As the Anglican Consultative Council convened in Hong Kong on 1 May, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit offered a reflection on Anglican contributions to unity.
Tveit said the WCC celebrates many gifts from the Anglican communion with respect to unity. “Anglicanism has had a global perspective and dimension for church life for quite a long time,” he said, reflecting that Anglican churches, and cathedrals were established around the world quite early compared to some other confessional families of today.
“This had to do with the globalization of the British empire, as well as the many early initiatives for mission and evangelism,” he said, adding that strong Anglican global participation in the WCC has many other dimensions today, including a strong awareness of the prophetic witness for justice and peace in a postcolonial and globalized reality, where new forms of empires dominate.
The comprehensiveness of the Anglican tradition, and the diversity of church life in Anglican churches, have also contributed greatly to a culture of ecumenism, Tveit said. “Practical tolerance and a theological basis for accepting diversity are necessary tools for the one ecumenical movement to be able embrace different confessional and denominational expressions, and to live with one another without demanding the others give up their identities,” he said.