Support the Café

Search our Site

UPDATED: Archbishop defeated on measure that could adjudicate who’s in or out of Anglican Communion

UPDATED: Archbishop defeated on measure that could adjudicate who’s in or out of Anglican Communion

Updated to include a statement from the author of the defeated resolution.

Church Times reports that the Anglican Consultative Council near its close of business rejected a resolution favored by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Oklahoma Bishop Ed Konieczny objected to the resolution. He said it had “hidden within it, [something] which sets us up to create some other body, or somebody, to adjudicate who’s in and who’s out of the Anglican Communion.”

From Church Times:

Archbishop defeated. The averting of the crisis over the Episcopal Church’s resolution was not the end of the afternoon’s business. Another resolution, proposed by Dr Atherstone, lamented “the strained and broken relationships” in the Communion, and requested that the Archbishop of Canterbury consider setting up a theological task group to “clarify the core identity and boundaries” of the Communion.

Archbishop Welby welcomed the resolution; but after Bishop Konieczny objected that the resolution had, “hidden within it, [something] which sets us up to create some other body, or somebody, to adjudicate who’s in and who’s out of the Anglican Communion”.

The resolution was judged to have been accepted by general, verbal consent, but Bishop Konieczny, supported by more than one third of the members, asked for a counted vote, and it was found to have been defeated by 43 votes to 35, with 8 abstentions.

Update 5/9/2019. Arthur Atherstone, a member of ACC from the Church of England, has posted a lengthy discourse What really happened at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC 17)?

For context, consider that during ACC-17 he declined eucharistic fellowship:

We are facing a situation in which a growing group of progressive provinces is increasingly marked out from the rest of the Anglican Communion, and some form of clearer differentiation between us is needed or the Communion will implode.

One visible form of differentiation is to decline eucharistic fellowship. This was my approach to ACC-17.

He includes the text of his resolution:

The Anglican Consultative Council, as one of the four Instruments of Communion:

    1. recognises our particular responsibility to promote the unity of the Anglican Communion
    2. laments the strained and broken relationships between us, as evidenced by the absence of representatives from Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda at ACC-17
    3. acknowledges that these broken relationships are often the result of serious theological disagreements
    4. requests the Archbishop of Canterbury to consider establishing a theological task group to clarify the core identity and boundaries of the Anglican Communion in the 21st century.

Atherton goes on to say his defeated resolution concerned whether ACNA is in or out of the Anglican Communion:

So here’s the ecclesiological question: is ACNA part of the Anglican Communion or not? And if not, what steps do they need to take to join the Anglican Communion? Who is going to take up the challenge to answer the ‘significant questions of polity and jurisdiction’ to which the primates allude? It will not do simply to tell ACNA (or any other province created under similar circumstances) that they are free to apply for permission to enter the Anglican Communion, and that we will begin to consider the case when they do so. On the contrary, the Anglican Communion must first take responsibility for investigating these questions, in a serious and rigorous manner, before any progress can be made. That is why my defeated ACC resolution appealed for clarity on ‘the core identity and boundaries of the Anglican Communion in the 21st century’. Which side of the boundary do ACNA fall? If currently outside, then how do they transfer across the boundary? We need an answer!

Second, can separate Anglican jurisdictions intermingle or overlap in the same geographical area? … It must be possible to draw up sensible, practical, negotiated guidelines for how two provinces occupy the same space. But what would this look like? We need an answer!






Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Susannah Clark

This resolution from Andrew Atherstone was, according to the Church Times report, welcomed by Justin: “Archbishop Welby welcomed the resolution”.

If the intention of Andrew’s last-minute resolution was to try to initiate a process for what was and was not allowed in the Anglican Communion – sounds like the controversial ‘Anglican Covenant’ all over again – and if as Bishop Konieczny suggested, this process might be used to decide who’s ‘in’ and who’s ‘out’ of the Communion… then it would be interesting to know why Justin ‘welcomed’ it.

Unless and until Justin recognises that unity needs to be sustained in a diversity of views, and not in a uniformity that does not exist… in short, that no one view can dominate the contrary view… this whole debate just festers.

The test isn’t who’s right (we’ll never agree on that): the test is ‘Can we love one another?’ enough to affirm even those we disagree with, and pray for their flourishing and ministries. The test is love not dogma.

Philip B. Spivey

Thank you. You have captured the heart of the real problem: Tribal sectarianism masquerading as “faithfulness to the Word”. As a consequence, we constantly substitute uniformity for unity, obedience for love, and conformity for true loyalty to our deepest (God-conferred) identity.

“Empathy starves in those hermetically sealed containers of self; goodness goes there to die.”
~Richard Rohr

The masquerade continues as our Anglican elders try to cobble together an invitation list for High Tea at the High Altar.

What our august elders haven’t acknowledged is that the invitations went out light years ago from an even higher authority and those invitations are inviolate.

JoS. S. Laughon

It is somewhat amusing to see GAFCON painted as antiquated English high class aristocrats at tea when that is far more likely to describe someone living in the Global North where such liberalism is the tribal orthodoxy.

Cynthia Katsarelis

GAFCON is a men’s club that represents themselves and only themselves.

JoS. S. Laughon

Ms. Katsarelis,

Given how GAFCON represents the numerical majority of Anglicans, that seems on its face untrue. Needlessly slandering the faith of millions of Anglicans simply because it does not agree with a minority of believers seems unnecessary.

JoS. S. Laughon

Which is, of course, the vast overwhelming majority of the Anglican Communion and the 80 million + Anglicans worldwide.

Christopher SEITZ

Atherton gives a glimpse at reality on the ground.

Steve Price

Table fellowship and associate Anglican Communion membership for a group of schismatics who are constantly demonizing the Episcopal Church and diverting assets being held in trust for the Episcopal Church(one of the legal definitions of embezzlement) to ACNA use?Sounds like a Trojan Horse scenario to me.

Lawrence Graham

The question of who’s “in” and who’s “out” isn’t new. After Jesus’ ascension, his new way of being Jewish attracted more followers. But Paul was bringing in non-Jews. Most wanted the converts to become Jews, and insisted on adult male circumcision. A church council in Jerusalem decided otherwise. Thus following Jesus was open to all, and the Jesus movement became a universal religion.

Unfortunately, GAFCON and ACNA are devoted to keeping certain people “out.” In essence they say, “If we let the uncircumcised in, we will no longer be orthodox.”

But to be Anglican is to embrace “all sorts and conditions” – even when there is respectful disagreement on the details.Those who support these ideals will continue in the Communion.

The ideals of ACNA and GAFCON are clearly different. So, we do not need a judicial commission. ACNA never belonged; GAFCON now holds itself apart. They can decide for themselves.

Kurt Hill

I’d accept Continuing groups such as the ACNA and the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) as Associate Members of the Anglican Communion, with a Voice and Consultative Vote, if they were to agree to practice Table Fellowship with The Episcopal Church. All baptized Christians, of course, may receive the Blessed Sacrament at American Episcopal altars.

The Rev. Canon Andrew Gerns

I would like to know how each of the Bishops voted and if Archbishop Welby was one of the abstainers or supported the resolution or not.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café