“Intentional Discipleship in a World of Differences”: ACC 2016 declines to enforce ‘consequences’ issued by primates

Episcopal News Service reports that the Anglican Consultative Council passed 44 resolutions in a new up-down voting session, dubbed the ‘consent calendar’. The consent calendar allows for quick yes-no votes on issues, without debate.

Passed resolutions encompassed a wide diversity of issues, from climate change to church abuse of minors, but had a heavy emphasis on the theme of the meeting, which was “Intentional Discipleship in a World of Differences”

To the theme, a resolution calling for a season-long focus on intentional discipleship passed, as did resolution C34, which acknowledges the Archbishop’s report from the primates’ gathering and affirms the decision to walk together, specifically charging the Council “to continue to seek appropriate ways for the provinces of the Anglican Communion to walk together with each other and with the primates and other Instruments of Communion.”

A second resolution on the same topic was withdrawn without a vote. The second resolution, C35, called for the council to “welcome” the primates’ statement. Archbishop Welby told the ACC that he hoped it would be withdrawn, as the first resolution covered everything important.

Welby stressed the many things that unite the Communion, but asserted he wasn’t going to skirt around human sexuality issues in the future.

From the article:

In the future, Welby said, “When I talk to people I am going to be honest. Let’s never pretend that things are other than they are. We are not entirely united on the issues around human sexuality. We have profound and important divisions among us. It’s clear what has been the majority opinion among us. It’s also very clear that, when it comes to criminalization, that we are deeply committed to combating that in every place where we find it and not supporting those who support it.”

Were you still confused about the primates’ request? If so, does this clarify the issue for you?

Still from video of Archbishop Welby speaking to the ACC-16 about his future approach to issues with sexuality

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8 Comments
  1. John Johnson

    From this posting, it is not at all clear what Welby means when he refers to the “majority opinion among us.” But from the linked article, it seems clear that Welby means what he reportedly told Pres. Mugabe the day before: “the majority opinion is that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and woman. And that the unanimous opinion of the primates’ meeting was that the criminalization of LGBTIQ people is entirely wrong.”

  2. Confusing indeed. Does this mean the ACC does not accept the Primate’s “disciplining” of TEC for three years, or that it affirms it?

  3. Cynthia Katsarelis

    I think this represents a sea change. My Scottish friends think I’m dead wrong and it’s all pretty words.

    I would like to think that this does mark a difference. The ABC apparently was very frank with Mugabe. He seems to be growing a spine on speaking in strong opposition to criminalization of gay people.

    In another speech, archbishop +Josiah Idowu-Fearon lifted up TEC as a model of “walking together.” That certainly marks a shift from “problem province.”

    It would be great to see him reverse the situation in CoE where 2 priests and a lay reader were refused licenses to officiate (or take a job at the NHS) because they legally married their long-time partners. That would really put legs on the various apologies for the churches deplorable treatment of LGBTQI people.

    It looks like the Holy Spirit is on the move. I say we cut ++Justin some slack and pray for the best. There will be plenty of time later for “I told you so’s” if this turns out to be insincere. Praying for the best might help it along…

  4. Depends how different people understand the word “receive”.

    As reported by ‘Living Church’ here – http://www.livingchurch.org/acc-churns-out-resolutions :

    “The Archbishop of Canterbury told the delegates that he was pleased with this action, saying that Resolution C34 “covers issues we need to cover,” establishing sufficient concurrence between the ACC and the Primates’ Meeting. “The consequences [for the Episcopal Church] stand,” Archbishop Justin Welby said in a news conference Monday afternoon.

    Any clearer?

  5. John Sandeman

    I take it that the ACC complied with the primates’ request: no TEC candidates elected to standing committee?

    • David Streever

      John:
      Potential TEC committee members did not run, in order to try to build greater unity.
      “I believe that my not pursuing election as Chair of the ACC at this time will best facilitate our walking together in unity as the Anglican Communion, and that is my highest priority and my greatest hope and prayer.” – Ian Douglas
      http://www.deputynews.org/douglas-will-not-stand/

      • Jim Naughton

        The idea that the consequences were upheld doesn’t stand serious scrutiny. The primates communique was gently repudiated at every opportunity the ACC had to repudiate it from the opening statement of the Standing Committee (“The Standing Committee considered the Communiqué from the Primates and affirmed the relational links between the Instruments of Communion in which each Instrument, including the Anglican Consultative Council, forms its own views and has its own responsibilities.”) to the withdrawal of resolution C35 “welcoming” the Primates communique. This was a resolution that, at the beginning of the legislative process, had the support of both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General of the Communion. It still couldn’t pass.

        In between, the voting representatives of the Episcopal Church voted on every issue that came before the council, and Bishop Ian Douglas served on the resolutions committee. It’s true he decided not to run from chair of the ACC. But not having a member chair the council is a “consequence” currently being suffered by every province of the communion with the exception of Hong Kong.

        This is the second time in a month that an important gathering of Anglican leaders from across the communion have politely suggested to the primates that they behave themselves. (See the March 22 statement from the Anglican Communion delegation at the 60th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2016/03/statement-from-the-anglican-communion-delegation-at-un-csw60.aspx) They are suffering the “consequences” of having claimed power that isn’t theirs.

  6. Zachary Guiliano

    You’re sort of begging the question here, Jim. You’re right that the ACC’s hand wasn’t forced; it has the constitutional authority to make it’s own decisions. But discussions on authority in the Anglican Communion have always emphasized that controversial issues go through processes of reception. And the primates’ requests have been received.

    The primates asked that TEC members not be on any standing committees: they’re not. They asked that they not serve in ecumenical and interfaith bodies: they’re not. They asked that they “not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity”: as far as I’m aware, they haven’t.

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