IASCERInter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations
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IASCER strongly affirmed that our ecumenical vocation should not only embrace every aspect of the Christian life, it must also be pursued at every level.
It was also IASCER's intention that our work should strengthen our ability to express our ecumenical commitment "all round", that is, towards all partners without favour.
Questions that arise early in dialogues tend to focus on "mutual recognition" or "interchangeability" of ministries and of ministers, which is why baptism and eucharist and holy orders were such a significant element of IASCER's work.
Reviewing the whole breadth and diversity of Anglican ecumenical engagement, IASCER concluded that it was generally helpful to look at progress towards full visible unity in terms of stages, though with some flexibility of approach.
IASCER's support for stages arose in part from our recognition that it is essential that partners should be clear about their goals, and that they are fully shared, when entering into dialogue or conversation.
This is a surprisingly complex issue that IASCER reviewed in some detail.
In reviewing various international and national agreements and proposals, IASCER was encouraged to find that, provided there were clear commitments to when and how anomalous situations might be overcome, rather more could be considered bearable than was initially supposed (for example, in relation to the United Churches).
Though not made explicit within these principles, IASCER recognized that humility in the face of human fallibility, and repentance for the sin of division and all that follows from it, are unavoidable and necessary elements in ecumenical processes.
However, what has not been negotiable in the work of IASCER, nor should be in any part of Anglican ecumenical engagement, is the commitment to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as "containing all things necessary to salvation" and being the rule and ultimate standard of faith; and to the Apostles' Creed, as the baptismal symbol, and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
This echoes the first two clauses of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, to which IASCER endlessly returned in its discussions.