A094 Communion Across Difference

In light of the serious constraints placed upon the first Task Force on Communion across Difference by the Coronavirus pandemic, the 80th General Convention directed the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies to appoint a second iteration of that task force to continue its important work. In its explanation for its proposed resolution seeking another triennium in which to work, the original task force reported that “[m]embers of the current Task Force believe that building the kind of relationships needed to take this work further were severely hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic and our inability to meet face to face.” That observation proved to be correct. With the benefit of two in-person gatherings the Task Force on Communion across Difference was able to make remarkable headway on the issues implicated in its mandate – and its members were able to build collegial and respectful relationships of trust and goodwill with each other.

Nevertheless, the shortened time frame available for committee work between the 80th and 81st General Conventions presented a constraint of its own. The liturgical and canonical concerns raised by this task force are unlikely to be permanently resolved by a single General Convention. The principles for a sustainable path forward that have been articulated in our Blue Book Report to this Convention will need to be fleshed out and applied to new situations. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the work of building relationships across difference remains crucial, and it requires more time and the contributions of more voices. The members of the second Task Force on Communion Across Difference believe that this crucial work calls for a task force to have a full triennium in which to work and pray together in person, collaborate with other interim bodies, consult with Anglicans from around the world, and reflect on all that unites us – without papering over or discounting the reality of our differences.