Primates' meeting: the ACC response
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
THE CHAIRMAN and secretary-general of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC)
are to meet in London today to decide how to respond to the Primates’ request
for withdrawal by the six North American ACC members, writes Bill Bowder.
Canon Kenneth Kearon, the ACC’s recently appointed secretary-general, said
on Tuesday that he would discuss the issue with the ACC chairman, the Rt Revd
John Paterson, Bishop of Auckland.
He confirmed that the Primates’ request was made without consulting the ACC.
The Primates had been "most careful" only to "request" the ACC to act, not to
direct it. He could not predict the ACC response. "It is perfectly possible
that they could say no to the Primates’ request," he said.
The ACC is a purely advisory body, made up of bishops, clergy and laity.
Each province sends between one and three members. The members for Canada are
the Suffragan Bishop of Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Island, the Rt Revd
Canon Allen Box of Ottawa; and Suzanne Lawson (Toronto).
The members for ECUSA are the Rt Revd Catherine Roskam, Bishop Suffragan of New
York (who took part in the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson); the Revd
Robert Sessum; and Judith Conley.
One of the US members, the Revd Robert Sessum, Rector of the Church of the
Good Shepherd, Lexington, Kentucky, said that there had been no warning of the
"I am trying to digest it. I want to get some more background. I had not
thought about this in relation to the ACC before," he said.
The next meeting of the ACC is in Nottingham, in June. US and Canadian
members are likely to attend, if only in response to the Primates’ request for
a "hearing" about the thinking behind same-sex blessings and consecrating a gay
The two Irish members of the ACC, the Dean of Cork, the Very Revd Michael
Burrows, and Kate Turner from Belfast, have issued a statement severely
critical of the Primates, writes Greg Ryan.
"There is a real danger that the crisis of today could give way to the
centralised curialisation of tomorrow," they said.
"What better way both to cement division and to compromise the independence
of the ACC?"
Supporting the pair, the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross, the Rt Revd Paul
Colton, questioned whether the Primates had exceeded their powers.
"I believe it is an anxiety of many within Anglicanism that the Primates’
Meeting is taking on a life of its own, which is not supported either by the
traditional understanding of the Church or of church laws across the Anglican
"In my view, serious questions need urgently to be asked about the role the
Primates’ Meeting appears to have arrogated to itself."