ACC ‘neither endorsed nor affirmed’ primates’ action, six outgoing members say

Posted May 6, 2016

The six outgoing ACC and Standing Committee members who signed the May 6 statement are Helen Biggin, Church in Wales (back row, left); Joanildo Burity, Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil (front row, second from right); Bishop Ian T. Douglas, Episcopal Church (back row, right); Bishop Sarah Macneil, Anglican Church of Australia (front row, first from right); Elizabeth Paver, Church of England, outgoing vice-chair (front row, first from left) and Bishop James Tengatenga, Province of Central Africa, outgoing chair (front row, second from right). They posed with the continuing Standing Committee members April 12 on the steps of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, Zambia. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] The six outgoing members of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee on May 6 released the following statement about action taken on April 18 during the ACC-16 meeting in Lusaka, Zambia.

Walking Together: A Clarification
May 6, 2016

Since the enriching, empowering and constructive meeting of the Anglican
Consultative Council (ACC16) in Lusaka, 8 – 19 April 2016, a number of statements have appeared with respect to ACC16’s engagement with the outcome of the January 2016 Primates’ Gathering and Meeting.

As outgoing members of the Anglican Consultative Council and of the Standing Committee, we are writing to clarify our understanding of what transpired at ACC16 with respect to the earlier Primates’ gathering.

ACC16 approved a resolution “Walking Together,” as follows:

The Anglican Consultative Council
1. receives the formal report of the Archbishop of Canterbury to ACC16 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 the other Instruments of Communion.

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’ Communiqué. There was no plenary discussion or decision with respect to the Primates’ Communiqué. From our perspective there did not seem to be a common mind on the issue, other than the clear commitment to avoid further confrontation and division. ACC16 did welcome the call for the Instruments of Communion and the Provinces to continue to walk together as they discern the way forward. No consequences were imposed by the ACC and neither was the ACC asked to do so.

During the meeting there were many opportunities, both formal and informal, to explore the ACC16 theme of ‘Intentional discipleship in a world of differences.” This was done faithfully and respectfully.

As outgoing members of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee, we remain passionate about the ACC’s distinct and independent role as one of the Instruments of Communion. The ACC provides a crucially important space for the sharing of our stories in God’s mission as laity, priests, deacons and bishops from the many and diverse contexts of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion. At ACC16 we truly witnessed the stated commitment to walking together in our life as the Body of Christ.

Helen Biggin, The Church in Wales
Prof. Dr .Joanildo Burity, Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, The Episcopal Church
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Sarah Macneil, The Anglican Church of Australia
Canon Elizabeth Paver, The Church of England, Outgoing Vice-Chair
The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, The Church of the Province of Central Africa, Outgoing


Comments (8)

  1. This statement contradicts Justin Welby’s assertion that “by receiving my report, which incorporated the Primates’ Communique, the ACC accepted these consequences entirely.”

  2. Randy Marks says:

    It’s awesome we are IN a church where leaders from around the world can openly correct the Archbishop.

  3. Cynthia Katsarelis says:

    I deeply appreciate this clarification.

  4. Mary Coogan says:

    Regardless of the phrase “to maintain conversation among ourselves,” the Primates’ Communiqué imposed censorship on American Episcopal Church members of committees within the Communion:

    “. . . .for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

    How can a Consultative Council do its work with any of its members not allowed to speak, their voices mute? This “neither endorsed nor affirmed” decision is not only a judicious response, but the only response that makes any sense if we are to walk together. Let’s walk together, but not in tense silence about our points of disagreement.

  5. Br. James Teets BSG says:

    My understanding of the phrase “Walking Together” appears to imply a state of equality among those on the journey. But “equality” is not reflected in the statement; instead, a degree of stratified membership is established. All those “Walking Together” are not “equal” partners; instead an imposition of “First and Second Class Membership” is established. Those Provinces on the journey who agree among themselves are actually “Walking Together,” with the exclusion of those who do not fully agree with the majority being relegated to “Walking Behind” the others…as Second Class Members of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

    Is this an example of the unity that we all seek, and the visible solution — or punishment — imposed upon those who do not agree with the others? Those who do not agree are not seeking to impose their internal decisions upon other Provinces, yet the majority has pronounced sentence of inequality upon those whose positions are not in agreement with the majority. Is this the reality of the ideal of “Unity in Diversity?”

  6. Sharon King says:

    I’m not a theologian. I’m not ordained. I hold no office anywhere in the Church although I am on the teaching team in my local parish. But, I believe that in some ways, there is really only one “sin”. That is the sin of breaking a relationship–that was the original sin spoken of in Genesis and was the pattern of the Israelites sited repeatedly in the Old Testament. Of course, it is the same sin we all commit today. I believe that all other “sin” flows from this primal Sin.

    Christ came to restore and make whole our relationship with both God and our brothers and sisters and. indeed, the whole of creation. He calls us above all things to love one another. There is nothing He talked about as frequently. He “stretched out his arms on the hard wood of the cross” to show us how much God loves each of us. He said that there was one marker that would signify our kinship with Him. “Behold these Christians, how they love one another.”

    I pray that God will take away our stony hearts that lead us to judge and condemn one another. I pray that God will give us hearts of flesh that are broken for one another…hearts that long for one thing above all else: love relationships. I believe nothing is more important since all else flows from love. I believe that the Holy Trinity throw their arms around each other and weep when we still don’t understand.

    Regardless of our position on same gender relationships, regardless of our desire to control others from different cultures and countries, regardless of anything, let us pray together for broken hearts that cry out to God, “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.”

    1. Such a wonderful message, Sharon. Thank you.

  7. The Very Rev. Mark R. Kowalewski says:

    This clarification highlights the fact that there is not only one instrument of communion ( i.e. the Primates). I believe there are four, the ACC being one of them. By making statements in their January meeting with regard to any body other than the Primates themselves, they arrogate to themselves authority they do not have. Thanks to the ACC for speaking for themselves. I find it confusing that the ABC believes that receiving a report indicates acceptance of it. If I am in a conversation with someone, I may acknowledge what they have said, but it does not mean I either agree or disagree with them.

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