Anglican Consultative Council Digest: Nov. 5

By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Posted Nov 5, 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 other coverage, here’s some of what else went on Nov. 5 (local time), the 10th day of the Oct. 27-Nov. 7 gathering.

Members debrief on weekend ‘Mission Encounters’
ACC members spent two hours discussing at table groups and then reporting a summary of the insights they gained over the Nov. 3-4 weekend as they worshipped with and talked with Anglicans in Auckland and other parts of the province, and learn about their mission and ministry.

“All of us felt we were given a huge gift” during the so-called “Mission Encounters,” said Helen Biggin, ACC member from the Church in Wales. “Many us feel we have a lot to learn from New Zealand.”

The Rev. Gay Jennings, center, Episcopal Church ACC member, and Helen Biggin, from the Church in Wales, listen as Harriet Baka Nathan, ACC lay member from the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, describes her “mission encounter” with a local Anglican congregation on Nov. 4 (local time). Photo/Mary Frances Schjonberg

And New Zealand Anglicans “learned yesterday that they’re part of a much larger church,” according the Rev. Jan Wallace of St. Andrew’s of Pukehoe in the Auckland Region.

Members at more than one table group reported that while their contexts were different, many found that they face the same challenges of small and aging congregations. Others mentioned the congregations’ efforts to welcome youth and include them in the parish’s life.

Some African ACC members, according to the report-back, remarked about how different these small and aging congregations were from their contexts. They also noted that while their priests tend to be trained for mission, priests here and in other parts of the communion seem more focused on pastoral care of congregants.

A partial list of those encounters is here.

Standing Committee nominees announced
Twelve ACC members have been nominated to fill six of the council’s seven seats on the 14-member Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. Anglican Communion primates hold five seats on the committee. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is one of those five.

Diocese of Southern Malawi Bishop James Tengatenga and Elizabeth Paver from the Church of England hold seats on the committee by virtue of their status as ACC chair and vice chair.

The archbishop of Canterbury is an ex officio member of the committee.

The nominees are:
Garth Blake, Anglican Church of Australia
The Rev. Sarah Macneil, Anglican Church of Australia
Samuel Mukunya, Anglican Church of Kenya
Suzanne Lawson, Anglican Church of Canada
Louisa Mojela, Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Church of England
Harriet Baka Nathan, Episcopal Church of Sudan
Juanildo Barrity, Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil
Helen Biggin, Church in Wales
Bishop Eraste Bigirimana, Anglican Church of Burundi
Bishop Bill Godfrey, Southern Cone of America
The Very Rev. Herman B Browne, Church of the Province of West Africa

The election will take place Nov. 6 (local time).

Diocese of Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas was elected to the Standing Committee during the previous meeting of the ACC in Jamaica in 2009 and his term continues.

Case studies in evangelism and church growth
The Anglican Witness group, part of the Anglican Communion Secretariat’s Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative
presented the members with a series of cases studies on evangelism and church growth, asking them to discuss the examples at their tables and then report back to the entire council.

The case studies came from All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, Kenya, the Back to Church Sunday initiative begun in the Diocese of Manchester, England in 2004, the Ford (a chapel supported by Anglican, Methodist and Elim Pentecostal churches in Chapelford, a new housing estate built upon the site of a former World War II Air Force base in Cheshire, England), and an agricultural mission project in Orang Asli Village in Gopeng, Malaysia.

Resolutions passed by council today

  • Resolution 15.3, which recognizes the development of indigenous leadership as an essential part of church leadership within the communion, recognizes “the critical need to restore the spiritual well-being of Indigenous Peoples who have survived historical trauma, but are still grieving and in pain,” and encourages the Anglican Indigenous Network to assist indigenous communities to continue that work and report to ACC-16.
  • Resolution 15.6, which affirms the “integral expression of Anglican witness and identity” in the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC), calls on provinces and dioceses with CUAC colleges and universities to engage with them and enlist their support in training lay and ordained ministers, “enable and support the colleges’ and universities’ well-being” and report on that support in consultation with the schools to CUAC.
  • Resolution 15.8, which confirms support of young people in the communion; urges provinces to commit to further development of youth ministries by developing programs, appointing youth ministers and contributing financially to the International Anglican Youth Network; encourages a province from each of the network regions to host a regional gathering on youth ministry; asks provinces to create a prayer for young people and recommends the use of “Ending Violence Against Young Women and Girls.”
  • Resolution 15.10, which “laments and condemns” the growing trafficking of children and adults for sexual and exploitative behavior; welcomes the work of the Inter-Anglican Family Network and the International Anglican Women’s Network to raise awareness; asks provinces to learn more about the issues, make resources available to address and eliminate trafficking, report on activities at all levels, promote and disseminate new and existing liturgical resources, ask the above two networks plus the Anglican Refugee and Migrant Network to collaborate to support Anglicans in their work against trafficking; and report to ACC-16 on progress.
  • Resolution 15.11, which asks the Anglican Peace and Justice Network to determine how many provinces, dioceses and individuals in the communion have been involved in truth and reconciliation commission work; requests the network to possibly seek funding for an international meeting of those people; urges future directions for the communion to be determined; and asks the network to report to ACC-16.
  • Resolution 15.12, which applauds the Inter-Anglican Family Network’s recent consultation in Oceania on violence and the family, commends the consultation’s report and encourages churches of the communion to use it to develop their own actions plans, and asks network to monitor actions of the churches and report to ACC-16.
  • Resolution 15.18, which notes the progress made in the first three years of the Anglican Alliance, affirms its regional grounding and calls on provinces to engage with the alliance’s work at the appropriate level.
  • Resolution 15.19, which affirms the centrality of the Bible in the life of the communion’s churches, affirms the importance of continued study of the Bible, welcomes the work of the Bible in the Life of the Church project, requests theological colleges and research scholars across the communion to explore the issues raised in the final report “Deep Engagement, Fresh Discovery,” asks that the project be continued, requests translation into more languages, asks the secretary general to seek funding to publicize immediately the availability of project’s resources.
  • Resolution 15.23, which notes the work of the Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative, endorses a name change to Anglican Witness Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative of the Anglican Communion; recommends that all provinces could have their evangelism and church growth efforts enriched in the initiative; asks those involved in the initiative to look at further ways to encourage that connection, especially “towards more effective, culturally relevant ministry amongst children and young people.”
  • Resolution 15.26, which requests the council’s regret to the immigration services of Australia and New Zealand (for one particular instance) that some members had their requests for visas denied “especially the insulting and degrading manner in which some of the decisions were communicated to the members,” expresses concern that “countries commonly known as ‘developing’ are demonstrating increasing inequality in the application of the immigration procedures” and ask governments to recognize the human dignity of each visa applicant, encourages provinces to raise the issue with their governments to urge them to become more hospitable and be just in their consideration of visa applications.
  • Resolution 15.28, which says in part that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws “while protecting Islam and the Prophet, are vaguely formulated and are increasingly being arbitrarily enforced by the police and judiciary in a way which amounts to harassment and persecution”; calls for the government to protect the life and property of religious minorities, repeal the laws, take steps to “prevent their unjust application” pending repeal, immediately stop abductions, forced conversions and forced marriages; asks provinces to approach their ministries of foreign affairs or equivalent in support of the resolution; asks provinces to express through prayer and action their solidarity with those persecuted in Pakistan including the church, civil-society organizations and “those Muslim leaders who are working against these discriminatory practices.”
  • Resolution 15.29, which supports the immediate reopening of the Greek Orthodox School of Theology on the island of Halki, Turkey.

Some, but not all, of these resolutions have been posted here.

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