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.
The Right Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry (Chair)
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham
The Right Revd Anne Hollinghurst, Bishop of Aston
The Right Revd Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield
The Right Revd Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester
Non - episcopal members
Professor Nicholas Adams
The Revd Canon Professor Loveday Alexander
The Revd Dr Andrew Atherstone
Professor Mike Higton
Dr Joshua Hordern
The Revd Canon Dr Rachel Mann
The Revd Dr Sharon Prentis
The Revd Sarah Schofield
The Revd Thomas Seville CR
The Revd Professor Jenn Strawbridge
Secretary of the Commission
The Revd Preb Dr Isabelle Hamley
Reports and Resources
To Proclaim Afresh - Declaration and Oaths for Church of England Ministers
To Proclaim Afresh is a new study resource exploring the two Oaths and the Declaration of Assent which Church of England ministers are required to take as they enter a new public office. Providing historical background, commentary and analysis of the texts – together with questions for discussion and reflection – it aims to help those making these promises grasp more fully their significance and the richness of meanings contained in them.
Witness - A resource from the Faith and Order Commission
Witness (GS Misc 1253) is an exploration of what the idea of “witness” means in the life of the church. Witness is one of the themes identified by Archbishop Justin Welby as one of his priorities. This short, accessible resource from the Faith and Order Commission sets out to provide a picture of the great joy of Christian witness in the world and invites church communities to ask “How are we going to respond to this?” It includes a wide range of cases studies, as well as questions for discussion and reflections on the case studies. It is ideal for study with others – for example, either across three separate short sessions or as part of a PCC “awayday” programme.
Kingdom Calling: The vocation, ministry and discipleship of the whole people of God
Kingdom Calling: The vocation, ministry and discipleship of the whole people of God offers a compelling theological grounding for the whole church, serving the whole mission of God in the whole of life. Building creatively on previous studies, it identifies the barriers in thinking and practice which prevent this, and offers pathways for negotiating these challenges.
Kingdom Calling (2020) and the companion publication Calling All God’s People (2019) are theological reflection resources from the Faith and Order Commission, written in conjunction with the Setting God’s People Free And Ministry teams of the Archbishops’ Council.
Published in October 2020 by Church House Publishing, you can read the resource electronically or purchase it from the Church House Publishing website. Copies of Calling All God’s People are also available from CHP and are an ideal resource for church discussion groups.
God’s Unfailing Word: Theological and Practical Perspectives on Christian–Jewish Relations
In God’s Unfailing Word, the Faith and Order Commission draws on previous work in Christian–Jewish relations by the Church of England and the Anglican Communion to present the Church of England’s position and to explore issues of particular significance for Christian–Jewish dialogue today. It sets them clearly in the context of both the difficult history and the distinctive relationship between Christianity and Judaism. Published in 2019 by Church House Publishing, you can read the resource electronically or purchase it from the Church House Publishing website.
Calling All God's People: A theological reflection on the whole church serving God's mission - A resource to encourage Everyday Faith and Growing Vocations
The Faith and Order Commission has been working with Setting God's People Free in consultation with the Ministry Division to resource theological thinking about the vocation, discipleship and ministry of the whole people of God. The first text to be produced as a result of this initiative has now been published, combining a theological overview of key questions with individual stories and questions for discussion: Calling All God's People: A theological reflection on the whole church serving God's mission, available from the Church House Publishing website. A sample chapter can be accessed here.
The theological overview appeared without the stories and questions as Appendix 2 to a paper for the July 2019 General Synod, GS 2145, which can be accessed here.
Mission and Ministry in Covenant: Areas for further reflection identified by the General Synod of the Church of England and the Methodist Conference
This document was prepared by the faith and order bodies in response to the initial reception of their 2017 report, Mission and Ministry in Covenant, which is described below. In the initial debates on Mission and Ministry in Covenant at the General Synod in February 2018 and at the Methodist Conference in July 2018, a number of areas for further reflection were identified and the faith and order bodies asked to address them. Their response in this document, published in June 2019, is available to read electronically.
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.”
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."
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.
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 it. Read 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.