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Anglican Consultative Council, Nottingham, June 2005
by Simon Sarmiento
Anglicans Online Europe correspondent
26 June 2005

Four important decisions were made this week at ACC-13 in Nottingham, England.

1. ACC Constitutional Change (in the light of the Windsor Report)

First, and perhaps the most significant item long-term, the ACC decided that its constitution should be amended to provide for all the Primates to be members of the Council, ex-officio. The June 22 decision will eventually - see below for other conditions to be met first - increase the existing roster of members (including the Archbishop of Canterbury) from 78 to 115 and decrease the proportion of lay members of the council from one-half to one-third. The resolution reads as follows.

The Anglican Consultative Council

a. takes note that the Secretary General has taken appropriate steps to implement and respond to the recommendations of Appendix One of the Windsor Report insofar as they relate to the administration of the Anglican Communion Office, and thanks him for this work;

b. requests that the Standing Committee of the Council and the Archbishop of Canterbury give consideration to convening a meeting of the Standing Committee at the same time and in the same place as the next meeting of the Primates, and that they facilitate the opportunity for joint sessions of business and consultation;

c. requests that the Schedule of Membership of the Council be amended to make the members of the Primates' Standing Committee for the time being ex officio members of the Anglican Consultative Council in accordance with the text set out in Appendix One;

d. resolves that the Constitution of the Council be amended by the deletion of existing Article 7(a) and replacing it with the text set out in Appendix Two;

e. requests that the Schedule of Membership of the Council be amended to provide that the Primates and Moderators of the Churches of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion shall be additional ex officio members of the Council, and that in order to achieve appropriate balance between the orders of bishops, clergy and laity in the Council that the representative members shall thereafter be only from either the priestly and diaconal orders or from the laity of the appropriate Provinces as set out in Appendix Three, the execution of this amendment being subject to:

The texts of the three appendices referred to above are not yet available on the web, but I will link to them as soon as they are available. According to ENS there would then be 39 lay people, 37 primates, and 30 clergy/bishops. Formerly bishops were categorised separately from other clergy. In the present ACC, there is some flexibility for provinces in choosing either clergy or lay representatives and in fact there are 28 elected and 4 co-opted lay members listed among the attendees. The Primate of Nigeria is the only primate who is a regular provincial delegate. 5 further primates from the Primates Standing Committee (who currently do not have votes), plus the Archbishop of Canterbury, attended this session.

2. Resolution on the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada

Second, the ACC adopted the following resolution relating to the status of ECUSA and Anglican Church of Canada as ACC members. Wording changes from the initial draft are shown thus: Italics added strikethrough deleted.

The Anglican Consultative Council

(1) takes note of the decisions taken by the Primates at their recent meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, in connection with the recommendations of the Windsor Report 2004;

(2) notes further that the Primates there reaffirmed “the standard of Christian teaching on matters of human sexuality expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which should command respect as the position overwhelmingly adopted by the bishops of the Anglican Communion”;

(3) endorses and affirms those decisions;

(4) consequently endorses the Primates’ request that “in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference”;

(5) further requests that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada withdraw their members from all other official entities of the Communion for the same period.
interprets the reference to Anglican Consultative Council to include its Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Finance and Administration Committee.

To understand the context of this, and why it has been variously interpreted in the press, one needs to first review the relevant recommendations of both the Windsor Report and the Primates Dromantine statement.

The Windsor Report, paragraph 134 said:

(WR 134) …pending such expression of regret, those who took part as consecrators of Gene Robinson should be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion…

The names to whom this would have applied are clear: here is a list and here is another version of the list.

The Windsor Report, paragraph 144 said:

(WR 144) …we call for a moratorium on all such public Rites, and recommend that bishops who have authorised such rites in the United States and Canada be invited to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorisation. Pending such expression of regret, we recommend that such bishops be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion…

The names to whom this would have applied are slightly less clear, but a list could have been drawn up.

The Primates at Dromantine apparently felt that these recommendations needed modification, and replaced them by their paragraphs 13 and 14:

13. We are persuaded however that in order for the recommendations of the Windsor Report to be properly addressed, time needs to be given to the Episcopal Church (USA) and to the Anglican Church of Canada for consideration of these recommendations according to their constitutional processes.

14. Within the ambit of the issues discussed in the Windsor Report and in order to recognise the integrity of all parties, we request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference. During that same period we request that both churches respond through their relevant constitutional bodies to the questions specifically addressed to them in the Windsor Report as they consider their place within the Anglican Communion. (cf. paragraph 8)

This extended the WR recommendation at para 134 which affected ECUSA only to include also the Anglican Church of Canada. It made the time period determinate and independent of any apology, and transferred the sanction from the individuals previously listed to the provinces as a whole. And of course it applied to the individual provincial ACC representatives regardless of their personal culpability in the matters under dispute. Although it no longer referred to "representative functions in the Anglican Communion…", a term which had been variously interpreted, dispute continued as to the extent of the "ACC" sanction across the range of official inter-Anglican bodies, of which there are many, as shown by the ACO website.

In any event, the two provinces concerned made formal apologies that were consistent with what the Windsor Report had requested (although not in the terms many conservatives would have preferred), and they also agreed to withdraw voluntarily from the ACC, although their representatives were present at Nottingham as observers (along with a variety of other people, including many other North Americans).

At the meeting, a resolution was proposed, in the language shown above, i.e with the original version of paragraph 5, by the following:

Stanley Isaacs (South East Asia)
supported by
Peter Akinola (Nigeria) , Henri Isingoma (Congo), Amos Kiriro (Kenya), Andres Lenton(Southern Cone), Gerard Mpango (Tanzania), Samson Mwaluda (Kenya), Bariira Mbukure (Uganda), Damien Nteziryayo (Rwanda), D Okeke (Nigeria), Elizabeth Paver (England), Humphrey Peters (Pakistan).

The debate on this topic was closed to the press, at the request of Archbishop Akinola. After an extended session, it was announced that the motion had been:

a. Revised to replace paragraph 5 with completely new wording, as shown above.

b. Then passed: In favour 30, Against 28, Abstentions 4. This means that only 62 people voted. The total attendance of members who could have voted was about 70. Only one delegate, from the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, was not in attendance at Nottingham.

The motion thus defines the scope of the exclusion to be the ACC itself and its two management committees. Elections for both the latter took place later in the meeting. No Canadian members had lately served on either committee; one American member had served until now on the Finance and Administration committee, and was therefore unable to stand for re-election.

3. Resolution on the Listening Process, as requested by the Primates at Dromantine

Third, the ACC approved a resolution that follows on from the Lambeth Conference 1998 resolution I.10 on sexuality, paragraph 3, and from the Windsor Report, paragraph 135.

The first part of WR paragraph 135 reads:

Finally, we recommend that the Instruments of Unity, through the Joint Standing Committee, find practical ways in which the 'listening' process commended by the Lambeth Conference in 1998 may be taken forward, so that greater common understanding might be obtained on the underlying issue of same gender relationships.

The Primates at Dromantine had said:

17. In reaffirming the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 as the present position of the Anglican Communion, we pledge ourselves afresh to that resolution in its entirety, and request the Anglican Consultative Council in June 2005 to take positive steps to initiate the listening and study process which has been the subject of resolutions not only at the Lambeth Conference in 1998, but in earlier Conferences as well.

The resolution was passed unanimously after only 15 minutes debate. Amendments made in debate are again shown via strikethrough and italics.

In response to the request of the bishops attending the Lambeth Conference in 1998 in Resolution 1.10 to establish “a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion” and to honour the process of “mutual” listening including “listening to the experience of homosexual persons” and the experience of local churches around the world in reflecting on these matters, in the light of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, the Anglican Consultative Council requests the Secretary General:

1. To collate relevant research studies, statements, resolutions and other material on these matters from the various provinces and other interested bodies

2. To make such material available for study, discussion and reflection within each member Church of the Communion; and

3. To identify and allocate adequate resources for this work, and to report progress on it to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the next Lambeth Conference and to the next meeting of this Council, and to copy such reports to the provinces.

4. ACC Resolution on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

Fourth, among various other resolutions considered, the ACC passed a resolution relating to the Israel Palestine situation. This has received a great deal of press attention. The resolution as originally proposed was slighted amended during the ACC debate, and reads as follows. Wording changes from the initial draft are shown thus: Italics added strikethrough deleted

The Anglican Consultative Council:

(a) receives and adopts as its own welcomes the September 22nd 2004 statement by the Anglican Peace and Justice network on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (pages 12 & 13 -14 of the Report)

(b) commends the resolve of the Episcopal Church (USA) to take appropriate action where it finds that its corporate investments support the occupation of Palestinian lands or violence against innocent Israelis, and

(i) commends such a process to other provinces having such investments to be considered in line with their adopted ethical investment strategies

(ii) encourages investment strategies that support the infrastructure of a future Palestinian state

(c) requests the office of the Anglican Observer to the United Nations, through association with the UN Working Committee on peace in the Middle East, as well as through this Council, and as a priority of that Office, to support and advocate the implementation of UN resolutions 242 and 338 directed towards peace, justice and co-existence in the Holy Land.

The official ACNS announcement is here. The Living Church report is here.

My notes about being in Nottingham for this event can be found here.

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