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ACC concludes New Zealand gathering

09 November 2012


There's the rub: Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori greets a fellow bishop at the ACC by rubbing noses with him

There's the rub: Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori greets a fellow bishop at the ACC by rubbing noses with him

THE "supremacy of the Anglican Communion should not always sit in England", members of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) heard this week as they concluded their gathering in Auckland, New Zealand, with a two-day discussion about the four Instruments of Communion.

The suggestion was one of the recommendations made by a small group that was looking at the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury as part of a wider discussion on a report produced by the InterAnglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO).

The discussion group also reaffirmed the value of the Arch-bishop of Canterbury's role as "a symbol of unity for the Anglican Communion and its spiritual and historical centre"; and commended "the approachability and openness which had marked Archbishop Rowan Williams's time in the role".

The Assistant Bishop of Adelaide, the Rt Revd Stephen Pickard, said that IASCUFO was exploring "the effectiveness of Instruments of Communion", and was asking: "How might they be creatively part of the process of evolution of the Anglican Communion?" It was "a work in progress", he said. "We're looking for input and feedback from wide consultation."

The idea of a leader of the Communion from outside Canterbury was raised again in a post-ACC communiqué from six Kenyan and Nigerian church leaders, who called for the Primates to elect a leader "with an enhanced responsibility to guard the faith and order of the Anglican Communion. We believe this can be done without sacrific- ing the primacy of honour we bestow upon the historic See of Canterbury, or diminishing the civic and ecclesiastical role Canterbury plays in the life of the Church of England."

Helen Biggin, from the Church in Wales, who was elected to the Standing Committee this week, summarised discussions on the Anglican Communion Covenant, saying that they had been "painful, but were generous-hearted, without heat or rancour".

There was, she said, "a reluctance to give one group authority over another; a concern that it would make Anglicanism confessional in a way it wasn't before".

In a presidential address, Dr Williams warned that the Anglican Communion was in "danger of becoming less than we aspire to be".

He said: "I believe we do aspire to be a family that lives in mutual respect and recognition. And to step back from that simply into a federal model . . . doesn't seem to me to be the best and the greatest that God is asking from us as an Anglican family.

"When I look back over ten years in this office, it does seem to me that every attempt we've made to pin down exactly how reactive or corrective authority works in our Anglican family has run into the sand in one way or another." Attempts to "pin it down clearly here or there", or to "find absolutely clear sources of authority", were difficult, he said, because "we are a family of Churches, each one of which has its own ways of reacting, correcting, and setting boundaries."

The Church in Nigeria will begin a week of prayer and fasting on Monday in response to the security situation in the country. A Church of Nigeria ACC member, Abraham Yisa, said: "Churches are being bombed every Sunday. . . People are refusing to go to church, or when they go to church they don't know whether they'll return home."

All provinces are being asked to "adopt and implement" a Charter for the Safety of People within the Churches of the Anglican Communion. It requires Churches to provide pastoral support for victims of abuse and to "implement policies and procedures to respond properly to allegations of abuse against clergy and other church personnel".

ACC members expressed their "concern, compassion, and prayers for all those caught up in the impact of Hurricane Sandy" after they heard about the devastation and loss of life in the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada. The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, said that climate change "is not a social problem: it is not an economic problem; it is not an environmental problem; it is a moral problem, and it needs a moral response".

The ACC passed 41 resolutions during its meeting. They can be read at www.anglicancommunion.org/ communion/acc/meetings/acc15/resolutions.cfm


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