International Anglican Liturgical Consultation discusses Eucharist’s important role

Posted Feb 26, 2024

[Anglican Communion News Service] The International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC) met in Seoul, Korea, Feb. 19-23. IALC is the official network for liturgy in the Anglican Communion, reporting to the Anglican Consultative Council, bringing together liturgists and worship leaders from around the communion to consult, study and pray together, and to offer resources to the churches. Consultations are held at least every three years. The Seoul meeting has shared a communiqué.

Forty-two members were present from 17 churches of the communion. This was the first in-person meeting of the IALC since 2019, having met online during the pandemic.

The consultation was hosted by the Anglican Church of Korea and the Cathedral Church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. Nicholas in Seoul. The Most Rev. Kyong-Ho Peter Lee, bishop of Seoul and primate of Korea, welcomed the consultation and presided at a celebration of the Eucharist during the week.

The consultation in Seoul heard reports from different churches about the ways in which changing contexts impact the worshipping life of churches. Their joint communiqué covers several themes, including the impact of the global Covid pandemic and resources available for liturgical work, the growth of material now being provided through web-based access, and the ways churches are approaching the translation of liturgical materials.

The communiqué also comments on the importance of renewal of the Eucharist in the churches of the communion and considers the significant cultural, social and technological changes that have happened in the past 30 years. It says, “Throughout the communion there have been significant changes in the way we gather and understand worship, and worship leaders and churches need support in managing the diverse challenges that all face.”

The communiqué quotes work undertaken by the 5th IALC in 1995 which said, “In the future, Anglican unity would find its liturgical expression not so much in uniform texts as in a common approach to eucharistic celebration and a structure which will ensure a balance of word prayer and sacrament.” The 2024 communiqué notes, “That future is now here.”

Following this consultation, further work will be undertaken by a steering committee to consider how to promote the work across the communion. Each consultation appoints a steering committee that coordinates liturgical thinking between those meetings.

The Rev. Neil Vigers, program executive for unity, faith and order at the Anglican Communion and secretary to IALC said, “It was a delight to meet together as Anglican brothers and sisters here in Seoul. We had a wonderful welcome from the Diocese of Seoul, and they supported us in our work together. It has been a richly blessed week.”