Saturday, 12 February 2011

General Synod: ACNA

The subject of the Anglican Church in North America was raised twice in the course of last week’s General Synod sessions in London.

First, it was raised in the debate on the Business Committee report. This was not because ACNA was mentioned in that report, on the contrary, it was a complaint by Lorna Ashworth that the forecast of future business showed no plan to bring forward the report that had been requested a year ago. You can hear her remarks by listening to the recording of that debate here (start at minute 34), or there is a longer transcript here.

…I do wonder how is it that we come to this agenda and there is no report back? And there is no indication of the forecast agenda for July either that there will be a report back. So I would like to request the Chair of the Business Committee to see to it, that that there is a report - that we will follow this up - and nothing will be kicked into touch. Thank you.

In his response to the debate, the acting chair of the committee, Bishop Trevor Willmott commented on this request (go to minute 40):

..Finally, if I may say to Lorna Ashworth, again I think the question is that she is - not solely in this chamber that that debate takes place, and I am assured that there will be opportunity for her to listen in to, and all of us to listen in to any comments which are made back by the Archbishops and the House of Bishops on that motion which was passed at that last session of Synod.

Second, a Question was asked, as follows.

The Revd Christopher Hobbs (London) to ask the Secretary General:

Q. What procedure would have to be followed for the Anglican Church in North America to be in communion with the Church of England and/or part of the Anglican Communion?

You can hear the answer given and the supplementary question and answer, by going here (go to minute 34.5). The first answer was as follows:

Mr William Fittall to reply:

A. Under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 a determination by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York is conclusive where any question arises whether, for the purposes of the Measure, a church is in communion with, or its orders are ‘recognised and accepted’ by, the Church of England. A decision that the Church of England should enter into communion with another church outside the Anglican Communion would fall to be taken by the Synod. The one legally constituted body for the Communion is the Anglican Consultative Council, membership of which is regulated by its Constitution. That provides that the addition of a church to its schedule of membership requires the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Communion.

The second answer, to a supplementary by Fr David Houlding includes this:

…The archbishops gave a commitment in that motion that they would report back to the Synod in 2011, by my reckoning 2011 is only 5 weeks old, so I am sure that they will be reporting to the Synod in due course on what is indeed an important matter.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 8:04am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ACNA | Church of England | General Synod
Comments

This matter has already caused some stirring in outposts of the Communion. I have even found that the N.Z. web-site 'Anglican Down Under' is already discussing the possibility of ACNA being recognised by the Church of England.

In view of ACNA's intentional schism from the Communion proper, what would such a move do for relationships with the Provinces that continue to recognise TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada as the only truly Anglican Communion Provinces in North America. To bring back ACNA into the fold at this stage would only cause confusion as to the value of being part of a Communion that recognises schismatic action within its borders.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 10:34am GMT

I think some confusion on this issue was generated by an Irish site which last night posted a description of what took place at last Feb's synod as though it had happened yesterday and added it's own peculiar spin. People are responding as though there was a second vote on the Ashworth legislation and that the Irish site's interpretation--which is not widely shared--is correct.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 2:42pm GMT

Would recognition of ACNA by a Church be compatible with the Covenant?

Posted by: Alan T Perry on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 3:22pm GMT

Fascinating to see the clutching at straws in some quarters, including re-release of a report from the February 2010 Synod, and references to Lorna Ashley's motion (did they mean Laura Ashley? Surely Lorna Ashworth!) and renewed claims that the Synod has "recognized" ACNA.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 3:46pm GMT

ACNA has been welcomed by GafCon, which means that it has participated in the discussions and decisions leading to their rejection of the Anglican Covenant and to their furious and personal attacks on the ++ABC. Now while it may be marginally acceptable, however much impolitic, for Primates within the Communion to launch such an attack on the ++ABC, it is completely despicable when done by a group like ACNA.

If the Synod wants to embrace yet another fractious province, whose leadership already exudes disrespect for the ++ABC and the ACC then so be it.

Posted by: Michael Russell on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 5:27pm GMT

The ACNA people left because they didn't want to be in communion with the church in North America. Admitting them back into the broader communion would be problematic because of this. I think it's best if they just continue down the path they have determined for themselves when they left. Perhaps it is best for them if they make the journey to Rome.

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 5:40pm GMT

Why would ACNA even want to be in communion with Canterbury when that would automatically bring it into communion with TEC from which it voluntarily alienated itself? Of course we all suspect the answer but it is still worth asking the question to clarify the intent behind this request. Why not just reconcile with TEC and thus rejoin the Communion through the front door rather than lurking around the stage door hoping to get in via that alternative route.
Of course ACNA has already learned a few things about leaving organizations while claiming to hold on to the real assets of the organization. It would be wise for the Communion to think several times before allowing a group such as ACNA access to the henhouse.

Posted by: ettu on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 5:53pm GMT

If you recognise ACNA..why not CESA in Southern Africa too? You open a can of worms.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 6:07pm GMT

"The ACNA people left because they didn't want to be in communion with the church in North America."

Actually, ACNA left because they want to be the Church in North America.

Posted by: Alan T Perry on Sunday, 13 February 2011 at 12:12am GMT

This shows how old this discussion is. Since this issue was raised last year, Gafcon has separated itself from the Communion and ACNA has joined them. There is no reason why ACNA would want, at this point, to be recognized by the CofE. And as a member of Synod pointed out. It isn't the CofE that would be recognizing another Church, it would the the ACC. It is time to move on recognizing that there are those churches that do not care to be associated with the Anglican Communion. But we can hope that future leaders in those churches will find ways to return to the Communion acknowledging the need for reconciliation on both sides.

Posted by: Lauren A. Gough on Sunday, 13 February 2011 at 4:26pm GMT

Michael Russell, can you quote any of these "furious and personal attacks on the ABC" by the ACNA?

Posted by: Rob on Thursday, 17 February 2011 at 5:50am GMT

"Michael Russell, can you quote any of these "furious and personal attacks on the ABC" by the ACNA?" - Rob, on Thursday -

You should look in on the oddly-named USA site virtueonline.You will find ad hominem attacks on the ABC, the TEC PB and anyone whom Baptist David Virtue finds guilty of straying from the 'orthodoxy' of GAFCON & ACNA.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 17 February 2011 at 10:10am GMT
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