The following statement was issued by the Anglican Communion Office this afternoon.
The Anglican Communion Office has released this statement in response to recent comments on events leading up to the Anglican Consultative Council meeting, ACC-16.
- Statements circulating about a failure to follow up on the decisions of the January 2016 Primates meeting at best give a false impression. The terms of the Primates decision about The Episcopal Church (TEC) have been followed through as far as is possible and legal. To say otherwise is misleading and wrong.
- The Archbishop of Canterbury has fulfilled his responsibilities and asked those members of interfaith or ecumenical bodies who are from TEC and whose appointment he controls, to stand down, and they have done so. In addition, as required, he has appointed a Task Group with representatives from across the communion.
- Archbishop Justin has refused to engage in any public response to statements and speculation by any party in advance of the ACC, having maintained personal and private contact with the Primates since their meeting. It has always been his intention to speak directly and in person to the ACC members, respecting their role and responsibilities.
- A TEC representative whose attendance at the ACC Standing Committee has been commented on as breaching the decision of the Primates, was elected to the Standing Committee several years before the Primates’ meeting. As the Standing Committee is a Trustee body under English law, they cannot be removed without legal cause, and neither the Primates nor the ABC, nor indeed the ACC, can override the law.
- Under the Constitution of the ACC, no-one who is a recognised delegate from a member Province can be prevented from being nominated to the Standing Committee. However during their first day in session, Archbishop Justin presented a report to the ACC of the Primates meeting. As promised he requested the ACC to work with the Primates for the welfare of the whole Communion.
- He said “As Archbishop of Canterbury (a separate Instrument) I have acted on the Primates’ decision in those areas for which I have responsibility. It is both my and the Primates’ desire, hope and prayer that the Anglican Consultative Council should also share in working through the consequences of our impaired relationships.”
- There have also been suggestions of criminal action including forgery and corruption in which the Archbishop of Canterbury and Anglican Communion Office staff have been mentioned.
- It is the practice of the ACO to book the flights and cover the costs for all delegates attending ACC meetings, though some choose to cover their own costs. To imply that on this occasion this established practice is corrupt is disingenuous. Tickets were arranged well before any indications of non attendance by a small number of Provinces.
- The unsubstantiated public allegations of forgery against the members of the Kenyan delegation are scurrilous and untrue and are made in a manner against all biblical principles of appropriate behaviour.
Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon,
The secretary general of the Anglican Communion
Madeleine Davies writes about the statement and its background for the Church Times: Secretary-general defends ACC against its critics.