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Secretary General says ACC-Lusaka standing committee misreads Walking Together resolution

Secretary General says ACC-Lusaka standing committee misreads Walking Together resolution

UPDATE: ENS (Episcopal News Service) has a clear report on the back and forth. Highly recommended especially if our post is obtuse. A snippet:

Two Anglican Communion leaders and some outgoing members of theAnglican Consultative Council are at odds about what exactly happened on the last full day of last month’s ACC-16 meeting in Lusaka, Zambia.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said that the council passed a resolution accepting the so-called “consequences” called for in January by a majority of the primates – leaders of the Anglican Communion’s 38 provinces – for the Episcopal Church’s decision to allow same-sex marriage. However, some ACC members dispute that interpretation.

The latest two chapters in the continuing disagreement opened May 6 when six outgoing ACC and Standing Committee members released a statement saying the council did not accept or endorse those consequences.  The statement also said that the ACC imposed no additional consequences.

Welby declined a request from Episcopal News Service to comment on the ACC members’ statement. However, during the evening of May 8, Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Anglican Communion secretary general, rejected the statement.

May 10: The Anglican Journal (Canada) has picked up the ENS report.

The ping pong between principals over the interpretation of the Walking Together resolution passed at the recent Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka continues.

ACNS (Anglican Communion News Service) Sunday posted Anglican Communion Office Secretary General rejects criticism over Walking Together resolution. The “criticism” Archbishop Idowu-Fearon “rejects” came in a statement from the outgoing Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council.

In their statement the standing committee clarified its understanding of the resolution which “received” the Archbishop of Canterbury’s (ABC) report to the ACC on the primates communique which laid out “consequences” for the Episcopal Church. In its clarification the six members of the standing committee wrote,

In receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury’s formal report of the Primates’ Gathering and Meeting, ACC16 neither endorsed nor affirmed the consequences contained in the Primates’ Communique…. No consequences were imposed by the ACC and neither was the ACC asked to do so.

The “clarification” is at odds with the ABC’s interpretation of the resolution. Prior to the issuance of the standing committee’s clarification the ABC wrote,

By receiving my report, which incorporated the Primates’ Communique, the ACC accepted these consequences entirely, neither adding to nor subtracting from them. There was no attempt during the Meeting to increase the consequences or to diminish them…. So much for that issue, which has been much distorted in comments since the end of the ACC.

Over a week earlier at the conclusion of ACC-Lusaka the ABC spoke with ACNS and said,

“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.”

The GAFCON* primates did not take the ACC’s resolution as acceptance of the consequences. In their post-ACC communique they took the position that consequences were not enforced and the ACC was damaged as an instrument of unity.

The members of Episcopal Church attending ACC-Lusaka stated as the meeting wrapped up that

ACC members seemed to have little energy for answering the primates’ call for consequences, for discussing disagreements over human sexuality, or for taking up the call of Anglican Communion Secretary-General Josiah Idowu-Fearon to pursue the Anglican Covenant. Yesterday, in fact, a resolution that sought to pursue further consequences against The Episcopal Church was withdrawn just before it was scheduled for debate.

These reports prompted a tweet from a member of the Anglican Communion Office. (Follow link above.)

And April 18th Episcopal News Service had Anglican Consultative Council declines to go along with ‘consequences.

*GAFCON = Global Anglican Future Conference


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Cynthia Katsarelis

“In short, your decision puts many of us at risk.”

This is one of those damn lies. Ever since this conversation started about “Putting people at risk”, I’ve been reading Human Rights Watch reports. They identify causes of strife and abuses, and make recommendations at the local, national, and international levels to fix the problems. None of the reports identify gay liberation in the west as the cause of Muslim versus Christian strife. They list unequal rights, and pocketbook issues like grazing rights. They note that these things escalate in an atmosphere where crimes go unpunished, i.e., perpetrators act with impunity. The recommendations are very practical, things like teaching soldiers how to secure a crime scene and collect evidence for later prosecution. No report that I’ve seen, including one from Josiah’s home province in Nigeria, name LGBTQ inclusion as the source of any problem whatsoever. It seems awfully convenient.

Chris Cooper

“Arrogant and dismissive” is exactly how I would characterize the words of the Secretary General when he spoke at Trinity Cathedral in Miami in January of this year on the subject of the gathering of the primates.

“In Nigeria, other parts of Africa, and in many other places in the Communion — including North America, let us be honest — Anglicans must go much further to enact both the spirit and letter of this part of Lambeth 1.10 and the 2005 Primates’ Meeting. TEC has stood up for the rights of gay and lesbian people here and around the world, and I am inspired. But changing the doctrine of marriage to include those same people has not inspired most of the Anglican family. Because they are in communion with you, and choose to walk with you even though they cannot agree with or receive the decision of the General Convention, they are perceived as being pro-gay churches. Being in communion with you threatens their witness to the same Lord Jesus, especially but not only in Muslim contexts, where the cultural sensibilities about human sexuality are so very different. In short, your decision puts many of us at risk.

In the recent General Convention, you demonstrated a hope that it is possible to disagree on this issue within your church and remain in communion with one another. It is a hope that will be tested, as you know. And for the rest of the communion, such living together in disagreement will perhaps be even more difficult. As much as Episcopalians are scandalised by the criminalisation of homosexuality in some parts of the world, know that other Anglicans are scandalised by your change of the doctrine of marriage.”

Jeremy Bates

Actually “they” cannot punish us. Only the ACC can expel us from the Communion, and the ACC is obviously of no mind to do that.

If it were, by the way, then the Communion truly would be an instrument of oppression. In that case there would be no point to staying in it.

But the ACC’s view is much different. Which suggests that the Communion is moving forward, despite its Primates.

Richard Burris

Who cares? I gave up on the Anglican Communion some time ago. We have decided to move forward and they can live with it or punish us or do whatever they want. It is of no consequence. It is irrelevant.

Michael Russell

Why would anyone trust the word of people who cannot say things plainly and clearly? I tire of Anglican fudge and duplicitous nuance. And I find it sad that our own representatives play this game. We owe the Communion no apology for our principled choices. We do owe those who continue to have their lives and well being threatened a forceful presence in Communion deliberations that presses the haters to desist from their behavior.

Instead we are engaged in mealy mouthing over what was actually done. But here is the plain summary of the debate about these resolutins: “Did to” “Did not” all the rest is chaff.

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