The Faith and Order Commission

Replacing the Faith and Order Advisory Group and the Doctrine Commission, the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) was created in 2010.
It advises the House of Bishops, the General Synod, the Council for Christian Unity and the Church of England as a whole on theology. FAOC writes theological resources and reports, to support the church’s work.

Membership of the Faith and Order Commission

The Commission has up to sixteen members, who are appointed by the Archbishops. Its episcopal members also make up the Episcopal Reference Group.

In more detail

Reports and Resources

The Five Guiding Principles: A Resource for Study
The Five Guiding Principles had a crucial role in the Church of England’s decision in 2014 to open its three orders of ministry – bishops as well as deacons and priests – to all, without reference to gender. They provide basic parameters to help Anglicans with different theological convictions on this matter continue to relate to each other within one church, and are expected to be affirmed by every candidate for ordination in the Church of England.

The Five Guiding Principles: A Resource for Study has been developed by the Faith and Order Commission of the Church of England following requests for resources in this area from – among others – those responsible for theological education.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said: “This resource will be invaluable not only to the Implementation and Dialogue Group but to all bishops, clergy and laity in thinking about what the Five Guiding Principles mean in our ministry and the life of the Church.

“This document is not intended to be the last word on the theological implications of the Five Guiding Principles. It is intended to contribute to the dialogue the Church needs.”

Read the resource electronically or purchase it from the Church House Publishing website 

Forgiveness and Reconciliation in The Aftermath Of Abuse
Published by Church House Publishing in September 2017. A companion volume to The Gospel, Sexual Abuse and the Church, it is particularly intended to guide all those who preach, teach and exercise pastoral ministry. In the preface Bishop Christopher Cocksworth said that this document "is, to a considerable extent, new ground: which much has been written about each of these three things - forgiveness, reconciliation, and the aftermath of abuse - there is not a great deal that addresses them together in the way that is attempted in this document."

Read it electronically or purchase it from the Church House Publishing website and bookshop.

The Gospel, Sexual Abuse and The Church: A Theological Resource for the Local Church
Released by Church House Publishing in June 2016. This resource was produced in response to a request from the lead bishop for safeguarding and commended for study by the House of Bishops. It includes discussion questions and bible study materials.

Read it electronically or purchase it from the Church House Publishing website.

Mission and Ministry in Covenant
A joint report from the faith and order bodies of the Church of England and the Methodist Church, it was released in June 2017 for consideration by these two churches and for wider discussion. It represents a response to the request in 2014 of the General Synod of the Church of England and of the Methodist Conference for proposals that would enable ordained ministers from one church also to serve in the other. It sets out both how the Methodist Church might receive the historic episcopate, and how the Church of England might receive the ministry of presbyters already ordained in the Methodist Church. Both steps would follow on from the two churches entering into a new relationship of full communion, after a period of some 200 years of formal separation. The report is available to read electronically.

Communion and Disagreement 
Published in June 2016, it was sent to members of General Synod to support the process of shared conversations in the Church of England (paper number GS Misc 1139). It was approved for publication and commended for study by the House of Bishops. Read the report online.

Members of the drafting group for Communion and Disagreement also wrote five supporting 'dialogue' papers exploring in more detail some of the background for the report and issues that arise from itRead the supporting papers online.

Senior Church Leadership Report
On the 21st January 2015 FAOC published a new report titled Senior Church Leadership. Read it electronically.

The report also features in Faithful Improvisation?, a book with accompanying essays from some members of the Commission who had been involved in preparing it and from other individuals invited to comment on it. This was published by Church House Publishing in 2016 and is available on their website.

Recognition of Ministerial Orders
In 2014 FAOC published a document setting forth the criteria by which the Church of England recognises the ministry of those whose orders are of churches with the historic episcopate and with which the Church of England is not in communion. Read the document online.

Men and Women in Marriage Report
Published in 2013, it is available to read online

The Journey of Christian Initiation
Published in 2011, this is available as a book from Church House Publishing


Relating to the bishop. From the Latin word episcopus meaning bishop.

General Synod

The 'Parliament' of the Church of England. The General Synod usually meets twice a year to debate and discuss matters of interest and to consider and approve amendments to Church legislation.


A general term for the work of the church in worship, mission and pastoral care.


An agreement or an establishing of two groups into a relationship.