Anglican Consultative Council Digest: Oct. 30

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Posted Oct 30, 2012

[Episcopal News Service – Auckland, New Zealand] Much happens each day during the Anglican Consultative Council‘s (ACC) 15th meeting. In addition to Episcopal News Service’s regular coverage, here’s some of what else went on Oct. 30 (local time), the fourth day of the Oct. 27-Nov. 7 gathering.

Members get covenant status update
While the ACC is not due to discuss the current status of the Anglican Covenant until Oct. 31, a document handed out today shows that nine provinces have made a final decision on the covenant with one rejecting the covenant, six accepting it as is and two making modifications as part of their acceptance.

Those in the so-called Category A that have approved the convent are Ireland, Mexico, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Southern Cone of America, and the West Indies. In addition, according to the document, South East Asia adopted the covenant with an added preamble of its own and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has subscribed to the covenant’s first three sections but said it cannot adopt section 4, which outlines a process for resolving disputes.

And, also in Category A, is the Scottish Episcopal Church, which has refused to adopt the covenant.

The U.S.-based Episcopal Church is one of eight provinces sorted into Category B, which is described as including provinces that have made “partial decisions” about the covenant.

At the General Convention in July, the Episcopal Church, via Resolution B005, “declined to take a position” on the covenant. Convention also passed Resolution D008, which pledged that the Episcopal Church would “maintain and reinforce strong links across the world-wide Anglican Communion committing itself to continued participation in the wider councils of the Anglican Communion” and “deepen its involvement with communion ministries and networks.”

The other provinces in Category B (and a summary of their actions) are Australia (sent to dioceses for study), Canada (sent to dioceses for study, also seeking theological, ecclesiastical, legal and constitutional implications of action to adopt or not), England (majority of its dioceses voted covenant down, possible consideration of “following motions”), Korea (acknowledged sections 1-3 as “excellent and useful” with decision postponed for further consideration of Section 4), Melanesia (reports having no difficulties with first three sections, consideration deferred until 2014 General Synod), Southern Africa (adopted pending ratification at next synod meeting later this year), and Wales (requested clarification from ACC15 on covenant status and process in light of England’s position).

There is one province assigned to Category C — the Episcopal Church in the Philippines. The summary document notes that the Anglican Communion Office “is seeking clarification” of a report in the “Philippine Episcopalian” newsletter that said the province’s Council of Bishops had rejected the covenant.

On Oct. 31, the ACC will have “an opportunity to talk about what Anglicans are learning” by way of considering the covenant, according to the Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, the communion’s director of unity, faith and order.

ACC15 includes ecumenical participants
Six ecumenical clerics are participating in the Anglican Consultative Council’s meeting in Auckland. They are the Rev. Robert Gribben of Australia, representing the World Methodist Council; the Rev. Dong-Sung Kim of Geneva, representing the World Council of Churches; Monsignor Mark Langham of Rome, representing the Roman Catholic Church; the Rev. Paul Patitsas of New Zealand, representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Orthodox); the Rt. Rev. Lok Oi Peng of Malaysia, representing the Lutheran World Federation; and the Rt. Rev. Dirk Jan Schoon of the Netherlands, representing the Old Catholic Union of the Churches of Utrecht.

Resolutions committee named
Episcopal Church ACC member Josephine Hicks is one of four people on ACC15’s resolutions committee. The other members are Philippa Amable from the Church of the Province of West Africa, John Stuart of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Garth Blake of the Anglican Church of Australia. The ACC today begin to consider resolutions from its networks, members and other communion organizations. For an example of the kinds of resolutions the ACC has passed out of previous meetings, here are the resolutions from the ACC14 meeting in 2009 in Jamaica and here are those from the 13th ACC meeting in 2005.

 – The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.