting that mark a shift in the life of the IALC. In what follows I shall reflect further on this recent history, and wonder aloud about some future possibilities.1


The International Anglican Liturgical Consultations gather liturgists and liturgical theologians from the provinces of the Communion for focused study of particular liturgical issues and for the building up of Communion life through the sharing of resources and insights across the provinces. They have been prolific in providing resources on critical matters for Anglican life and worship which have guided provinces in their own liturgical lives and the production of revised prayer books. From matters relating to initiation rites and the admission of children to the eucharist, the shape of the eucharist, and ordination rites to reflections on liturgical formation of the whole people of God and the inculturation of worship, IALC documents bring together high quality in scholarship and reflection on pastoral practice. …

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