Support the Café

Search our Site

Welby at closing of ACC-16: “Consequences of Primates meeting have been fully implemented”

Welby at closing of ACC-16: “Consequences of Primates meeting have been fully implemented”

As reported yesterday, the Anglican Consultative Council passed this resolution on April 18:

The Anglican Consultative Council

  1. receives the formal report of the Archbishop of Canterbury to ACC-16 on the Primates’ Gathering and Meeting of January 2016; and
  2. affirms the commitment of the Primates of the Anglican Communion to walk together; and
  3. commits to continue to seek appropriate ways for the provinces of the Anglican Communion to walk together with each other and with the Primates and other Instruments of Communion.

That’s too much for a headline. ACNS boils it down to “ACC commits to ‘walking together’ with the Primates” in this report dated April 20:

The Archbishop briefed members of the ACC last week about the Primates’ meeting; and this week they unanimously agreed a resolution backing the Primates’ decisions.

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.”

The ACNS report refers back to Welby’s report that he references above in his interpretation of the meaning of the resolution:

In his report to the ACC last week, during their meeting at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, Archbishop Welby said: “Like all the Instruments of Communion – whether the ACC, the [office of the] Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Lambeth Conference – the Primates’ meeting has no legal authority over Provinces. Any kind of synodical control of that kind has been rejected since the first Lambeth Conference.

“Neither can any one instrument legally bind another Instrument. The Anglican Communion only works when the relationships within it are good enough to permit a common discernment of the way in which we are being led by the Spirit. And historically this has been seen in what is often called reception.

“Both before, but especially since Lambeth 1920, one of the great Lambeth conferences, reception has meant the informal process of relationships, by which, over time, developments in the life of the Communion are accepted or rejected in a way that leads to consensus. Thus, issues in 1920 around contraception, in Lambeth 1930 and 1948 around divorce were at the time seen as threatening the unity of the Communion.

“We have been here before. And they were seen as as much of a serious difficulty as issues of sexuality today….

Is Welby equating “receiving” and “reception of” a report of a gathering/meeting?

A resolution to “welcome” his report and pursue further consequences was withdrawn.

In the list of resolutions of ACC-16 the term “receives” is frequently used, often as “receives and commends.” The use of “welcomes” is less frequent.

Yesterday ENS posted A Letter from Lusaka: Episcopal Church’s ACC members write to the church. An excerpt:

Because this ACC meeting was held in the shadow of the January Primates Gathering and Meeting that sought to restrict our participation as members from The Episcopal Church, we want to assure you that we participated fully in this meeting and that we were warmly welcomed and included by other ACC members. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby did report to the ACC on the Primates Gathering and Meeting [see here] on the first day of the meeting. Beyond that report, 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.

April 18th ENS had Anglican Consultative Council declines to go along with ‘consequences.

The House of Deputies report on the resolutions provides a sharply different perspective from the ACNS report of Welby’s take. See our post yesterday on that report.

Graham Kings, of the Anglican Communion Office tweets,

Jim Naughton, former editor of Episcopal Café, responds:

Image of ABC and Ian credit ENS.



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
Rod Gillis

Crusty is a mystic.

Michael Russell

Yes and my point is that diplomatic sensitivity is misplaced in this situation. What needs to happen is to press the Communion to deal openly with the hypocrisy of those primates who affect “love” for the LGBT community but actively or passively promote their destruction in their home communities. Resolutions saying you love people are pointless if you promote situations that lead to their destruction. Diplomatic sensitivity as a gesture of “walking together” is vacuous in a time of actual life threatening polities.

Rod gillis

Sure, and I’m not in disagreement with your point of view. And let’s face it, “walking together” is a euphemism for impaired communion.

I’m simply wanting to point out the wiggle room and spin in the ABC’s interpretation. He might ask himself, which is more of a liability to hegemony among the bishops of The Communion, TEC or dogmatic primates? It also goes to authority. It is important that the outcome of ACC be understood as a politcal and diplomatic outcome, not the inevitable outcome of primatial authority. The fact ex officio primates didn’t even show up also deserves more attention.

Rod Gillis

The Archbishop states, “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.”

Let’s look at these two sentences. The first one is a fact. The second one is an outcome that goes to the decision of Bishop Douglas rather than to the demands of the Primates.

The article states, “…for constitutional reasons those [TEC] delegates were legally entitled to attend. ” That same ACC constitution would have entitled Bishop Douglas to run had he chosen to do so.

The outcome owes more to diplomatic sensitivity than to petulant boycotting Primates.

John Sandeman

The Chair of the ACC is automatically on the Standing Committee. So if Bishop Douglas had stood and been elected that would have “broken’ on of the consequences.

David Allen

Not standing for office in the ACC was not one of the consequences IIRC.

Michael Russell

++Welby said the consequences were enacted because no TEC person stood for election. THAT is the official interpretation, the consequences were enacted. It is really unimportant what other resolutions might have said in what one writer above called baffle-gab.
What matters is that the headline is once again about TEC being pushed away instead of TEC powerfully pressing the case for the just and non-violent treatment of the LGBT community in Africa and elsewhere.
Had we made some effective protest of the continued attack on the LGBT communities that would have been the headline. But it wasn’t. We decided that a faux “walking together” was a more important witness to make than a strident and assertive demand for the well treatment of communities despised by many of the global south primates and their constituencies.
I am not interested in what might have been done behind closed doors, only what appears in the public light. And that is that of a TEC that caved,

Jeremy Bates

“How are we equal if in our ‘walking together’ you get to bind my legs?”

Jesse Snider, this is excellent counter-narrative.

I like your question because it clarifies what’s really going on. The nice-sounding phrase “walking together” is being used to obscure what is really going on. At last count, four primates were _refusing_ to walk together!

After Primates2016 and ACC, still wondering whether the Anglican Communion is worth the trouble (and the discrimination).

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