Updated Thursday evening
The Episcopal Church has issued the following notice:
Statement from the Episcopal Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council
As the Episcopal Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council, we were dismayed to read in today’s Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) an article that claims we did not vote on matters of doctrine or polity at the most recent meeting of the ACC, known as ACC-16, held in Lusaka, Zambia in April 2016. This report is wrong.
Each of us attended the entire ACC-16 meeting and voted on every resolution that came before the body, including a number that concerned the doctrine and polity of the Anglican Communion. As the duly elected ACC members of a province of the Anglican Communion, this was our responsibility and we fulfilled it.
It could be inferred from today’s ACNS story that we did not fulfill our voting responsibilities at ACC-16 to comply with a communique issued by the primates of the Anglican Communion in January 2016. The communique sought to impose consequences on the Episcopal Church for its adoption of marriage equality at our 2015 General Convention. Such an inference would be incorrect.
At the beginning of ACC-16, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion issued a statement saying that it had “considered the Communiqué from the Primates and affirmed the relational links between the Instruments of Communion in which each Instrument, including the Anglican Consultative Council, forms its own views and has its own responsibilities.” After ACC-16 had concluded, six outgoing members of the Standing Committee released a letter reasserting that “ACC16 neither endorsed nor affirmed the consequences contained in the Primates’ Communiqué.”
As members of the Anglican Consultative Council, we thank God for the time we have spent with sisters and brothers in Christ from across the globe, and for the breadth and diversity of our global Anglican family. We are firmly committed to the Episcopal Church’s full participation in the Anglican Communion, and we hope that, in the future, our participation will be reported accurately by the Anglican Communion News Service.
Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine
Ian T. Douglas
Gay Clark Jennings
Episcopal Church members of the 16th Anglican Consultative Council, Lusaka, Zambia
In response to this, the ACNS report was modified on the website and the following note added at the end:
This article was updated on 2 February to make clear that no formal votes were held on issues of doctrine and polity at ACC-16. None was necessary because all such matters were agreed by consensus.
The copy of the article that appears below is the original unaltered. The revised version is here. You can see the differences for yourself.
This press release has appeared: Archbishop of Canterbury sets out vision for 2017 Primates Meeting. The actual text of the letter which this refers to has not been published yet. A significant part of this press release refers to the recently published document from the House of Bishops on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships.
[ACNS] The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to every primate in the Anglican Communion to set out his hopes for the next Primates’ Meeting, which will take place in Canterbury in October. He also gave details of last week’s report by the Church of England’s House of Bishops on human sexuality. In the letter, Archbishop Justin sets out his vision for the meeting in Canterbury as an opportunity for relaxed fellowship and mutual consultation. He invites the primates to submit items for the agenda and says he’s aware of the pressures under which many of them live.
“I certainly feel the need to be with you, to share our experience and in prayer and fellowship, to support one another and seek how best we can serve the call to preach the gospel, serve the poor and proclaim the Kingdom of God,” he says.
The Archbishop goes on to unpack the declaration on human sexuality which was published last week before a debate at the Church of England’s General Synod later this month.
He describes as a “key outcome” the recommendation that the Church of England’s teaching on marriage should remain unchanged, meaning there can be no same-sex weddings in the Church of England. But he adds that the current advice on pastoral provision for same-sex couples needs clarification and notes the Bishops’ acknowledgment that the Church needs to repent of the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke.
Last week’s report has also been welcomed by the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who said: “The issue of same-sex marriage is highly emotive within the church. I understand the depth of passion on each side of the debate and I understand that any decision will leave some feeling disappointed and wounded by the outcome.
“I support the Bishops’ declaration that doctrine on marriage should not change – that marriage should be a lifelong commitment between a man and woman. The Anglican Communion position is set out in Resolution 1.10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That is our lodestar.
“But it is right that we acknowledge that some of our brothers and sisters do have same-sex attraction and I support the move for a ‘fresh tone’ in the way the issues are debated. Anglicans are called to love all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation. We are committed to welcoming and loving people with same-sex attraction. More than that, we need to fight against homophobia and anything that criminalises LGBTQ people.”
Preparations for the Primates Meeting are well underway. Archbishop Justin’s invitation has been sent to the primates of the other 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion. It will be the first time the group has formally assembled since the gathering and meeting in January 2016, although many were in Rome last October at the invitation of the Anglican Centre there as it celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The 2016 Primates’ gathering drew worldwide attention. It concluded with a communiqué which set out consequences for the US-based Episcopal Church (TEC) following its decision to change its canon on same-sex marriage. As a result, members of TEC have stepped down from IASCUFO – the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order – and also from the IRAD ecumenical dialogue. Members of TEC participated in ACC-16 in Lusaka, but none voted on issues of doctrine and polity – another stipulation of the Primates’ communiqué.
The January 2016 meeting also called for the setting up of a Task Group to explore differences and seek ways to restore relationship and rebuild trust. The Task Group, which draws members from across the Anglican Communion, subsequently met in September last year and is due to meet again during 2017.