Global Relationships

The Church in the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) participates at the global level in two separate but related fora, namely at the ecumenical level and within the worldwide Anglican forum.

ECUMENICAL

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The Church in the Province of the West Indies is a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) which was formed in 1948 as an international ecumenical institution. The Anglican Communion along with 143 other churches participated as founding members. With the exception of the Roman Catholic Church, WCC includes all the main denominations of the Western World and nearly all of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and other Orthodox Churches. In 1961, the WCC amended its constitution so that the Council was defined as “A fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

The WCC is served by a Presidium, a representative Assembly meeting at six or seven yearly intervals, a Central Committee meeting annually, an Executive Committee and departmental committees.

Although the Roman Catholic Church is not a member of WCC, since 1961 the Vatican has appointed accredited observers to Assemblies and Central Committee; in 1965 a Joint Working Group was established between the Vatican and the WCC to questions of common concern, and in 1968 the Roman Catholic Church accepted full membership of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC.

While most of the WCC’s work is advisory, it has created a number of administrative units, of which the largest is the Division of Inter-Church Aid, Refugee and World Service. The Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, formed in 1947 and enjoying consultative status with the United Nations, is an integral part of the WCC, as is the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey. The headquarters of the WCC is located in Geneva.

 

ANGLICAN COMMUNION

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Members of the Church in the Province of the West Indies participate in Anglican Communion affairs at three levels, namely Lambeth Conferences, Primates’ Meetings and meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council.

LAMBETH CONFERENCES

Lambeth Conferences are assemblies of the bishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion held about once every ten years. The Conference is hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury who issues invitations to all Diocesan Bishops and some Suffragan Bishops. The first Lambeth Conference was held in 1867 at Lambeth Palace and presided over by Archbishop Longley. The Conference cannot legislate or make binding decisions on behalf of the member Provinces of the Communion. The Resolutions of the Conference, though not binding, are significant expressions of the opinion of the Anglican bishops attending the Conference.

The last Lambeth Conference was held at Canterbury in 2008. To-date, all the conferences have been held in the United Kingdom.

THE ANGLICAN CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL (ACC)

Unique among the International Anglican Instruments of Unity, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) includes laity among its members. The inclusion of the laity in decision-making bodies has long been a principle of Anglican life. Thus, the royal priesthood of the entire people of God (1Peter 2:9), and the mutuality and interdependence of the various ministries within the church, are witnessing to and affirmed.

The mission of the Anglican Consultative Council is to represent the concerns of the Communion, in the Communion and for the Communion. Most of the work of the ACC is effected through its meetings which are held approximately every three years and through its Standing Committee assisted by the day-to-day activities of the General Secretariat of the Communion and the Communion Secretariat.

THE PRIMATES MEETING

The Primates Meeting, the youngest of the International Anglican Instruments of Unity, provides the opportunity for mutual counsel and pastoral care and support of one another and of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Membership in the Primates meeting is comprised of the archbishops of the 39 interdependent provinces of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the host of each meeting.

The Primates Meeting provides a place between Lambeth Conferences for each of the primates to share the burning or persistent issues of their provinces and on primatial ministry. The Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies is automatically a member of the Primates Meeting.