What is the Anglican Consultative Council?

Posted Apr 27, 2019

[Episcopal News Service] The Anglican Consultative Council is one of three of the Anglican Communion’s Instruments of Communion, the others being the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops and the Primates Meeting.

The archbishop of Canterbury (who is president of the ACC) is seen as is the “Focus for Unity” for the three instruments.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Full ENS coverage of the 17th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council is available here.[/perfectpullquote]

The ACC’s objective, according to its constitution, is to “advance the Christian religion and in particular to promote the unity and purposes of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, in mission, evangelism, ecumenical relations, communication, administration and finance.” And, among the ACC’s powers listed in the constitution, is its ability to “develop as far as possible agreed Anglican policies in the world mission of the church” and encourage the communion’s autonomous churches, or provinces, to share their resources to accomplish those policies.

The ACC is responsible for charting the work of the communion’s committees and networks, as well as that of the Anglican Communion staff and the communion’s Standing Committee. There are currently 10 thematic networks that address and profile various issues and areas of interest in the Anglican Communion.

Formed in 1969, the ACC includes clergy and lay people, as well as bishops, among its delegates. Members are chosen by various means in each of the Anglican Communion’s 40 provinces and six extra-provincial bodies to serve for three meetings of the ACC. The largest provinces are entitled to three members: a bishop, priest and lay person. Other provinces are entitled to two members: one ordained person (deacon, priest or bishop) and one lay person.

In addition, the primates, or episcopal leaders, of the Anglican Communion provinces elect five members to the ACC and the Standing Committee can appoint “up to six additional members in order to achieve balanced representation and to assist the work of the council in achieving its object,” according to the ACC constitution. The latter are known as “co-opted members.” This year, the ACC will also be joined by eight youth members from five regions across the Anglican Communion.

Representatives from the communion’s ecumenical partners also attend and, for the first time, this 17th meeting of the ACC includes eight youth members from five geographic regions of the communion.

The Episcopal Church’s ACC members in Hong Kong are Oklahoma Bishop Edward J. Konieczny, the Rev. Michael Barlowe and Rosalie Ballentine of the Diocese of the Virgin Islands. This is the first meeting for Barlowe and Konieczny, and Ballentine’s second. Terms run for three meetings.

Barlowe, the executive officer of General Convention, is serving as an alternate to House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, who would have been attending the last of her three-meeting term. Rebecca Wilson, her spokesperson, said that in order to fulfill other commitments and use the church’s travel budget wisely, Jennings asked Executive Council to name Barlowe as the alternate clergy member for this ACC meeting. Barlowe, who represents The Episcopal Church at gatherings of the communion’s provincial secretaries, was already scheduled to travel to Hong Kong for such a meeting May 6-9.

The roster for ACC17 is here.

The council meets every three or four years and the Hong Kong meeting is the council’s 17th session. The ACC last met in April 2016 in Lusaka, Zambia. It is returning to Hong Kong where it met in 2002 for its 12th meeting. The first meeting was held in Limuru, Kenya, in 1971.

Some parts of the meeting in Hong Kong are being livestreamed here where they will also be available for later playback. The schedule for livestreaming is:

April 27, 5 p.m. Hong Kong Time
Press conference with Archbishop of Canterbury and ACC President Justin Welby, Archbishop of Hong Kong and ACC Chair Paul Kwong, Canon Margaret Swinson, ACC vice chair and member from the Church of England, and Anglican Communion Secretary General Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon

April 28, 11:45 a.m. HKT
Presidential address by Welby

April 28, 5 p.m. HKT
Official opening of ACC-17 with Eucharist at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Hong Kong
Presiding: Kwong; Preaching: Welby

April 29, 11a.m. HKT
Report by Anglican Communion Secretary General Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon

May 4, 5:30 p.m. HKT
Press conference with Welby, Kwong and others

May 5, 4 p.m. HKT
Official close of ACC-17 with Eucharist at St John’s Cathedral
Presiding: Welby; Preaching: Kwong

Note: Hong Kong is 12 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Daylight Time; 13 hours ahead of Central time; 14 hours ahead of Mountain time; and 15 hours ahead of Pacific time

The Twitter hashtag is  #ACC17HK.