The original Statues of 1911 direct that the Memorial is “to be offered as a token of regard and honour to members of the Church of England, and the churches in communion therewith, who have served the church in some especial way”.
The honour and recognition bestowed takes the form of admittance as a Companion to the Memorial of Merit and matriculation to the Roll of Honour. There are no entrance fees, no obligations to the Memorial and no requirements for Companionship other than that laid out in the Constitution.
The current Chapter believes that, although the structure and statutes of the foundation are rather old fashioned and reflect the High Church traditionalism of the age in which they were laid down, the Memorial still possesses the same raison d’être intended by its founders. We honour the tradition of the Memorial whilst realising that the world of political and theological certainty has now passed. We live in an age of consistent conflict within the Anglican Communion especially around issues of the nature of the episcopacy and episcopal jurisdiction. These conflicts are to be expected in an age of globalisation as our worldwide communion of churches struggle to hold together without a monarchical church structure. The continued unity of the Anglican Communion offers hope to the world by presenting a model of a global body, with members from every race and culture, which freely chooses to remain part of the same family regardless of conflict. The Chapter believes that those who, in their own often quiet faithful way, work for the unity of the Communion and the resolution of these conflicts secure in their catholic identity, in the face of seemingly overwhelming challenges, should be supported by being recognised and honoured.
In practice this means that those so recognised will often be those at the cutting edge of contentious issues. We believe that it is in this no man’s land of exploration that the real courage of Anglicanism is often to be found. Thus we hope that both those who support and oppose different positions in the church’s present conflicts will be able to recognise the witness to the tradition born by one another. Without the surety of eschatological justification we, rather, place our faith in soeteriological efficacy. It is the great tool of discernment given to us by Our Lord – “by their fruits you shall know them.” Thus we judge the worthiness of recipients not based on our own ideological principals but on the actions and witness of the nominees.
You will be able to find more information about the Memorial on this website. Here you will be able to find: this introduction to the Memorial; the history of the Memorial; the Roll of Honour; the Constitution and Statutes; the Chapter; and the nomination process.