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General Synod: Anglican Communion Council meeting

by
30 November 2012

ACC 15

DURING a presentation about the 15th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), held in New Zealand last month, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on Monday, disputed the idea that "the structure and pattern of ACC meetings is designed to push to the margin some of the more contentious matters" in the Communion. He continued: "The crucial point is not whether we have those arguments: it is where we have them." There had been "demanding exchanges on the state of the Anglican Communion and larger issues that divide us" in smaller groups.

Dr Williams also spoke of the "question about the Instruments of Communion" and "the kind of international life we have as a Communion". The Communion had "moved forward culturally" from the "post-World War II era, where, if you have a problem, you throw a committee at it". The networks of the Communion, such as the Anglican Health and Women's networks, were now "some of the most creative, most universally supported work we do as a Communion", he said.

"The larger question is, How do we hold together the burgeoning life of less formal alliances and networks with the unavoidable need for decision-making and management bodies? The ACC meeting put forward this question more vividly than ever before."

Elizabeth Paver (Sheffield), who is the Vice-Chair of the ACC, led the presentation about ACC 15 (News, 2 November, 9 November). The ACC's agenda, she said, included "Bible-study groups, reflection groups, and reports from all areas of work commissioned by the previous ACC". There had also been sessions on finance, and an annual report from the Secretary General of the Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon. Resolutions had been proposed and voted on in the business session.

The Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin (London), a member of the delegation from the Church of England, said that she had been impressed by the "rich liturgy in words of different languages, as well as music and movements" which she had encountered in churches in the Polynesian Church. "Imagine having the Gospel danced from the altar down to the aisle, and danced back up again - absolutely wonderful."

Margaret Swinson (Liverpool) informed the Synod about some of the resolutions that were passed at the ACC, including a resolution on "birth registration". Mrs Swinson said: "We take for granted that all children will be registered at birth. But this is not the case across all of the Communion, and registration of birth. . . opens up access to education and the establishment of identity."

Among other resolutions carried by the ACC were those concerning "gender-based violence" and "domestic violence".

The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, said that he had gone to ACC 15 with "some trepidation, wondering if I'd be cast into the centre of the most difficult and intractable politics of the Anglican Communion".

It was not like that, however. "Over the course of two weeks, we did learn to dance together, and we had some very beautiful and rich conversations where we faced up to some of the disagreements and differences that we face in our Communion."

 

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