Curry emphasizes autonomy of Anglican Consultative Council

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Presiding Bishop Michael Curry spoke with the Church Times:

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Rt Revd Michael Curry, has emphasised the autonomy of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), in the wake of the Primates’ decision to censure his Church.

At their meeting in Canterbury earlier this month, the Primates’ required the US Episcopal Church to no longer represent them on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, not serve on the Primates or ACC standing committees, and not vote on matters of polity and doctrine at the ACC for a period of three years, as a consequence of its support for same-sex marriage.

The Primates’ gathering, however, has no official executive status. The authority to enforce such steps rests with the ACC itself.

Bishop Curry was asked directly whether he would contest these “consequences” at the next meeting of the ACC in April. On Wednesday, he would say only: “The ACC is the only formal constitutional body of the Anglican Communion and it will decide what it will do. Our representatives from the Episcopal Church look forward to being there.”

The ACC meets in April. The representatives to the ACC from The Episcopal Church are the Bishop of Connecticut, the Rt. Rev .Ian Douglas, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings (also President of the House of Deputies), and Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine, lay person and deputy to the General Convention from the Virgin Islands. Church Times reports Douglas and Jennings have confirmed  they will attend. Douglas also serves on the ACC Standing Committee.

The Church Times reminds us:

In the past, members of the ACC have criticised the Primates for overstepping their remit. In 2006, after the Primates asked the US Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to voluntarily withdraw their representatives from the ACC, the organisation’s then chairman, the Rt Revd John Paterson, criticised the move as “at least slightly premature, if not coercive and somewhat punitive” (News, 24 June, 2005).

Earlier this week Canon Lawyer Doe, member of the Anglican Covenant Design Group, called the primates’ move to limit the participation of the Episcopal Church “completely unacceptable interference with the autonomy of each of these bodies as they transact their own business.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury today issued his interpretation of the meaning of primates’ communiquë. The key paragraph regarding the Episcopal Church:

We remain committed to being together, albeit we asked that TEC, while attending and playing a full part in our meetings and all discussions, will not represent the Anglican Communion to other churches and should not be involved in standing committees for a period of three years. During this time we also asked that they not vote on matters of doctrine or how we organise ourselves.

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Dr. William A Flint, MDiv, PhD
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Dr. William A Flint, MDiv, PhD

First and foremost, it is the Gospel of God to which all theses Bodies will ultimately answer. If those whose sole design is the expulsion of TEC from the Anglican Communion and replacing it with ACNA, then I believe that will be the end of the Anglican Communion. Bodies like that of the ACNA have historically withered away with time.
The Civil Rights Movement in America gave us many independent bodies withdrawing from hierarchical liturgical Churches in the USA over integration. Today, these independent bodies have all but vanished from the landscape, so shall ACNA in time.

TEC properly represents the People of The United States of America. Meaning TEC has suffered from the birth of this Nation through all its history and now reflects the emerging of a new consensus of what the American People are. If The Church of England forsakes its historic bonds with TEC, then there is no Anglican Community any longer.

TEC may have lost a small percentage of members it is attempt to conform to what it believes to be the Holy Spirit's guidance and I do not doubt that this movement is of God for one second. In the emerging American landscape, TEC stands to be the Church to which most younger Americans will turn too and become actively involved in as they strive to live the Christian witness in their lives.
It was said once, by an American President, that TEC was in fact The Church of America. There is nothing to cause me to believe anything has changed.

Finally, remember, how goes the TEC goes the Anglican Communion. Every Church in the world should take heed that God's Spirit is moving to bring all God's Children in one Body, and that Body is THE BODY OF CHRIST. There will be no male or female, no racial barriers, no gender barriers, no economic barriers, no gay, no straight, or anything thing else that defines the Children of God in this One Body of Christ. The only admonishment I can offer: Be sure you are not standing against the Holy Spirit as God moves to unify Christ's Church.

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Chris Harwood
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Chris Harwood

A bit grandiose, don't you think? Do you really think the 1.7 million people who the church claims as members or the 600,000, mostly rich, older, white people who actually attend TEC,"represent" the entire United States in any way? Do you think the majority of Americans agree? TEC is no bigger compared to the whole than ACNA and seems to be doing a good job of withering itself. Most of TEC's growth is in foreign dioceses. How do they represent the US, except maybe as proof of our love of empire?

As for the Communion, break it up and leave it to God as Gamaliel proposed.

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

"Do you think the majority of Americans agree?"

As a matter of fact, they do.

Here's an article from May 2015:

"Support for same-sex marriage has reached an all-time high, according to recent polls. A new survey from Gallup shows a record 60 percent of Americans now say they approve of legalized same-sex marriage.

"The trend measured by Gallup closely matches results from other polls that have been measuring public opinion on same-sex marriage. An ABC/Washington Post poll conducted in April found that 61 percent of Americans approve. Similarly, a Quinnipiac University poll from the same month measured approval at 58 percent."

Now I would say that the majority is not always correct. The primates' confab shows that.

But in this instance, your appeal to popular opinion is misinformed as to popular opinion.

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Paul Woodrum
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New +Canterbury principle: "Divide bad. Shun OK."

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Ellen Campbell
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Ellen Campbell

I am confused by this. How does the ACC have authority over us?

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

I wonder who is advising +Curry about these matters?

This could doom TEC. They could have their reps voted out of the room.

The idea that the ACC's role is constitutional scrutiny is make-believe. The ACC is allowed by English Law to operate as a not for profit and receive tax-free donations. Its name says it all: "consultative."

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

A bit perturbed that the "require" language is being scrutinized, eh?

I wonder who drafted that language.

The ABC has already translated the overreaching "require" to "ask." Perhaps because he took advice.

"Doom TEC"? Really? Is that a threat? Or just a wish?

Methinks that any threat of expulsion from the ACC is no threat at all if the ACC has become an Instrument of Oppression.

Methinks as well that to have TEC's ACC reps voted out of the room would (i) give TEC a badge of honor and (ii) give the entire situation further moral clarity.

"Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression."

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

Do you know who drafted that "require" language?

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James Byron
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James Byron

Very well said Jeremy, and if that's how it goes down, then indeed, so be it.

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Kurt Hill
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Kurt Hill

Amen!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

Dear Mr Bates

I am perturbed about nothing but thanks for asking!

My comment was simply an acknowledgment of the size of those provinces whose Primates issued the consequences last week, and their voting numbers at ACC meetings.

But TEC can act as it wishes....that is very clear.

God bless.

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Frank Schwimmer
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Frank Schwimmer

"we asked that TEC, while attending and playing a full part in our meetings and all discussions, will not represent the Anglican Communion to other churches and should not be involved in standing committees for a period of three years. During this time we also asked that they not vote on matters of doctrine or how we organise ourselves"

However, we will gladly accept their financial support to keep our bureaucratic structures running.

In Christ

The bishops

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