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

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

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

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

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

John Sandeman

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.

Marshall Scott

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.

Paul Woodrum

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

Marshall Scott

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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