Friday, 6 May 2016

ACC-16 Walking Together: A Clarification

Updated Monday morning

The following statement has been issued by the outgoing members of the ACC standing committee.

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 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’ Communique. 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 Revd Ian T. Douglas, The Episcopal Church
The Rt Revd Dr Sarah Macneil, The Anglican Church of Australia
Canon Elizabeth Paver, The Church of England, Outgoing Vice-Chair
The Rt Revd James Tengatenga, The Church of the Province of Central Africa, Outgoing
Chair

Update
The ACNS has issued this statement: Secretary General rejects criticism over Walking Together resolution.

The secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has rejected criticism from six former members of the Anglican Consultative Council’s standing committee of statements made during and after ACC-16. The comments centre on Resolution 16.24 – “Walking Together” – which deals with how the ACC responded to the Primates’ Gathering and Meeting in January.

The critics issued their own statement which they said was to clarify their understanding of that response. In it they say that in receiving a report on the gathering by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the ACC “neither endorsed nor affirmed the consequences contained in the Primates’ communiqué”.

But Archbishop Idowu-Fearon said he took a different view…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 6 May 2016 at 5:59pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

Thank you so much for that much needed clarification.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 6 May 2016 at 6:16pm BST

Thanks be to God for this honesty and openness.

This then requires Justin to review his statement - "By receiving my report, which incorporated the Primates’ Communique, the ACC accepted these consequences entirely" - to avoid further hubris.

How could he have got this so terribly wrong?

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 6 May 2016 at 7:09pm BST

Ouch!

I do hope that the ABC's spin will be seen for what it is.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Friday, 6 May 2016 at 10:18pm BST

"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.*"

Is this really a victory lap for those wanting change and a victory of the ACC over another Instrument/s?

Sounds more like status quo ante. This settles nothing in any straightforward way. The challenge remains. No surprise there.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 6 May 2016 at 11:07pm BST

This is a welcome statement, although it is unlikely to completely quell controversy. The final paragraph says some things that need to be said, "...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."

The new chair, also a Primate, has the opportunity of being a bridge between the ACC and The Primates. Let's hope and pray the opportunity is seized upon.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 6 May 2016 at 11:14pm BST

"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’ Communique. 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."

BOOM! ABC Welby, please seat thyself/silence thyself.

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 7 May 2016 at 4:23am BST

Looks as though the ACC is losing patience with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I've had enough too.

Why is Canterbury trying to satisfy provinces that did not attend?

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 7 May 2016 at 5:38am BST

This makes think even less of Archbishop Welby. Sad.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Saturday, 7 May 2016 at 6:34am BST

" it is difficult for the Anglican Church".....then she goes on about the Anglican Communion. The question was about the Church of England. In some quarters they seem to talk about an " Anglican Church" when I would speak of the Church of England. It seems increasingly common among evangelicals and indeed among candidates for Ordination.I hope it won't spread.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Saturday, 7 May 2016 at 11:06am BST

Thank you to those good souls who have told us the clear truth about the ACC meeting in Lusaka. Clearly a Christian gathering which sought not their own ego's but God's will for our Communion.

Thank God for the ACC, they deserve our support and prayers, as the true body that guides our communion.

Welby needs to listen to them, and remember he is a priest, not a communicator of twisted 'facts'.

Here in Scotland we thank God for David our Primus, and our newly elected representative to ACC, Alistair Dennie.

Fr John

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Saturday, 7 May 2016 at 11:50am BST

'This then requires Justin to review his statement - "By receiving my report, which incorporated the Primates’ Communique, the ACC accepted these consequences entirely" - to avoid further hubris.'

Don't hold your breath, Susannah. A communique from Lambeth is probably being prepared even now, helpfully outlining the niceties of the difference between 'acceptance' on the one hand and 'endorsement and affirmation' on the other.

Come to think of it, the Church could maybe use its position on LGBT matters as an example of acceptance without endorsement or affirmation? No, wait, we haven't even reached acceptance yet.

Posted by: fr rob on Saturday, 7 May 2016 at 1:15pm BST

This story is being carried by Episcopal News Service, but there is nothing yet, the Anglican Communion News Service as of this morning that I can see (our time zone is four hours "earlier" than the U.K.). Hopefully they will carry the Story or "update" their previous coverage.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 7 May 2016 at 2:00pm BST

" This settles nothing in any straightforward way."

It settles something, Christopher, most of the communion wants to walk together in Christ rather than get confrontational over difference. And the ACC is reminding us that they are independent and a much, much broader representation of the Anglican Communion.

I don't think "victory laps" are appropriate. I would say this is a step closer to the Promised Land.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 7 May 2016 at 5:49pm BST

I'm not surprised by cseitz's response to the ACC16 Members' Declaration. What, however, he must begin to understand is that the people signing the declaration have recognised the need to walk together, without necessarily agreeing to any ban put on TEC by the recent gathering of the Primates.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 8 May 2016 at 1:51am BST

No, sounds mostly like three outgoing folk wanting to have a final word that is more to their liking, but still anodyne. Makes a kind of anglican sense to me...Sunday blessings.

Posted by: Christopher Seitz on Sunday, 8 May 2016 at 5:56am BST

ACNS now has a story. Interesting to see their take on it, especially given that the signatories include both the outgoing chair and vice-chair.

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2016/05/secretary-general-rejects-criticism-over-walking-together-resolution.aspx

One might expect the folks chairing would be in the know about the sense of a meeting.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 9 May 2016 at 2:27am BST

Rod
There's no contradiction. The story you linked merely says many delegates were supportive of the Primates' communique. I am sure some were. The important thing though is that support was not formally expressed in a resolution.

Posted by: Kate on Monday, 9 May 2016 at 10:10am BST

The tell is that the ACNS response does not discuss what "receive" meant.

Again I think the "receive" portion of the resolution reflects an unfortunate willingness by the Archbishop of Canterbury to engage in parliamentary doublespeak.

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 9 May 2016 at 11:03am BST

@ Kate, thanks, it wasn't contradictions I was thinking of, but what might be called the editorial perspective of the Anglican Communion News Service. They appear to have waited for a comment from the Communion Secretary and have made that the news angle, rather than the Statement from the outgoing ACC members. I notice that the ACNS story refers to the six members as 'critics" and does not highlight the offices held. I notice as well that their previous story under "features", reporting the ACC "walking together", with the primates has not been updated re the recent Statement. The ACNS is published by The Communion Office. So, just wanting to note the ACNS take on this, which of course they are free to do.

Given who the ACC Statement members are, their Statement is very significant in terms of correctly understanding the outcome of ACC 16

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 9 May 2016 at 1:44pm BST

The business about support in table conversation is interesting. There were ten tables. Among the outgoing Standing Committee members, the US-based Episcopalians and the Canadians (who have a news story out through Anglican Journal saying there were no sanctions against the Episcopal Church) nine of those ten tables were covered. If people were making "overwhelmingly supportive" comments about the sanctions, they must have been whispering them in Bishop Idowu-Fearon's ear.

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Monday, 9 May 2016 at 3:49pm BST

re Jeremy's remark here; have we not all become too used to the fact of 'double entendre' in the public statements made at Head Office? Just one more from the ACNS web-site should not surprise.

What may be more important, though - in this case - is that no negative action occurred against our friends in TEC at ACC16. Thanks be to God! TEC is still very much a part of our Anglican DNA.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 9 May 2016 at 10:11pm BST

re Jeremy's remark here; have we not all become too used to the fact of 'double entendre' in the public statements made at Head Office? Just one more from the ACNS web-site should not surprise.

What may be more important, though - in this case - is that no negative action occurred against our friends in TEC at ACC16. Thanks be to God! TEC is still very much a part of our Anglican DNA.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 9 May 2016 at 10:12pm BST

The ACNS article is insufferable spin. The six former members of the Standing Committee, including the chair and vice-chair, are called "critics" rather than extremely active participants.

The GS doesn't exactly spell out what he disagrees with, presumably the meaning of "received."

+Josiah is a very interesting person who exudes the Light of Christ in some areas. I would not like to see him get caught up in Justin's spin. Justin and Josiah need to deal with the fact that the Communion is not defined by the primates. The ACC is a much better, much more diverse, representation of God's Children who are gathered into the Anglican family.

The primates might want to see what they can do to achieve 50-50 gender equality before they begin to believe they represent us all. Seriously, that alone disqualifies them from being representative leaders of the Anglican family. It's 2016. Time for 50-50 gender equality in all things, but most especially in religious leadership. And of course, supporting human rights abuses should be a major disqualifier.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 9 May 2016 at 10:17pm BST

I commend to you ENS's reporting of the standing committee statement and the SG's retort. They also reached Welby who declined to respond.

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/05/09/group-of-acc-members-secretary-general-dispute-meaning-of-resolution/

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Tuesday, 10 May 2016 at 6:18pm BST

"They also reached [out to] Welby who declined to respond."

What could he possibly say?

ENS did a very good job of summing it all up.

Why would Justin spin this? It is seemingly very close to being false witness. How could he get it so wrong and why would he upset the apple cart when ACC-16 was so genial? If he had left well enough alone, he would have come out smelling like a rose. At some point, one could look at the persecution of LGBTQI clergy in CoE and conclude that Justin is simply more aligned theologically to GAFCON than his own membership.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 11 May 2016 at 3:02am BST

It's not insignificant that the person who's been roped in to defend Justin's claim is also the person who called for the re-launch of the Anglican Covenant.

This all seems to be about control and imposing one group's conscientious belief on another group (which in England is probably half the Church and growing).

Let - individuals - exercise - their - own - conscience - and - faith.

Individual couples, individual priests, individual PCCs, individual local churches.

After all, conscience was an issue in the ordination of women. Are LGBT people (and those who affirm them) deserving of anything less?

The Anglican Covenant - well - it's already been rejected. From that you can deduce that Justin has no mandate for trying to re-introduce it through the back door of Primatial dictat... "because we say so..."

At least, here in England he has no mandate. And, after all, he is the pastor of England, not the US, not Africa.

Unity in diversity... and the spirit of true walking together (not stomping off in a huff)... is the only way to treat this issue realistically.

Because the reality is that the people of England do not agree with Justin Welby. Nor half his Church. It is unconscionable that he should assume to impose uniformity on the reality of diverse views and convictions.

That controlling route is unreality, and it is hardly surprising if the Church alienates people (especially the younger generation).

The Anglican News Network's most recent report seems to be about damage limitation: clouding and fudging enough to keep the unreality and vagueness going, and somehow keep the GAFCON members on board.

The truth is, there was no consensus at the ACC meeting. Fact.

Goodness, we don't need uniformity: we need grace to love one another, even in our diversity.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 11 May 2016 at 11:43am BST

Whether one favors it or one doesn't, there is no point in repeating inaccuracies. This is intended to be a site for thinking Anglicans.

"The Anglican Covenant - well - it's already been rejected."

It did not pass, though it was hardly a massive defeat, in the CofE. It has been accepted in numerous provinces. Others simply have not taken the matter up. I believe the appeal of +Josiah was that the covenant be acted upon in all the Provinces. That does not seem unreasonable, given that for those who want it set aside, one way to have that happen is for it properly to be defeated through the Anglican Communion, for whom it was proposed (and not just for individual provinces qua provinces).

Pentecost blessings.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 13 May 2016 at 6:26am BST

"Whether one favors {sic} it or one doesn't..."

Christopher, England doesn't.

The Anglican Communion is diverse, and the idea that an Anglican Covenant, imposing uniformity on Provinces against their will, and ignoring conscience and local contexts, could be acceptable... is an unreality.

We can all find our unity in Jesus Christ. We don't all have to be the same. Indeed each one of us is unique.

Instead of this (rather masculine-seeming) domineering culture, which proposes the domination of one group's conscientious belief by another group's... it is perfectly possible for people to hold diverse views, and yet still love one another.

Here in England, at least half of Anglicans endorse and accept gay sex. And many individuals believe in the blessing and celebration of lesbian and gay marriage.

After all, in the end, if Archbishop Idowu-Fearon is not in favour of gay sex or marriage, he has a recourse: marry a woman.

But just as TEC or England would not try to stop him exercising his conscience and sexuality, the Anglican Communion should not try to stop gay and lesbian couples exercising theirs... or indeed separate provinces.

My point was that Josiah was of course likely to support the Primatial claim that the ACC entirely accepted the consequences (sanctions) against TEC or anyone else who dared to dissent... because he has already supported that principle in championing the Covenant. However, I'm not sure that consensus can be deduced, when Josiah favours enforcing other Provinces on this issue, and when the people who chaired and vice-chaired the meeting the standing committee during the ACC meeting so plainly repudiated Justin's creative version of events.

No, not all Provinces oppose the Anglican Covenant. But some provinces are moving towards LGBT affirmation, or already have. The Covenant failed in England. Justin is England's archbishop. He does not have the backing of his own Church for imposing uniformity.

He is not getting the message.

You can't dominate people to renounce their own consciences.

You don't need to. God is still God. And even with all our differences, we can open our hearts to grace, and love one another. Indeed, opening our hearts to that grace and love is, I would argue, more important than 'who is right'.

The whole GAFCON-Primate thing seems a bit too testosterone-driven to me (I agree with Cynthia Katsarelis on that).

I favour conscientious freedom on this very divisive issue.

But most of all, love and generosity and praying for one another's flourishing.

May you have a blessed and joyful Pentecost too. Thank you.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 13 May 2016 at 12:33pm BST

Susannah, if you go down that route I predict that Anglicanism will splinter into dozens of pieces and vanish within a generation because you will remove the cohesion. Anglicanism is hard to define but it is a set of shared values even if there is no agreement at present on what those values are. If you remove that sense of shared values by promoting unrestricted diversity, then the danger is there is nothing left.

Of course Anglicanism is not monolithic and supports more diversity than GAFCON recognise but that diversity, I suggest, has to be argued from the foundations of Anglicanism rather than being a free-for-all.

I don't think your conclusions are too far from the mark but I suggest a much greater sophistication is needed in the justification for a destination somewhat like you describe to be achievable without risking Anglicanism as a whole.

Posted by: Kate on Friday, 13 May 2016 at 12:36pm BST

"one way to have that happen is for it properly to be defeated through the Anglican Communion"

Don't be silly. There is no Anglican Communion as an overarching body with any authority. That's why the so-called Anglican Covenant (which is neither) had to go to the provinces.

Where it died an ignominious death.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 13 May 2016 at 5:26pm BST

Reviving any "Anglican Covenant" is a really bad idea and can only lead to more division.

Suppose 20 provinces vote yes and 18 vote no? Are the 18 going to submit to it? No, of course not. If their General Conventions or General Synods don't adopt it, the province is not going to abide by it. That would create real splintering.

How would that work? The 20 provinces that passed it would do what? Have their own meetings? What happens to the ACC budget if some provinces are out and some are in?

Don't go down that road! OMG!

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 13 May 2016 at 10:30pm BST

Kate, the cohesion is love, not uniformity. We could have a million different diversities, but still share the same love.

"If you remove that sense of shared values by promoting unrestricted diversity, then the danger is there is nothing left."

There is always nothing left except for love. Love is the great shared value. We can be diverse. We can disagree. But can we love? That is the challenge, because that is the great command.

And the answer is, yes, we can love one another, if we don't try to dominate each other, or demand uniformity. We can love one another, even with different views. The question is: are some people striving so much 'to be first' with their views, that they refuse to love, to be in communion, to respect, that God lives in others as well as themselves.

We are One in communion with Jesus Christ. Diversity is a test of maturity and a test of whether we are prepared to love.

Or should dogma and doctrine be so important that it divides and separates, and breaks relationship, and curtails love?

"The foundation of Anglicanism" is the love of Christ. It can only, ever, be that. Not various dogma (Protestantism splits and schisms again and again on some fork in the path where people differ because of doctrine.)

Its not dogma and uniformity that binds us together - we are bound together by love.

"How good and how pleasant it is, when brothers {and sisters} live together in unity."

We *can* live together (and 'walk together' as the expression went recently). The question is: are we willing to?

Relationship is not about domination. It is about reciprocal love and care and respect and desire for one another's flourishing.

If we recognise the primacy of love, even in our great diversity, then we do not need to fear that there will be 'nothing left'.

Love is the justification for staying together. Not 'who is right'. It would be really sad if the Communion split in schism. But that would happen if people were determined to force their views on others. You can't force people to all agree, or force them against their conscience. That just isn't love. It's domination.

Love is what we can all have in common, and then get on with serving our communities, in differing and diverse ways. And witnessing to the love of God.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 13 May 2016 at 11:58pm BST

"...an Anglican Covenant, imposing uniformity on Provinces against their will, and ignoring conscience and local contexts, could be acceptable... is an unreality."

This is obviously a exaggerated construal.

But of course a province is not being constrained, which chooses to adopt the covenant, which is why 9 have done so.

Many have not taken it up for a vote or deliberation. +Josiah appears to want to encourage them to do so.

Surely they are free to decline to adopt. With or without testosterone....

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 14 May 2016 at 7:54am BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.