THE Archbishop of Canterbury has written to every Primate in the Anglican Communion about the next Primates’ Meeting, to be held in Canterbury in October.
It is now just over a year since the last Primates’ Meeting, in Canterbury, which envisaged “consequences” for the Episcopal Church in the United States. A press release from the Anglican Communion Office this week stated that these consequences had meant that TEC representatives at the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Zambia last year had not taken part in “formal votes on issues of doctrine and polity”.
On Wednesday, these representatives issued a statement disagreeing with this account of events.
“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,” they wrote. “As the duly elected ACC members of a province of the Anglican Communion, this was our responsibility and we fulfilled it.”
A statement from GAFCON, issued this week, described the ACO’s description of the voting as “sophistry”. “Whether a meeting uses a consensus model, or a voice vote, or paper ballots, or electronic ballots is of no relevance,” it said. “The Episcopal Church was not to take part in decision making on issues pertaining to polity or doctrine. They did.”
The Archbishop’s letter contains his account of the House of Bishops’ report on the Shared Conversations. A “key outcome”, he says, is the recommendation that the Church of England’s teaching on marriage should remain unchanged. He also refers to the proposal in the report that the current advice on pastoral provision for same-sex couples be clarified, and to the acknowledgement that the Church must repent of homophobic attitudes.
The letter invites the Primates to submit items for the agenda.