Who are TEC’s representatives to Anglican Communion bodies?

The Primates’ Meeting –
The Most Revd Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church

The Anglican Consultative Council –
The Rt Revd Ian Douglas, bishop diocesan of Connecticut, member of the House of Bishops
The Revd Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies of the General Convention
Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine, lay person and deputy to the General Convention from the Virgin Islands

The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion –
The Rt Revd Ian Douglas (elected by the ACC)

The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order –
The Revd Katherine Grieb

The International Reformed-Anglican Dialogue –
The Revd Amy E. Richter

Currently, the above members of The Episcopal Church represent TEC in the various bodies of the Anglican Communion. Two of the bodies are considered Instruments of Communion; the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). One is is a standing commission of the AC and the other is an ecumenical dialogue between the AC and the Reformed Churches. Additionally the Joint Standing Committee of the AC is a body with members from both the Primates’ Meeting and the ACC. The ACC will be meeting in Lusaka Zambia 8 -20 APR 2016.

At this moment it is anyone’s guess how the decision of the Primates’ Meeting will affect these respective members of the various AC bodies. The Primates’ Meeting has no constitutional authority to enforce its decisions. The ACC is the only constitutional entity of the AC and it would be up to the members of the ACC how it will act upon the decision of the Primates’ Meeting concerning TEC.

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  1. Prof Christopher Seitz

    The ‘ACC’ is further complicated because of the manner in which it has recently re-constituted itself as a legal body, via a Standing Committee.

    • John Chilton


    • Relatively recently, yes, that the ACC incorporated under English law. I don’t know enough to know whether forming the Standing Committee was the means for that, or a consequence.

  2. Rod Gillis

    Some members of Anglican Consultative Council are pretty much under the thumb of their bishops.

  3. Dirk Reinken

    A primates meeting that this century hasn’t met in 9 years (though will meet biennially until Lambeth 2020), a Lambeth Conference that won’t have met for 12 years, 3 reps to the ACC which is the only regularly meeting (and functional) instrument of communion, one standing committee, one theology committee, and one dialogue, all with 1-3 reps each (save Lambeth Conference). Apart from Lambeth Conference, a small congregation sends more people to do Diocesan work than TEC sends to the Anglican Communion. That seems to speak to the actual significance (or lack thereof) of the instruments of communion and various bodies actually have in the lives on the grounds of the various provinces.

    As for ecumenical dialogues, we are in full communion with the Old Catholics. What if the Old Catholics ask for TEC representation on their Communion level dialogue? That would be interesting.

    • Jennifer Adams-Massmann

      I am one of the two TEC reps to the Anglican Old Catholic International coordinating council (both from the Convocation in Europe). We also have Anglicans from the church of England’s diocese in Europe and church of Ireland and Old Catholics from continental Europe. Our work is focused on coordinating our mission in Europe (I live in Germany). It is not yet clear if our work will be affected as we are not an ecumenical dialogue but a working group of full communion partners without “decision-making” power beyond making recommendations.

      • John Chilton

        Nothing the primates did or can do prevents you or any of the persons named in the post from taking their rightful seat at the table with the full voice and vote given to any member of their respective bodies.

  4. The degree to which Episcopalians will be able to participate in various meetings will depend completely on the composition of the bodies meeting. Participants can choose to ignore the desires of the primates. In the best of all possible worlds, they will do so. Things may get dicey in gatherings chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury (ACC and Standing Committee).

    • David Allen

      It was a previous Sec Gen of the ACC, now the Rt Revd Dr Kenneth Kearon, who told the Revd Katherine Grieb to stand down as a consultant to the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order in 2010. It was the chair of the IASCUFO, the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi, who rescinded that order in 2012, which allowed her to return.

  5. Jeremy Bates

    “Things may get dicey in gatherings chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury (ACC and Standing Committee).”

    He doesn’t have the authority, in and of himself, either.

    But if the ABC does try to exclude people based on the Primates’ so-called “requirements,” then at least everyone (especially Parliament and General Synod) will know where the ABC really stands.

  6. Randall Stewart

    I really would prefer for our people to excuse themselves, rather than being unwelcome. Nothing will be accomplished by that.

    • Jeremy Bates

      Respectfully disagree. The Episcopal Church needs to resist discrimination. To mildly accept this sort of ultra vires “disinvitation” would be to become complicit with the abuse and oppression.

      • Tony Fitchett

        Dear Randall,

        TEC and Canada ‘excused themselves’ from ACC in 2005, at the request of the
        Primates (at least that time they didn’t attempt to ‘require’ them to) but that didn’t satisfy the homophobes, who tried to exclude them from even being observers. The homophobes produced a ‘hymn of hate’ that made parts of the meeting the most unChristian Anglican event I have experienced. Pandering to the demands (a better word, I think, than the Primates’ ‘require’, which they have no authority to use) merely generates worse demands, because the real issue is not same sex relationships but power.

      • John Chilton

        Right. In 2005 “we” volunteered. This time we didn’t (thank you, PB Curry!), hence word the use of “require.” I’ll be interested to see if our representatives choose to exercise the right to fully participate, and what reception they will receive. As has been stated, the primates have no authority to require. Anything.

  7. David Fine

    The goal here seems to be to say that the silly consequences are minimal, and that right minded people will ignore them anyway.

    The primates are church leaders with amazing educational credentials. Oxford and Cambridge doctorates, etc. After the initial pain and sense of betrayal, it might be wise to figure out why they did what they did.

    Let’s grant, for a while, that they are Christian leaders, highly educated, not haters, not homophobes, reasonable people trying to follow Jesus. Ignore the spin. Acknowledge the lies. Seek the truth.

    Then figure out why they did this. What basis for their action in history and scripture and reason? Not regarding their cultural context, but entirely in a Christian context.


    • David Allen

      Let’s grant, for a while, that they are Christian leaders, highly educated, not haters, not homophobes, reasonable people trying to follow Jesus.

      That’s a bit difficult to do as a number of them have well established public records as hateful, homophobic human rights abusers.

    • Jeremy Bates

      Oh, so we should give old Oxbridge boys some deference because they went to Oxbridge?

      Even on its own terms this argument is wrong.

      Have you looked recently at who has signed the open letter to the CofE archbishops? Lots of Oxbridge deans and theologians.

    • Jerald Liko

      I’m not particularly concerned with their education, but I generally agree with your post. It’s difficult to articulate in this space, because the prevailing opinion is so absolutist, but I’m disturbed by the lack of respect for anyone and everyone on the other side of the discussion. That may be because I’m a convert to the cause of LGBT equality. It was the patience and love of my LGBT friends that gradually changed my heart, and I doubt I’d be an ally today if my encounter with the prophets of justice and equality had been as hard hearted as the current dialogue. For a church supposedly dedicated to a middle way, this kind of disregard for cultural differences is disappointing. Yes, yes, the other side is intolerant too. We could still treat these folks with the respect due intelligent people. Imperialist attitudes loom larger here than the purported progressives are willing to admit.

      • David Allen

        You might want to do a few web searches on the topic of homosexuality in African indigenous cultures. it is not really any different than in indigenous cultures in other parts of the world, much more tolerant than this GAFCON/GS lot. You will find that the primates are not being honest about culture. They are spewing back the conservative Christianity of their colonial overlords from days gone by.

        And folks with boots on the ground in parish to parish and diocese to diocese relationships report that the average African Anglicans are not in lock step with their bishops, nor their primates, on the matter. They have more crucial things of importance in their lives than butting their noses into the bedrooms of their neighbors.

        We are sometimes angry & belligerent because we are so tired of the lies!

      • Prof Christopher Seitz

        How correct you are. Thank you for your measured Christian response.

  8. “Let’s grant for a while, that they are Christian leaders, highly educated, not haters, , not homophobes, reasonable people trying to follow Jesus.”

    Now that is a leap of faith!

  9. Troy Haliwell

    For me, this is a foreshadowing of what will happen in the future since the Southerners have such a huge presence.

    But honestly, and I know this may sound harsh, but since the Southern primates want to suspend us, then perhaps we suspend all aid and assistance to those places the primates are bishops of. After all, if you do not recognize us, you don’t recognize our aid to you.

  10. Ann Fontaine

    Some already do not accept aid from The Episcopal Church — and most of our funding for the Communion goes to meeting expenses and funding bureaucracy. Episcopal Relief and Development and Companion Dioceses do more to help the people of these Provinces.

    • Rod Gillis

      @ Anne, “Some already do not accept aid from The Episcopal Church…” This is correct. A year or so ago I checked with the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (Canada) which I have always supported, just to clarify that funds were not going to entities that oppress gays and lesbians. I was told that one diocese in Africa refuses Canadian funds; but, happily, the fund itself supports a wide range of projects including some Anglican projects that are GLBTQ friendly but in countries that have questionable human rights records. A little quiet research can go a logn way and often be reassuring.

  11. Daniel Singer

    How many gay members do we have? 1800 to 2000? Do you think it is worth throwing the towel in over these guys? 10 times as many Anglicans get murdered in a year over the US Episcopal Church’s stance on gays in Africa and Middle East. We are the hypocrites.

    • David Streever

      TEC could have precisely 0 members who identify as LGBTQ. I hope that it would not change our commitment to speak up against oppression, discrimination, and violence against people who identify as LGBTQ. We don’t proclaim the gospel of Christ’s love because it’s popular, or because it nets us more members. We proclaim it because it is true and because it is what Jesus asked of us.

      It is simply untrue that people are being killed anywhere in response to the Episcopal Church proclaiming the Gospel that all people are worthy of dignity, peace, and God’s love. You have reversed cause and effect. The reality is that people are murdered & killed & oppressed, and TEC must speak up because of this.

      If TEC stopped proclaiming the gospel tomorrow, people would continue to be oppressed, killed, and assaulted all over the world. We live in a broken, sinful, world, and this is merely one manifestation of that.

  12. Daniel Singer

    Real simple…Don’t marry gays in the church. I don’t know any Episcopal church that allows it anyway. Most vestry’s won’t allow it and neither will most priests. Bishops don’t have the authority to make them.

    • Kurt Hill

      You should get out more, Daniel Singer. I live in NYC and I know a number of bishops and vestries that allow it. My parish priest will happily perform such marriages, so if you know of any gay couples who want to “tie the not” in your neck of the woods but can’t find any Episcopal parishes, you can come to NYC.

      Kurt Hill
      Brooklyn, NY

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