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III. The Lambeth Conference and the Union of Churches in South India.—The most important subject connected with Church union taken up at the Lambeth Conference of 1930 was the proposed merging of Church bodies in Southern India. Before the Conference assembled, there was much expectation that a large amount of attention would be given to the general subject of Church union. A resolution was presented 951to the Archbishop of Canterbury by the Congregationalists of England, July, 1930, praying 'for the day when the differences in the way of complete fellowship shall be removed.' The preceding April the Oxford-Cheltenham Conference of evangelical Churchmen 'reiterated its conviction that the ministries of the organized non-episcopal Churches are real ministries of the Word and the sacraments' and prayed that the Lambeth Conference 'do all in its power to facilitate the scheme of Church union in India and actively promote intercommunion between the Anglican and non-episcopal communions.' King George, in a communication to the Convocation of Canterbury, pronounced ' the progress made with the promotion of Christian unity very gratifying,' and expressed the hope that the Lambeth Conference 'would contribute to a further advance.' However, no advanced action in the direction of general Church union was taken in 1930.22592259The Conference ordered negotiations resumed with the Free Churches of England and opened with the Scotch Churches.

The Scheme of Union of the Churches of South India came before the Conference by the act of the (Anglican) Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon, with the request for 'advice.' The Scheme, the result of negotiations begun 1919, contemplates the consolidation of the (Anglican) Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon, the South India United Church, and the South India Wesleyan Methodist Church. As formulated, 1929, the Scheme has the following distinctive features: 1. The adoption of episcopacy with modifications in the methods of election and administration. 2. The effectual maintenance of 'the continuity of the historic episcopate,' no particular interpretation of the historic episcopate 'being required.' 3. The validity of the ministrations of clergymen, not episcopally ordained, for at least thirty years after the declaration of the union. 4. The right of such ministers to exercise intercommunion and intercelebration with non-episcopal Churches as before the union. 5. ' The intention that eventually every minister in the united Church will be an episcopally ordained minister.' 6. The forms of worship used in the uniting Churches may be continued.

The three Indian communions, when the Scheme of Union reached them from the Joint Committee, all made conditions to its acceptance. The non-episcopal bodies required that it be made plain that no theory of the episcopate should be regarded as official and that their constituencies 952should continue to have full liberty of communion with non-episcopal Churches after the lapse of the term of thirty years. On the other hand, the General Council of the Anglican body voted that, in adopting the Scheme (1) it did not commit itself to the principle of the equal validity of all ministries, while at the same time requiring from the other bodies no endorsement of any particular theory of ordi­nation; (2) that the Anglican rule for Anglican ministers in regard to the celebration of the eucharist should continue to be binding; (3) that as 'a measure of great importance, the rite of confirmation should be adopted as early as possible by the United Church.'

The position taken by the Lambeth Conference was set forth by a set of resolutions, in the Encyclical Letter sent out by the Bishops and in the Report of the Committee on the Unity of the Church, and was favorable to the inauguration of the movement. The movement the bishops pronounced a 'venture' and 'an experiment on behalf of the whole body of the Anglican Churches, made by our brethren of South India.' The Committee on the Unity of the Church—whose findings are printed in full but were not adopted by the Conference—approved the conditions proposed by the Anglican Church of India, Burma, and Ceylon, including the ultimate use of confirmation as a general practice of the united Church. The resolutions passed by the Conference gave 'its general approval to the suggestions contained in the Report of its Committee on the Unity of the Church,' and commended them to the General Synod of India, Burma, and Ceylon. They spoke of the Scheme as 'bringing together the distinctive elements of different Christian Communions, on a basis of sound doctrine and episcopal order, in a distinct Province of the Universal Church,' a province not subject to the jurisdiction of Canterbury.22602260The Anglo-Catholic party in England, through Bishop Gore as its spokesman, demands as an essential condition of the union the acceptance of the doctrine of Apostolic succession and the rite of confirmation. In the new edition of his Church and the Ministry Dr. Gore says that 'the adoption of the Scheme as it is, would go far to break up the Anglican Communion,' p. 224. See also Gore: Proposed Scheme of Union in S. India, 8 pp., London, 1930; Bell: Documents, II., 143–210, and especially the Lambeth Conference 1930, a volume of 200 pp. issued by the S. P. C. K., giving the encyclical letter of the bishops, the resolutions passed by the Conference, and the report of the Com. on the Unity of the Ch., and other reports.


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