The Living Church asserts in an article today that the power to recognize new provinces within the Anglican Communion rests with the Primates. This statement, at a minimum, seems debatable.
Section 3 of the constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council begins as follows: The Council shall be constituted with a membership according to the schedule hereto. With the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, the council may alter or add to the schedule.
The operative word there would seem to be may. May is permissive. Must is mandatory. The council is not required to accede to the Primates' request.
Beyond that, lies the question of whether this section of the constitution can sensibly be applied to a situation such as the one developing in North America in which conservatives are attempting to carve a non-geographic province from the territory of existing provinces against those provinces' wills. If such a maneuver is permitted then Anglican provinces are not autonomous, as is frequently asserted, but subject to being divided into pieces at any time for any reason by the Primates and the ACC. Membership in such an organization would seem to have more risks than rewards, unless one belonged to the party holding the carving knife.
Whatever the case, the Primates will have an influential role to play in legitimizing a new province. I don't think two-thirds of the Primates of the 39 churches on the ACC schedule of membership will vote to recognize a new non-geographic province in North America--The precedent would have staggering implications, creating a Communion in which the only way to guarantee one's survival would be to attempt to carve up adversarial provinces. Of course we may already be living in such a Communion and simply not realize it yet.--but I haven't done a complete counting of noses.
Based on my limited information, I'd say the provinces certain to vote against (corrected) a new North American province are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, the United States and Wales. (I don't include England because I think the leadership of the Church of England is largely antagonistic toward the Episcopal Church, and the United States.)
Those I'd say unlikely to vote to recognize a new province are: Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Southern Africa. However, I don't know much about the Asian churches.
I don't know where Melanesia stands. I think it is likely that almost all of the African churches will be pressured into recognizing the new province by Peter Akinola and the North Americans who are bankrolling this movement. Some have already done so. Central Africa has no primate, and I don't know whether the bishop currently running the province would be allowed to make a commitment of this magnitude.
I'd love to hear from others who may have better intelligence than I do on this issue.
The Anglican Consultative Council seems a less hospitable arena for this proposal than the Primates' Meeting because the American right has not cultivated its members as assiduously as it has cultivated the Primates, but that is a story for another day.
The membership of the council shall be as follows:
The Archbishop of Canterbury
Three persons from each of the following, consisting of one bishop, one priest, and one layperson:
Anglican Church of Australia
Anglican Church of Canada
Church of England
Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
Church of the Province of Rwanda
Church of the Province of Southern Africa
Church of South India
Anglican Church of Tanzania
Church of the Province of Uganda
Episcopal Church (United States of America)
Two persons from each of the following, consisting of one bishop or one priest plus one layperson:
Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia
Church of the Province of Central Africa
Province of the Anglican Church of Congo
Church of Ireland
Anglican Church of Kenya
Church of North India
Church of Pakistan
Episcopal Church of the Sudan
Church in Wales
Church in the Province of the West Indies
One person (preferably lay) from each of the following:
Church of Bangladesh
Episcopal Anglican Church of Brasil
Church of the Province of Burundi
Anglican Church of the Central America Region
Church of Ceylon
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Communion in Japan)
Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
Anglican Church in Korea
Church of the Province of Melanesia
Anglican Church of Mexico
Church of the Province of Myanmar
Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
Episcopal Church in the Philippines
Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
Scottish Episcopal Church
Church of the Province of Southeast Asia
Church of the Province of West Africa