Final day of ACC “should reassure Episcopalians about their membership in the Anglican Communion,” says Jennings

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The report on the final full day of the Anglican Consultative Council is in, and the verdict is positive, writes Rebecca Wilson for DeputyNews.org.

Bishop Ian Douglas of Connecticut, who was on the Standing Committee and the Resolutions Committee for this meeting, found that the final day of business was “pivotal” for the Anglican Communion.

“We’ll look back on today and see that the door could have closed or opened,” he said. “It opened.” …

Withdrawing a resolution that would have reopened the subject of the primates’ communiqué and its call for consequences against the Episcopal Church kept the meeting on track, according to Douglas.

“Rather than focus on the primates’ communiqué narrowly, we focused instead on what the primates’ commitment to walking together meant for our life together as the ACC here in Lusaka. We listened to the [Archbishop of Canterbury’s] report on the primates gathering, considered its impact on our lives, and then decided accordingly as to our work as the ACC,” Douglas said.

While there was some frustration about the design of the meeting, which pushed all voting and resolution debates into the last full day, the business was productive and the report describes the Episcopal delegation as leaving with a sense of hope and purpose. Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine welcomed three resolutions on safe church practices, and noted,

“It is one of the reasons that we really need to stay engaged, because we’ve done a lot in that area in our church, and I think we have a lot to offer the Communion.”

The Revd Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, applauded the diversity of the church represented in elections at the meeting, and the broad scope of resolutions, especially those focused on the place of women and young people around the world.

“There were an amazing number of resolutions about issues that are of common concern, and frankly are desperate situations in many places,” she said. “I was really struck by the fact that gender justice and gender-based violence cuts across every province, and bringing more young people and women into those conversations is essential.”

To Douglas’ point about an opened door,

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, clergy member from the Episcopal Church, believes that the standing committee election and the resolutions passed should reassure Episcopalians about their membership in the Anglican Communion.

Read the full article here. The meeting closes today with a final Eucharist at which Bishop James Tengatenga, retiring Chair of the ACC, will preach, and the Archbishop of Canterbury preside.

Featured image: all smiles at the ACC-16 Opening Eucharist, via ACNS

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

Despite what our ACC delegation may say, nothing about the Anglican Communion lately has been at all "reassuring."

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John Sandeman
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John Sandeman

Marshall,
Let's write an entry in the Anglican Dictionary. Consequence: something rather less than the right wanted, something a little more than the left is comfortable with.
I am not sure quite what motivated Bishop Douglas but not standing possibly was both politically adroit and a act of humility - and why can't someone be both things?
I suspect it will be a long time before we know the future of GAFCON and the Anglican Communion, whether they are separate or intermingled. It is worth remembering that Anglican history has twists and turns. At the first Lambeth Conference the radical Colenso was the centre of attention, yet down the track censure of him by the Lambethy conference resulted in the formation of the ACNA-like Church of England in South Africa. This stuff is unpredictable, it really is.

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Member

Noted, John; and I appreciate I'm parsing rather fine to distinguish "result" from "consequence." I used to wrestle with "proximate cause" and "ultimate cause," too.

Some years ago my father was involved in business negotiations in the UK, and he came home with this observation: "We came to a compromise. In the UK, 'compromise' is considered a good thing, because while no one gets everything desired, everyone gets something, and perhaps most of what's desired. In the US, 'compromise' is considered a failure because 'we' didn't get everything 'we' want." So, we wonder, and to a great extent speculate, on how Welby and/or Douglas and/or ACC has compromised or been compromised; thus demonstrating our own individual perspectives on "compromise."

A long time ago I described Anglican Communion difficulties as a round of "cowboy poker." The object of the event is to be the last person seated at the table, or at least not to be first to leave. (You can see an example of what I'm describing here.) The "prize," if you will, is continued connection to the patrimony of Canterbury and to the fellowship of Communion (and, yes, I am well aware that there are those prepared to walk away, just as there are those not so prepared). For those not prepared to walk away, nor to give the impression of throwing someone out (admittedly, that appears to more a concern of - how shall we describe it - the English-language members of the Communion than of some others), it's managed to allow muddling through.

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Paul Woodrum
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Maybe if those "persons in the pews" really believe that "do unto others..." bit by accepting, women's equality for ordination and marriage equality for gay (here comes moderation again, Cafe's own little bias when it comes to such issues) members of the body, we'd all have more energy for additional justice and equality issues like poverty, starvation, refugees and war, etc. Bloody tired myself of women and gay people constantly being put down.

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Sean Storm
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Sean Storm

Whatever happens the Anglican Communion will survive. The ACC meeting showed much of that. Only four GAFCON provinces didn't send any people, and one group actually came despite the urging of their Archbishop. Many people from GAFCON provinces were there. The truth of the matter is the average person in the pews are tired of the bickering and infighting, they are sick and bloody tired of their leaders being so consumed by issues like womens ordination and if gays can get married in Church. They say "who cares". They say "Save the hungry, clothe the naked, tend the sick, thats more important for the Church to worry about."

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David Allen
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David Allen

Mr Storm, you may only speak for yourself. You aren't the rep for the average person in the pews and what they are tired of. As Paul points out women's equality and LGBT equality are as much a part of the Lord's preference for the oppressed as anything else you may wish to list; hungry, naked, sick, poor etc.

I'm a person in the pew and all of those issues are important to me. I care about women's ordination and whether GLBT folk can marry in our churches.

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David Allen
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David Allen

Until we no longer have folks in the church who are actively opposed to women's & LGBT equality in the Body of Christ, we shall likely have these issues, as tired of them as you may be.

And posting concern-trollish comments won't change that.

BTW, you have used your four comments in this thread today, come back tomorrow to post again.

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Sean Storm
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Sean Storm

Look I am not saying these things aren't important> I am all for womens ordinations and LGBT issues, I am an LGBT Christian myself and a proud Episcopalian. All I am saying is the bickering between both sides has gone on long enough. We need to stop fighting each other.

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Member

Umm, Brother Harwood: is advocating for a position the same thing as imposing a position? That Brothers J.C. and David are so firm doesn't make that an action or a goal of the Episcopal Church. Personally, I don't think we need to impose anything. The Episcopal Church's changes have been driven by changes in our scientific and medical understandings about human sexuality and human personhood; and I believe that folks in other countries will find those medical understandings more and more difficult to ignore, especially as their populations become more and more urban. When that happens, they may well reach out to us because of our experience in coping with these new understandings.

Estimable Brother Sandeman (and always good to exchange with you over the years), when is a "consequence" not a "consequence?" We might have the angry, "You can't fire me because I quit;" or the more measured, "I'm willing to take this one for the team." The former is much more driven by official authority than the latter. I think Bishop Douglas' decision is the latter; and yes, it does have a result the more conservative Primates wanted, but perhaps not in response to the Primates' "directive."

Brother Zachary, I agree with you that "the ACC doesn’t have the ability to change or make decisions regarding doctrine or polity;" but, then, I don't know what body does. Since, with the notable exception of (some perceptions of) 1998 all Lambeth Conferences themselves have been consultative; and since the remit of formal meetings of the Primates is also "consultative;" I'm not sure who would have that authority. Reception of reports on our ecumenical conversations would seem as close as we come to an "official" action regarding faith and order. So, either they aren't any more "official" than any other event for the entire Communion; or they are as "official" as we have, and our votes on them - and the expectation from the ACC meeting as a whole that we would vote on them - is a non-response, positive or negative, to the Primates' "directive. Since there is no Anglican magisterium, and any real decisions about faith and order come by provincial reception of Communion-wide opinions, I think that's where we are.

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Warren Carter
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Warren Carter

Well, it will be interesting to see how the Anglican world will look like after the GAFCON primates meeting next month. There will be a split with the majority going with GAFCON with the rest of you free to spread your view of the Gospel. I hope none of you feel any measure of accomplishment in almost single handedly tearing down the Anglican Communion. Truly sad.

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Sean Storm
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Sean Storm

Believe what you want.

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John Chilton
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John Chilton

According to Gafcon.org that meeting is April 18-23, not next month.

http://gafcon.org/2016/04/

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Zachary Guiliano
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Zachary Guiliano

From ACNS: "Speaking to ACNS last night, as he prepared to fly out of Lusaka at the end of the ACC-16 meeting, Archbishop Welby welcomed the resolution. “The actions of the ACC demonstrate that it is working in close collaboration with the Primates, as has been the aim since both started and is set out especially in Resolution 52 of the Lambeth Conference 1988,” Archbishop Welby said.

“Given that my report, referred to in the resolution, incorporated the Communiqué and was very explicit on consequences; the resolution clearly supports and accepts all the Primates’ Meeting conclusions.

“No member of the Episcopal Church stood for office in the ACC or Standing Committee. The consequences of the Primates meeting have been fully implemented.”"

http://www.anglicannews.org/features/2016/04/acc-commits-to-walking-together-with-the-primates.aspx

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Paul Woodrum
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Our two representatives on ecumenical commissions were fired by the Archbishop of Canterbury and +Bishop Douglas withdrew from consideration for leadership of the ACC. Sounds like TEC 0 and the bullies 3. This is not 'walking together. Now I am persuaded that TEC should withhold funds for the next three fallow years.

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David Allen
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David Allen

We kind of have been withholding funds for a number of years. TEC has only been paying about 26%, IIRC, of the AC ask.

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

Sean and Paul, I think you're BOTH right! What people do, consensually, in their bedrooms really IS a minor matter...

...but only when those who wish to control what goes on in the bedroom, that it becomes MAJOR. It's not the s-e-x, it's the POWER-OVER that some want to place on spousal sex.

That Power-Over directly contradicts the Gospel. And TEC will *never* rest until that Power-Over is over-turned (beginning in our own province, and then extending that model to the rest of the AC).

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Chris Harwood
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Chris Harwood

So the Primates of those other countries are right. TEC does intend to force their opinion on everyone else in the world. So much for unity in diversity. At least you're admitting it.

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

"And TEC will *never* rest until that Power-Over is over-turned (beginning in our own province, and then extending that model to the rest of the AC)."

ChrisH, I now realize that what I meant to say---the power of TEC's example, or "model"---is not exactly the same as what I *did* say (re "extending that model", which could sound coercive).

I'm sick right now, and my brain's a bit feverish. My bad, OK?

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Sean Storm
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Sean Storm

No, nobody is trying to force their opinions on anybody.

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Chris Harwood
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Chris Harwood

TEC keeps saying they're only doing what's right for America and not trying to force their ideas on anyone else. Your comment and others prove that that's not true and I really do find honesty preferable. I really wish the church would lay it's cards out and say "Take it or leave it" instead of what's going on now. "Let your yes be yes..." etc.

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JC Fisher
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JC Fisher

Oh yes, Chris H: by modeling the Gospel, we are "forcing" our opinion on everyone else in the world. You caught me. /s

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David Allen
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David Allen

Yes, we fully intend to get folks out of other people's bedrooms in all the world as soon as we possibly can.

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Paul Woodrum
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Yet again, I'm a little tired of justice, equality, and acceptance of LGBT Christians being referred to as "petty stuff," especially when, in many countries, with the blessing of Anglican prelates, they are persecuted, prosecuted and murdered while even many western branches of the Anglican Communion, still treat gay folks as second class disciples and unworthy of all the sacraments straight people claim as their exclusive rights and rites.

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Sean Storm
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Sean Storm

I cannot believe this. Nobody is talking about anything else discussed at ACC 16 other then the sexuality issue. I truly alot of people are just plain sick and tired of the whole debate. We are Christians. We need to stop arguing over petty stuff, and get on with doing what Christ commanded us to do. Which is some of the things the ACC deliberated on: gender-based violence, poverty, climate change, Safe Church, migration and a host of other issues. All of these are much much more important then what people are doing in their bedrooms. I suggest we all need to go to our local parish and spend a little more time before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and try and get a grip on whats really relevant.

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David Allen
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David Allen

A search of this thread finds you are the one who brought the conversation to sex.

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

The primates communique included this: "while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity."

The TEC reps voted on every issue. There were a raft of resolutions from the Faith and Order committee including resolutions on recent work regarding Christology and the doctrine of justification.

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Zachary Guiliano
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Zachary Guiliano

The ACC's votes to receive and commend reports for study do not amount to "decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity."

Nobody changed the Christology of the Anglican Communion at the ACC, or any understanding of faith and order. Indeed, the ACC doesn't have the ability to change or make decisions regarding doctrine or polity; it is consultative, and has a remit to "facilitate," "exchange information," "advise," and "seek to develop common policies" concerning world mission.

We might, in the future, be interested in beefing up the authority of the ACC: this has been a consistent suggestion in the Communion over the past three decades, alongside a general quest for more binding pronouncements from the primates and the Lambeth Conference (see the Eames Report, the Virginia Report, IASCUFO's report to ACC-15).

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John sandeman
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John sandeman

Jim, I think Zachary has it right. That some on the right exaggerated the scope of the consequences (which did not preclude TEC attending the ACC), does not make equally problematic claims by the left acceptable IMHO. No ACC members on the Standing Committee was the extent of the consequences with regard to the ACC and it was carried out. Having said that, it should be recorded that TEC's Bishop Ian Douglas would have represented the Americas well on the ACC, he can be regarded perhaps as being impacted by the "consequences".
Comparing the contrasting narratives of a meeting like the ACC is always useful. Can I urge everyone to please read widely.

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David Allen
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David Allen

Actually +Ian did participate and represented us well in the Standing Committee meeting that was held in the days just prior to ACC-16. However, his term on the Standing Committee was set to expire with ACC-16, having nothing to do with Primates' Communiqué.

What +Ian chose to do was not run for election as the next chair of the ACC, an office, which sadly, went to a primate who unfortunately represented his province rather than the preference of a lay person.

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Zachary Guiliano
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Zachary Guiliano

Rebecca: perhaps you could name a resolution on doctrine that they voted on?

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Rebecca Wilson
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Rebecca Wilson

-Resolution C13 on the "Agreed Statement on Christology"
-Resolution C14 on "Buffalo Statement of the International Commission for Anglican Orthodox
Theological Dialogue, In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology"
-Resolution C16 on "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification"

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John sandeman
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John sandeman

As there were TEC no members elected to the standing committee the "consequences" were carried out. Narratives will vary, and because no TEC members stood it was not tested in an election, but the consequences by deed if not in the words of motions or speeches went forward. Or have I got this wrong?

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

Yes, you have it wrong. TEC members participated fully in the meeting which was not what the primates "required."

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Rebecca Wilson
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Rebecca Wilson

Zach, the primates' communique said, among other things, that Episcopal Church representatives "will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity." Our members voted on everything at this meeting, including resolutions concerning doctrine, and no one ever suggested that they shouldn't. The consequences did not stand because the primates did not have the authority to impose them and the ACC declined to do so.

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Zachary Guiliano
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Zachary Guiliano

Not so simple, Jim. Only some of the primates (after the meeting) tried to expand the requirement to prevent TEC from participating in the meeting; some conservatives in US also suggested that TEC delegates voluntarily refrain from attending.

The actual wording of the primates' statement was narrower, as I noted in comments on another post.

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Zachary Guiliano
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Zachary Guiliano

Some further relevant quotes from Abp Welby and Secretary General Idowu-Fearon are here: http://livingchurch.org/welby-consequences-stand

And I note with interest the divergence in perspectives here: http://livingchurch.org/covenant/2016/04/19/narratives-and-counter-narratives-the-case-of-acc-16/

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

This is an interesting line of argument: "I cannot say whether the reporting of ENS, Deputy News, and the Episcopal delegates represents an inadvertent or a deliberate attempt at changing the narrative, but Justin Welby’s perspective is the important one here, since he was the president of the meeting."

The confusion of journalism with deference to the purplest shirt in the room is problematic though, no?

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Zachary Guiliano
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Zachary Guiliano

That's a good zinger, Jim. I appreciate wit, especially since it defers from the issue of why Deputy News appears to be reporting only half the facts.

Welby offered a more global perspective that takes into account more of the meeting. Ian Douglas and Gay Jennings, on whom you're relying, simply offer their opinion and leave out detail.

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Sean Storm
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Sean Storm

No everybody, what happened at the ACC meeting is all the delegates decided that despite our differences we are all members of the Body of Christ and the Anglican family, and we need to put aside our differences and continue on with our work. We spend far too much time being bothered about things, when we need to remember to stop pointing fingers at each other. We are wasting time doing that.

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Rebecca Wilson
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Rebecca Wilson

Paul, there wasn't a resolution about marriage or any official statement that marriage is between a man and a woman at this ACC meeting. Yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury reported that he told the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, that the majority of the Anglican Communion thinks that, but that was simply in an informal comment he made in plenary session. He stood up to speak right after the resolution that asked the ACC to "welcome" the primates' communique was withdrawn just before debate on it was scheduled to begin.

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

Paul, what "consequences" are you asking about? There aren't any "consequences" left. They've either come to pass (two TEC reps removed from committees appointed by the ABC) or they haven't come to pass (we participated fully in this ACC meeting.)

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Zachary Guiliano
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Zachary Guiliano

As Archbishop Welby said in the press conference yesterday, 'The consequences stand.' http://livingchurch.org/acc-churns-out-resolutions

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John Chilton
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John Chilton

The Living Church states: "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."

Another source (google it) states: "Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told the ACC that he would be "very glad" if C35 was withdrawn because C34 "covers the issues we need to cover.""

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

The archbishop and secretary general supported c35 early in the process. At lunch on Monday it became clear that it was in trouble. Justin Welby is a much better politician and diplomat than his predecessor.

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John Chilton
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John Chilton

Wow. Interesting how some things don't make the news.

Speaking of news, there's no ACNS report on resolutions day yet. That strikes me as a delay compared the pace they were reporting other news from ACC16. At least not one that I see at this moment. http://www.anglicannews.org/acc-16.aspx

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

But of the three consequences it would seem to me that the only one that stands is the one he had the power to enact himself. I appreciate that he has to reassure the primates, but other than removing two representatives of TEC (whom his office and not the Episcopal Church selected) from committees, what exactly did the primates communique accomplish?

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Paul Woodrum
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If the ACC avoided discussing the Primates' communique, does that mean it stands or that it is being ignored? Are the "consequences" being applied or not to TEC? How does the resolution affirming that marriage is between one man and one women figure into all of this?

Or is all this just one big Anglican fudge that nobody understands but that allows everybody to walk, if not quite together, at least on some undefined path to an unknown destination?

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