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ACC members at odds

13 May 2016

ACNS

Fresh faces: the current Standing Committee of the ACC, in Lusaka last month

Fresh faces: the current Standing Committee of the ACC, in Lusaka last month

THE Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) did not endorse or affirm the communiqué issued by the Primates at their meeting in January, six of the Council’s outgoing members have said.

Since the conclusion of the ACC’s meeting in Lusaka, there have been different interpretations of what was agreed (News, 22 April). The Archbishop of Canterbury said that a resolution passed by members “supports and accepts all the Primates’ Meeting conclusions”, including the “consequences” meted out to the Episcopal Church.

In a statement issued last week, the six outgoing members wrote: “There was no plenary discussion or decision with respect to the Primates’ Communiqué. From our perspective there did not seem to be a common mind on the issue, other than the clear commitment to avoid further confrontation and division. ACC16 did welcome the call for the Instruments of Communion and the Provinces to continue to walk together as they discern the way forward. No consequences were imposed by the ACC and neither was the ACC asked to do so.”

The signatories are: the Rt Revd James Tengatenga (outgoing chair); Elizabeth Paver (outgoing vice-chair); the Bishop of Grafton in the Church of Australia, Dr Sarah Macneil; Dr Joanildo Burity, of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil; the Bishop of Connecticut in the US Episcopal Church, the Rt Revd Dr Ian T. Douglas; and Helen Biggin, of the Church in Wales.

They spoke of an “enriching, empowering, and constructive” meeting, and of the ACC’s “distinct and independent role as one of the Instruments of Communion”.

The secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, rejected their interpretation of the resolution. “They are entitled to express a view, but I simply do not agree with their interpretation here,” he said on Sunday. “The response of the ACC was clear, and its support for the Primates was clearly expressed.”

He said that the response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s report on the Primates’ Meeting, as discussed in small groups, had been supportive (News, 8 April). “Groups spoke of staying in mutual submission with each other for the sake of the Kingdom and the gospel of Christ and of mutual respect for diversity.”

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