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A gift yet to be received: presbyteral confirmation and Anglican-Lutheran relations in Canada.


The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) have been in a relationship of full communion since 2001. To be in full communion, in the context of Anglican-Lutheran relations, "means that churches become interdependent while remaining autonomous. One is not elevated to be the judge of the other, nor can it remain insensitive to the other. ... Thus the corporate strength of the churches is enhanced in love, and an isolated independence restrained." (1)

Therefore, while each church maintains its own autonomy, it also fully recognizes the catholicity and apostolicity of the other full-communion partner and commits itself to integrate its ecclesial life into that of the other church. In practical terms, this means that Anglicans and Lutherans in Canada can share the eucharist together, use each other's authorized liturgical resources, participate in each other's ordinations, and will regularly consult each other in decision-making. Anglican and Lutheran clergy may also serve interchangeably in either church.

The last of those implications has resulted not only in Anglican clergy serving in Lutheran congregations, and vice versa, but also in the establishment--either through mergers or church-planting--of fully integrated "Joint Anglican and Lutheran Congregational Ministries." (2) Currently more than fifty congregations across Canada are either served by a priest/pastor of the other tradition or have become "blended parishes." (3)

In the dozen years since full communion between the ELCIC and the ACC was established, both churches have been growing into the agreement and its implications for their respective ecclesial lives. In many respects, it is these blended communities--or those served by clergy of the other tradition--that have been on the leading edge of this growth into full communion, encountering some of the pastoral, juridical, or ecclesiological issues not fully anticipated by "Called to Full Communion: The Waterloo Declaration," (4) the agreement that brought the two churches into formal relationship.

One of those issues is confirmation. Both the Anglican and Lutheran traditions continue to administer confirmation as a rite of Christian initiation, typically to young people in their early or middle teens, although, since their respective separations from the Roman see, these churches have ceased to consider it a sacrament. While both churches share a common understanding of the meaning and purpose of confirmation, they differ in the manner of its administration. Lutherans have, like most other churches, delegated the authority to administer confirmation to presbyters (pastors). In Anglicanism, however, the authority to confirm continues to reside exclusively with the order of bishops. This arguably obscure liturgical difference has become the unlikely source of tension in an ecclesial relationship that until now has produced little obvious conflict.

This divergence in practice has led to an impasse in the establishment of joint guidelines on confirmation between the two churches, largely because of the refusal of the ACC's House of Bishops to permit any Anglican priest from presiding over a service of confirmation, even if that priest is serving within the context of an ELCIC congregation, where confirmation administered by pastors is normative.

This situation has pastoral, liturgical, sacramental, canonical, and ecclesiological dimensions, as well as potentially wider implications for the health and integrity of the full-communion relationship between Canada's Anglicans and Lutherans. It is also an example of how one church's engagement with another church has the potential to change its own practice as a result of that ecumenical relationship. I will therefore use this essay to explore briefly similarities and differences in the understanding and practice of confirmation in the Anglican and Lutheran traditions, relate those differences to the current deadlock in establishing joint guidelines on confirmation, and suggest a possible way forward by appealing to the method of receptive ecumenism.

To do so I will draw from "Called to Full Communion," as well as the records of proceedings and other documents of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission, the bilateral body charged with nurturing and overseeing the full-communion relationship between the ELCIC and the ACC. Interviews were conducted with three key Anglicans involved in the confirmation discussions. I will refer to some internal Anglican reflections on the place of the rite of confirmation in that communion's tradition, particularly the recommendations of the International Anglican Liturgical Commission. I will also make reference to recent contributions in the area of receptive ecumenism.

I. Current Confirmation Practices in the Anglican and Lutheran Traditions

Both Canadian Anglicans and Lutherans today understand confirmation to be a rite of Christian initiation that may complement--but in no sense "completes"-- one's baptism. Both churches affirm that baptism is the unique means by which an individual is sacramentally incorporated into the church's membership. Confirmation can play "a continuing pastoral role in the renewal of faith among the baptized" (5) and "is a pastoral and educational ministry of the church that helps the baptized through Word and Sacrament to identify more deeply with the Christian community and participate more fully in its mission." (6) However, both Lutherans and Anglicans are careful to guard the primacy of baptism in any hierarchy of rites of Christian initiation, (7) so much so, that in the ELCIC's latest liturgical revision, the rite for confirmation is titled "Affirmation of Baptism," and the word "confirmation" is found only once, parenthetically in a rubric. (8)

The two traditions share other similarities in their confirmation practices. Candidates for confirmation are typically in their early or middle teens, and it is most often the local parish priest/pastor (sometimes in collaboration with a catechist or other lay members of the congregation) who prepares the confirmands through a process of formation intended to deepen their understanding of, and engagement with, their Christian faith. Liturgically, the Anglican and Lutheran rites are very similar, both including a public reaffirmation of the candidate's baptismal vows, a promise by the gathered community to support the confirmands in the living out of their (renewed) baptismal promises, a laying on of hands, and an invocation of the Holy Spirit. Where Anglicans and Lutherans differ is on the question of whose hands should be laid upon the confirmand's head and whose prayer should be invoking the Spirit. In other words: Who ought to be the minister of the rite of confirmation?

Following the Reformation, Anglicans and Lutherans took divergent paths when it came to the question of who administers confirmation. The Church of England continued the practice of confirmation much as it had before the break with Rome, including reserving the rite to bishops. The 1549 Book of Common Prayer, the first post-Reformation prayer book, instructs that confirmands "bee brought to the Bushop by one that shalbee his godfather or godmother, that euerye childe maye haue a wittenesse of hys confirmation. And the Bushop shal confirme them on this wyse." (9) Lutherans, on the other hand, could find no scriptural warrant for the rite of confirmation, so it was quickly relegated to the category of adiaphora. Even so, Martin Luther himself eventually gave an admittedly half-hearted endorsement of the rite: "Confirmation should not be observed as the bishops desire it. Nevertheless we do not find fault if every pastor examines the faith of the children to see whether it is good and sincere, lays hands on them, and confirms them. (10) Since that time it is the local pastor who has been the normative minister of confirmation in Lutheran congregations.

II. Joint Confirmation Guidelines

As noted above, this divergent practice has become an issue only since the advent of "blended" Anglican-Lutheran parishes and of ELCIC congregations being served by an Anglican priest, both eventualities made possible as a result of the full-communion agreement brokered by the two churches in 2001. In the former situation it was a question of which church's custom would be followed in the confirmation of the blended parish's candidates. In the latter the question became whether an Anglican priest's functioning in the role of de facto Lutheran pastor could extend to serving as the minister of confirmation, even if this was not a rite over which he or she could preside in his or her own church.

The reality of the need for guidelines on this new pastoral situation was brought to the attention of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission (JALC) in 2006. A study of the question ensued, and in 2009 the following recommendations were made by JALC to both churches:

With the permission of the Diocesan and Synodical bishops, the congregation may choose to use an Anglican rite, a Lutheran rite, or a blended service combining the two traditions.

Confirmation in single-tradition congregations:

1. In a Lutheran congregation the local cleric confirms all candidates, whether Anglican or Lutheran.

2. In an Anglican congregation, a bishop, whether Anglican or Lutheran, confirms all candidates.

Confirmation in a joint Anglican/Lutheran Parish with candidates from one or both traditions:

The bishops, in consultation with the congregation, shall choose one of the following options:

L All candidates shall be confirmed by a bishop and the local cleric by the joint and concurrent laying on of hands;

2. All candidates shall be confirmed by a bishop, whether Anglican or Lutheran;

3. Anglican candidates shall be confirmed by a bishop, whether Anglican or Lutheran, and Lutheran candidates by the local cleric, whether Anglican or Lutheran. (11)

As presented, the proposed guidelines would allow for the possibility of an Anglican priest, serving either an ELCIC congregation or a blended Anglican-Lutheran parish, to serve as the minister of confirmation through the customary laying on of hands and invocation of the Holy Spirit.

The ELCIC's National Church Council, the highest governing body of that church between National Conventions, quickly adopted the guidelines. However, JALC's proposals encountered an obstacle when presented to the ACC's House of Bishops. It took until 2012 for the Anglican bishops to respond formally to JALC's proposed guidelines. They did so in the form of a letter from the primate of the ACC (who serves as the president of the House of Bishops) to JALC's co-chairs. The letter included an amended version of the proposed guidelines that, according to the primate, "honours the tradition of a full rostered Lutheran pastor confirming Lutherans, withholds that authority from an Anglican cleric, [and] ensures that Anglicans are confirmed by a bishop, Anglican or Lutheran." (12)

The letter itself contained no rationale or explanation for the suggested changes. However, it appears the Anglican bishops' principal concern, as related by the national staff person who serves the House of Bishops, was that they "didn't feel they had the authority to change what they thought was an Anglican Communion-wide practice," (13) namely, allowing someone other than a bishop to administer the rite of confirmation, even under the exceptional circumstances envisioned by the guidelines. This understanding of the bishops' reservations was reiterated by the Anglican co-chair of JALC, Dean Peter Wall, who presented the proposed confirmation guidelines to a meeting of the House of Bishops: "They were concerned about the risk involved of delegating confirmation to anyone other than a bishop," he said, adding that he had heard a number of bishops voice "concern about the Anglican Church of Canada's doing something that might seem to other members of the Anglican Communion as somewhat unacceptable or strange." Wall also believed that issues of episcopal identity were a factor in the bishops' reluctance to consider delegating confirmation to priests: "I think bishops are concerned about their role vis-a-vis parishes if they're not out there confirming all the time." (14)

In his letter the primate expressed the hope that the passage of the guidelines, as amended by the House of Bishops, "goes smoothly" through the ELCIC's National Church Council (which had already approved JALC's initial version) and its Anglican counterpart, the Council of General Synod. However, because of the lack of consensus, the guidelines remain in a state of limbo.

III. An Attempt to Address the Anglican Bishops' Concerns

I will address briefly the concerns voiced by the House of Bishops with regard to the proposed joint confirmation guidelines. However, it is worth first noting that the nature of their concerns is chiefly ecclesiological (proceeding with a change in pastoral practice without the consent of the wider Anglican Communion) and pastoral (how delegation of confirmation to priests would impact the bishops' relationship with the local churches in their dioceses). The bishops raise no theological objection against confirmation administered by priests, perhaps because it would be difficult to form one.

It was not until the fourth century that what Anglicans and Lutherans would today understand as confirmation came to exist as a stand-alone rite of Christian initiation. Until that time new believers were baptized, anointed, or had hands laid on them (that is, confirmed), and received their first communion in succession at the same liturgical celebration presided over by the local bishop. As the church grew and the number of baptismal candidates multiplied, bishops were unable to preside personally at the baptism of every new believer. The Western church's solution to this reality was to delegate baptism to presbyters and postpone the anointing and/or laying on of hands until the next episcopal visitation: "What had once been scarcely distinguishable elements in the baptismal complex were performed at different times by different ministers." (15) This is the practice that the churches of the Anglican Communion continue to follow.

The churches of the East, however, chose to maintain the unity of the baptism-chrismation-first communion sequence while still preserving an episcopal role within it, albeit an indirect one. As in the West, baptism was delegated to presbyters, but so, too, was the chrismation rite. The local bishop still participated in the liturgy by having previously consecrated the oil used to anoint the newly baptized. Orthodox churches still observe this practice.

The Roman Catholic Church also makes provision for its priests to confer "this sacrament [confirmation] validly." (16) Although it technically remains normative for the local bishop to be the minister of confirmation, the ordinary may delegate this rite to a presbyter "if necessity requires it," (17) a practice that has been increasingly widespread since the 1970's.

The world's two largest communions of churches, both of which are episcopal in their ecclesiology and governance, have found no theological barriers in the delegation of confirmation to priests. The same is true of Lutheran churches with a historic episcopate, such as the ELCIC. "We [Anglicans] are the last ones to hold onto the episcopal chokehold on that." (18) As a result, precedent exists within the wider church for such a practice. Far from innovating, Anglicans would be joining a pastoral and liturgical tradition that is at least 1, 500 years old. Nevertheless, presbyteral confirmation would represent an innovation within the practice of the churches of the Anglican Communion, and this appears to be the Canadian bishops' chief preoccupation regarding the joint-confirmation guidelines. However, it would not be the first time the ACC has been out of step with (or, depending on one's perspective, one step ahead of) the Anglican Communion on a question of pastoral practice.

For example, the Canadian church authorized the remarriage of divorced people within the church in 1967, notwithstanding the most recent Lambeth Conference's reiteration of its view that "the marriage of one whose former partner is still living may not be celebrated according to the rites of the Church, unless it has been established that there exists no marriage bond recognised by the Church." (19) Similarly, the ACC proceeded with authorizing the ordination of women as priests in 1975, even though the latest Lambeth Conference had admitted that "the theological arguments as at present presented for and against the ordination of women to the priesthood are inconclusive." (20) More recently, individual dioceses in the Canadian church have been given tacit permission to move ahead with the blessing of same-sex civil unions, "accepting that different local contexts call at times for different local discernment, decision and action," (21) even though the wider Anglican Communion is far from a consensus on what is perhaps the most contentious issue it has ever faced. These examples suggest that the ACC has a relatively long history of innovation within the Anglican Communion, and that pressing the case for the delegation of confirmation to presbyters would not be out of character for this province. One Canadian bishop acknowledged the legitimacy of this approach in a review of the Anglican Church of Canada's decision about the ecclesial remarriage of the divorced:
   As with other changes to tradition and practice, the received
   theological tradition came under pressure from pastoral and social
   changes. Discernment of the interpretation of scripture engaged
   with historical reflection on the nature of marriage across the
   Christian community and social realities. Different parts of the
   Anglican Communion made changes at different times with Canada near
   the forefront of changes in the 20th Century. As noted in a report
   for the Church of England in 1971, " ... it appears that the steps
   taken by the Church of Canada in 1967 are providing a pattern for
   other Churches to follow." (22)

Might presbyteral confirmation be another example of the ACC's "providing a pattern" for the rest of the Anglican Communion, its need also emerging from pastoral changes, namely, its lived experience of full communion with the ELCIC? As the Anglican co-chair of JALC stated, "It's not like we've never stood out in front of the communion with a whole bunch of things. Maybe it's time the whole communion looked at the issue of confirmation." (23)

To a certain extent the Anglican Communion already has. The 1968 Lambeth Conference invited each of the provinces "to explore the theology of baptism and confirmation in relation to the need to commission the laity for their task in the world, and to experiment in this regard." (24) The ACC established a task force on confirmation, which issued a report in 1989. The question of delegating confirmation to priests was not substantively addressed, although the task force's report did note that "there is no theological reason why this liturgical ministry could not be delegated to presbyters." It did, however, caution that any suggested change in practice "should be addressed within the larger question of the role of the episcopate in our tradition." (25)

In 1991 the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC), a periodic gathering of liturgists and liturgical theologians to which all provinces of the Anglican Communion are invited to send representatives, met in Toronto to discuss rites of Christian initiation. A portion of the consultation's deliberations was dedicated to the question of confirmation, resulting in the unambiguous recommendation that "[t]he pastoral rite of confirmation may be delegated by the bishop to a presbyter." (26) The IALC report finds no compelling reason why confirmation by priests could not at least be considered in particular circumstances, "a practice well established in the Roman Catholic Church but sufficient to cause the sky to fall in the Anglican." (27)

So, at least in the domain of the liturgists, the question of presbyteral confirmation has been on the Anglican Communion's agenda for more than twenty years. In addressing the issue, the ACC would simply be continuing and broadening a two-decades-old conversation.

The IALC report also attempts to address the House of Bishops' other, less clearly articulated concern about devolving confirmation to parish priests: that it will somehow dilute their own episcopal relationships with the parishes in their dioceses:
   ... [Questions are being raised as to how bishops will continue to
   exercise a visible ministry among the members of local
   congregations and what shape that ministry might take.

   There are some who fear that changes in confirmation practice and
   renewed emphasis on baptism might deprive episcopal ministry of its
   primary pastoral contact with the faithful. However, it must be
   stated that the Anglican tradition has a consistent liturgical
   tradition which has a broader vision of the scope of episcopal
   ministry. (28)

As examples, the IALC report suggests bishops can still exercise a visible ministry in the parishes of their dioceses through the episcopate's traditional ministries of teaching, prophetic witness, pastoral care, and presiding at other liturgies such as the eucharist, baptisms, and other "rites of commitment." Put another way, annual confirmation visitations to parishes need not--and ought not--be the only manner in which a bishop visibly exercises his or her role as chief pastor in the local churches.

However, in the view of a significant number of bishops, confirmation and parish visitations are inextricably connected. A survey of bishops of the ACC conducted by its task force on confirmation in 1990 asked them how they believed the discontinuation of confirmation altogether would "affect pastoral visitation to the parishes." One third of the thirty-three respondents said that without confirmations over which to preside the focus of their parish visits would "either change or be lost." (29) The House of Bishops' response to JALC's request suggests that this reticence around changing the episcopal relationship to confirmation remains unchanged more than twenty years later.

IV. Presbyteral Confirmation as an Ecumenical Gift?

I have attempted to demonstrate by appealing to some internal Anglican sources that a cogent case can be made for the ACC to proceed with at least a discussion about delegating confirmation to its priests within the very specific circumstances envisioned by JALC's proposed confirmation guidelines. The discussion is not new, and even if it were the Canadian church has a history of being a forerunner in attempting to respond to pastoral needs as they emerge. The Anglican co-chair of JALC said that his commission's recommendations on confirmation represent just such an attempt to respond:
   We're not doing this just because we want to be different or
   because we want to cause trouble or because we want to rub people's
   noses in it. We're doing it because we have a particular pastoral
   situation that presents itself to us in terms of our relationship
   with our full-communion partners and the very exciting and deep
   work that's being done at local parish levels, and this is a real
   bump along that road. So I think there's a good reason to do it.
   We're not simply trying to be wild and new or something. (30)

Importantly, Wall noted that the conversation about Anglican bishops' delegating the rite of confirmation to priests came as a direct result of the lived ecumenical relationship with the ELCIC. Through ecumenical dialogue, the ACC has encountered in its partner a pastoral practice at variance with its own and is faced with the possibility of receiving this practice as its own.

The late Margaret O'Gara wrote eloquently about this kind of situation, using the imagery of an exchange of gifts: "The gift exchange of ecumenical dialogue means a mutual reception of gifts for which we have been prepared by repentance and hope." (31) Canadian Anglicans and Lutherans engaged in their first formal ecumenical gift exchange with the ratification of the Waterloo Declaration in 2001. The full-communion agreement saw the ELCIC receive the outward sign of the historic succession of bishops through the laying on of hands, not to "imply an adverse judgement on a ministry which did not previously make use of the sign," but rather to give "vivid expression of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's commitment to the full visible unity of the whole Church." In exchange, Anglicans received "a renewed understanding of the relationship of the historic episcopate and apostolicity," recognizing the fullness of the ELCIC's sacraments and orders, even in the absence of the outward sign of historic episcopal succession. (32) More than a dozen years into these two churches' full-communion relationship, might Lutheranism's long-standing practice of confirmation presided over by the local pastor be the next gift Anglicans could be prepared to receive? (33)

At the moment, it appears presbyteral confirmation would more likely fall into O'Gara's category of "gifts offered but not received." (34) But, such a failure by the ACC even to consider receiving this particular Lutheran practice may be emblematic of a deeper issue related to the full-communion relationship, in the view of JALC's Anglican co-chair:
   The full-communion dialogue partner "business" is no good if it
   only compels us to do that with which we are really comfortable and
   really doesn't stretch us. The relationship is only valuable, it
   seems to me, if it compels us to look very seriously at who we are
   and why we do things. ... But if we're going to hold so tightly to
   our way of doing things, then it gives some lie to the degree of
   our commitment to the whole relationship. (35)

In his own way Wall was giving expression to the notion of receptive ecumenism, which invites dialogue partners to engage in what Paul Murray called a "JFK-style" reversal of the customary approach of ecumenical dialogue: "Ask not what your ecumenical others need to learn from you; ask rather what your tradition can learn and needs to learn from your ecumenical others." (36) What can Canadian Anglicans learn from their Lutheran full-communion partners (and Roman Catholic dialogue partners) about confirmation? Do we have something to learn about what the rite of confirmation is (or is not)? Are we being offered a renewed understanding of the ministry of bishops, specifically in how they can exercise their episcopal role among the local churches in their dioceses?

V. The Confirmation Question in the Wider Anglican-Lutheran Context

The Anglican-Lutheran partnership in Canada is one of a growing number of such full-communion partnerships around the world. However, it appears to be the first to attempt to come to terms with the two traditions' divergent practices around confirmation. Those Anglican-Lutheran agreements that mention confirmation acknowledge only differing practices between the two communions. They either did not foresee--or chose not to address--pastoral circumstances such as those being encountered in the Canadian context.

The Porvoo Common Statement, which in 1992 brought into full communion the Anglican churches of the British Isles and the Nordic and Baltic Lutheran churches, simply notes that the two traditions differ on the question of who typically administers the rite of confirmation. (37) However, in an introductory essay accompanying the publication of the statement, an Anglican consultant to the dialogue that resulted in Porvoo warned Anglicans -'to be cautious about making presbyteral confirmation a bar to closer communion, since both the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches generally confirm by the ministry of priests rather than bishops." (38) Another essay in the same collection admits that, because of the different way in which the two traditions have practiced confirmation since the Reformation, "Lutherans have difficulty in understanding the importance of the role of the bishop in connection with confirmation in the Anglican tradition." (39)

A decade after Porvoo, in its survey of bilateral relations around the world, the Anglican-Lutheran International Working Group simply noted that the two traditions' differences as to who administers confirmation represent "expressions of legitimate diversity which have been observed in different times and places throughout the whole Church." (40) The newly constituted Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee, which met for the first time in 2013, has indicated that the confirmation question may be among the topics it takes up in its current mandate.

VI. Implications for Full Communication and a possible Way Forward

What are the consequences of this impasse for the full-communion relationship between the ACC and the ELCIC? To some extent, there are none. In the absence of sanctioned guidelines, joint Anglican-Lutheran congregations will continue to have Anglican candidates confirmed by a bishop and Lutheran candidates by either a bishop or, if they are being served by one, by an ELCIC pastor. It is that very scenario that gave rise to the proposed guidelines--a desire to avoid what amounts to "two kinds of confirmation, if not two different classes of conftrmands" in the same congregation. (41) In ELCIC parishes served by an Anglican priest, candidates will continue to be confirmed by the synodical bishop.

At the same time, this impasse represents the first time since coming into full communion in 2001 that these two churches have encountered a seemingly irresolvable issue. "I think it is probably the first big ?bump,'" admits the primate of the ACC, Archbishop Fred Hiltz. "I think it is probably the first one where we've had Anglicans actually say, 'No, we're not in a position to adopt that guideline.'" (42) As noted above, such intransigence worries JALC's Anglican co-chair, who suggests it may be symptomatic of a more profound unwillingness by Anglicans to be changed as a result of their engagement with their full-communion partner. Hiltz, however, takes a more optimistic view of the bishops' reluctance to consider adopting the Lutherans' confirmation practice:
   I think, in a sense, as awkward as the conversation is, it's also a
   good example of what full communion is. It's not a merger. We don't
   have to act in the same way or think in the same way. We're two
   autonomous churches, and we choose to live in relationship with one
   another. We may not agree on everything in terms of how each of our
   churches functions. (43)

Nevertheless, the door does not seem to have been completely closed on the matter, and the "No" of the House of Bishops may not be entirely final. The response of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission to the Anglican bishops' proposed revisions to the confirmation guidelines was to suggest that, before proceeding further, there first needed to be an internal Anglican conversation about confirmation. To that end, JALC passed the following motion: "JALC is asking the Anglican Church of Canada's Faith, Worship, and Ministry [standing committee] to examine the place of confirmation in Anglican liturgical and pastoral practice and will refer further action/response to a future incarnation of JALC." (44) The primate of the ACC agreed that his denomination would benefit from such a discussion: "I think our own church has to sort out a theology of confirmation." (45)

How the ACC plans to proceed with JALC's request for a confirmation conversation has yet to be determined. Yet, the very fact that it appears that a conversation will take place is a direct result of engagement with an ecumenical partner, and it would not likely have occurred otherwise. Perhaps, that in itself is a gift that the Anglican Church of Canada is already in the process of receiving from its full-communion partner.

Bruce Myers (Anglican Church of Canada) is a student at Saint Paul University in Ottawa for the D.Min. (expected in 2017). He holds a Th.M. from Bossey Ecumenical Institute and the University of Geneva (2009); a Diploma in Ministry from Montreal Diocesan Theological College; and a Th.B. from McGill University, Montreal; with further studies at St. George's College in Jerusalem, the Canterbury Cathedral International Study Centre, and 'the University of Toronto. He interned in a Lutheran church in Montreal, an Anglican church in South Africa, and Anglican churches in Montreal. Following ordination to the diaconate and the presbyterate in 2004, he has served several churches in the Dioceses of Quebec and Toronto. In 2008-13, he was the Ecumenical Officer of the Diocese of Quebec and a territorial archdeacon. In 2009-13, he was chaplain to lay readers; and in 2011-13, Missioner for Communications in the Quebec Diocese. Since 2013, he has been Coordinator for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations of the Anglican Church of Canada and was the advisor to its delegation to the Busan World Council of Churches Assembly. He has been part of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada, 2009-11, and a member of the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee of the A.C.C.'s General Synod, 2010-11. He was a proxy for the Standing Commission of Faith and Order of the W.C.C. (2012-14) and a Minute-Taker for the Commission (2014-). His articles have appeared in Touchstone, The Ecumenical Review, and One in Christ. During 1988-2003, he held several positions as a newspaper and radio news writer, reporter, and anchor.

(1)"Report of the Anglican-Lutheran Joint Working Group," Anglican-Lutheran Agreements: Regional and International Agreements, 1972-2002, LWF Documentation 49 (Geneva: Lutheran World Federation, 2004), pp. 76-77.

(2)"Govemance Guidelines for Joint Anglican and Lutheran Congregational Ministries," October, 2011, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; available at 201 lGovemanceGuidelinesforJointAnglicanLutheranCongregationalMinistries.pdf. 458

(3) Diana Swift, "Anatomy of a Blended Parish," Anglican Journal, June 26, 2013; available at

(4) Available at waterloo_ declaration.pdf.

(5) Colin Buchanan, "Confirmation," in David R. Holeton, ed., Growing in Newness of Life: Christian Initiation in Anglicanism Today--Papers from the Fourth International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, Toronto, 1991 (Toronto: The Anglican Book Centre, 1993), p. 117 (The Recommendations, [section]c).

(6)"The Report of the Confirmation Task Force," Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; available at ask-Force-Report.cfm.

(7) This has not always been the case. Until the last couple of generations, it was common in both churches to understand confirmation as the rite of admission to participation in the eucharist. In some Lutheran congregations one could not be considered a voting member until one had been confirmed. Examples of both practices can still be found in some communities.

(8) Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), p. 234.

(9) The First and Second Prayer Books of Edward VI (London: Dent & Sons, 1968), p. 250.

(10) Confirmation, Catechesis, and First Communion in the Lutheran Church (London: Commission on Theological and Social Concerns of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England, 2002), p. 2.

(11) Guidelines for Anglican and Lutheran Bishops, Priests, and Pastors Regarding Confirmations in Shared Ministry Congregations (Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission, 2009).

(12) Fred Hiltz, letter to co-chairs of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission, May 28, 2012.

(13) Archdeacon Paul Feheley, Principal Secretary to the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, interview by author, in Toronto, December 20, 2013.

(14) Dean Peter Wall, co-chair of the Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission, interview by author, in Toronto, December 19, 2013.

(15) See confirmation, in F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd ed. rev. (Oxford, U.K., and New York: Oxford University Press 1997 [orig., 1957]), p. 399.

(16) Code of Canon Law, canon 882: available at P32 HTM.

(17) lbid., canon 884, [section]1.

(18) Wall interview. As if to reinforce the episcopacy's proprietorship of confirmation further, the rite for confirmation in the Canadian Book of Alternative Services is included in the section labeled "Episcopal Offices," nowhere near the baptismal liturgies.

(19)"Resolution 94: The Church's Discipline in Marriage," The Lambeth Conference Official Website; available at The resolution was reaffirmed by Resolution 119 of the 1958 Lambeth Conference ( resolutions/1958/1958-119.cffn).

(20)"Resolution 34: Ordination of Women to the Priesthood," The Lambeth Conference Official Website; available at

(21)"Sexuality Discernment Statement, General Synod 2010," Anglican Church of Canada; available at

(22) Linda Nicholls, "Divorce and Remarriage in the Anglican Church of Canada: An Example of Change in Doctrine and Practice"; available at, p. 2; and in The Galilee Report (Primate's Theological Commission, 2009), p. 180.

(23) Wall interview.

(24)"Resolution 25: The Ministry - The Laity," The Lambeth Conference Official Website; available at

(25) Report of the Confirmation Task Force of the Anglican Church of Canada (Toronto: ABC Pub lishing, 1989), p. 19.

(26)"Walk in Newness of Life: The Findings of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, Toronto, 1991," in Holeton, Growing in Newness of Life, p. 229 (Principles of Christian Initiation, [section]g).

(27) Buchanan, "Confirmation," p. 120 ([section]4).

(28)"Walk in Newness of Life." p. 249 ([section][section]33-34).

(29) Confirmation Task Force of the Anglican Church of Canada, Planning Meeting for General Synod Presentation, May 29, 1992, p. 8.

(30)"Wall interview.

(31) Margaret O'Gara, "Receiving Gifts in Ecumenical Dialogue," in Paul D. Murray, ed., Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning: Exploring a Way for Contemporary Ecumenism (Oxford, U.K, and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 26.

(32)"Commentary on the Waterloo Declaration," in Richard Leggett, ed., A Companion to the Waterloo Declaration: Commentary and Essays on Lutheran-Anglican Relations in Canada (Toronto: ABC Publishing, 1999), p. 25.

(33) If so, the tag on that gift could rightly read: "From your Lutheran, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic sisters."

(34) O'Gara. "Receiving Gifts," p. 30.

(35) Wall interview.

(36) Paul D. Murray, "ARCIC III: Recognizing the Need for an Ecumenical Gear Change," One in Christ 45 (Winter, 2011): 209.

(37)"The Porvoo Common Statement" ([section]32.g), in Together in Mission and Ministry: The Porvoo Common Statement with Essays on Church and Ministry in Northern Europe--Conversations behveen the British and Irish Anglican Churches and the Nordic and Baltic Lutheran Churches (London: Church House Publishing, 1993), p. 19.

(38) Christopher Hill, 'introduction," in Together in Mission and Ministry, p. 51.

(39) Gerhard Pederson and Martin Reardon, "Initiation and Confirmation," in Together in Mission and Ministry, p. 182.

(40)"Growth in Communion" (11151), Anglican Communion; available at http://www.anglicancom

(41) Wall interview. This creates the incongruous possibility of a laying on of hands presided over by two different ministers of confirmation for two different sets of confirmands (an ACC bishop for the Anglicans and an ELCIC pastor for the Lutherans) in the same liturgy in the same congregation, followed by a single eucharistic celebration presided over by one celebrant.

(42) Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, interview by author, in Toronto, December 20,2013.

(43) Ibid.

(44) Minutes of Joint Anglican-Lutheran Commission meeting, Niagara Falls, Ontario, February 6-8,

(45) Hiltz interview.
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Author:Myers, Bruce
Publication:Journal of Ecumenical Studies
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Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 22, 2014
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