Friday, April 24, 2009

Bishops’ Statement on the Polity of the Episcopal Church

[The Anglican Communion Institute] 24 Apr 2009--We write as Bishops of The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion and the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. We are joined by distinguished theologians known for their long service throughout the Anglican Communion.

The Historic Episcopate has always been recognized as an essential non-negotiable element of our Anglican identity, including by the Bishops of The Episcopal Church “in Council assembled as Bishops in the Church of God” and recorded in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Bishops are successors to the apostles and upon their consecration receive the authority and responsibility inherent in the sacred and unbroken apostolic office. The people of God are united in one local church by their communion with their Bishop, and through the communion of all the Bishops in a college of Bishops the people of God around the world are joined in one communion. Resolution 49 of the 1930 Lambeth Conference, quoted in part in the preamble to our Constitution, notes that the Anglican Communion consists of “those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury” that are “bound together not by a central legislative and executive authority, but by mutual loyalty sustained through the common counsel of the bishops in conference.”

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