The College of Bishops for the Anglican Church in North America met January 7 – 11 in Orlando, FL to examine the ways in which they may continue working together in the unity of Christ while honoring the diversity of the dioceses.
During their time together, the College approved a Method of Procedure for the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders. As originally reported in the communique from the College of Bishops, the Method of Procedures includes the following steps:
- Phase 1 of this five-phase procedure was to identify and appoint bishops and other scholars to the Task Force. This is now complete. At each subsequent phase, there will a report to and dialogue with the full College of Bishops.
- Phase 2 now begins. The Task Force will explore how the Authority of Scripture functions in the Church, addressing hermeneutical issues and the role of the Church’s Tradition in biblical interpretation.
- Phase 3 will explore the nature of the Church, clarifying the meaning of ordained Ministry and considering how the structure of the Church’s ordained Ministry relates to the whole.
- In Phase 4 the Task Force will discuss the arguments, pro and con, related to the ordination of women, considering the relevant Scriptural texts and historical arguments, and reviewing studies conducted within and without the Anglican tradition.
- In Phase 5 the Task Force will submit a report to the GAFCON/FCA International Theological Commission (ITC).
- Following a review of comments received from GAFCON/FCA, the ITC and the ecumenical partners of the ACNA, the final report and recommendations of the Task Force will be submitted to the College of Bishops.
Subsequent to the approval of this Method of Procedures, members of the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders met for the first time on 17 January via conference call. During the call, they began to discuss the focus of Phase 2 by identifying important questions regarding the interpretation of Holy Scripture.
Leading the Task Force is the Rt. Rev. David Hicks, REC Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
“The Task Force members are deeply mindful of the great privilege and responsibility that they have in assisting the College of Bishops in this very important discussion,” said Bishop Hicks.
The members of the Task Force are the Rt. Rev. Kevin Allen, Diocese of Cascadia; Mrs. Katherine Atwood, Diocese of Ft. Worth; The Rev. Dr. Leslie Fairfield, Diocese in New England, Trinity Seminary (Ret.); The Rev. Canon Mary Hays, Diocese of Pittsburgh; The Rev. Tobias Karlowicz, Diocese of Quincy; and The Rt. Rev. Eric Menees, Diocese of San Joaquin.
Bishop Hicks requested the prayers of the Province in support of their work, “Please pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we pursue our work and for safe travel when we gather together in the coming months.”