Canadian Council of Churches - 75 Years

Religious Diversity and the Anglican Tradition

Our doctrine is still in formation; and the question of how holy lives can exist outside our own tradition has throughout Christian history led to some of the most searching and far-reaching extensions of our language about the significance of Jesus.

~ Rowan Williams, Christian Theology and Other Faiths, 2003

Anglicanism is grounded in a steadfast commitment to faith in the triune God and to the way that God has become known to this world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Anglicanism is also characterized by a deep commitment to diversity and the recognition of the work of the Holy Spirit in persons and in communities and in places that we would often not expect.

Our appreciation for diversity grows out of our recognition of the fact that all are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and that God often appears to us in the form of a stranger (cf. Luke 24:13-35). Institutionally, the development of Anglican identity in the 16th and 17th centuries was marked by a strong desire of the Church of England to bring many different pieties and traditions together in one single communion. Negotiating difference therefore has been a longstanding interest for those in the Anglican tradition.

Thus, the piece that makes it difficult to identify a single Anglican approach to other faith traditions is also the piece that makes it natural for us to engage in dialogue with those who might hold core religious and spiritual beliefs that are different from ours.

The Anglican Church of Canada and its members have been enriched in our lives of faith as we work alongside people of many different faith convictions and people of no faith conviction in response to our belief that the Spirit of God can, and often does, work beyond the boundaries of our confessional identities. We seek to find God alive and at work in all Creation.

Christian Theology and Other Faiths. An address by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. 11 June 2003.

Generous Love: The Truth of the Gospel and the Call to Dialogue. A report from the Anglican Communion Network for Inter Faith Concerns. 2008.