THE Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) is to be restructured, and staff are to be made redundant, after a review concluded that most of its programme work could be undertaken locally by Provinces, regions, or other agencies in the Anglican Communion.
The review of the Anglican Communion Office (ACO), which embodies the ACC, the Anglican Alliance, and the Lambeth Conference Company, was commissioned in May by the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee. It was carried out by an independent group chaired by the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba.
The group reported to the Standing Committee in September. A subgroup of the Standing Committee, chaired by the vice-chair, Margaret Swinson, has been working on proposals, which were announced to staff last week.
Of the 21 ACC staff positions, 11 are to be made redundant. A formal process of consultation is under way. Seven new posts are to be created under the review plans. One of the 21 positions is vacant after the return to ministry in December of the former Mission Director, Canon John Kafwanka; there are also two staff in New York and one in São Paulo employed by partner agencies.
Ms Swinson, who is a chartered accountant and tax adviser, and an hon. lay canon of Liverpool Cathedral, explained on Tuesday: “The direction commended by the review report will draw Provinces into active participation in the Communion’s work and our common mission to build the Kingdom. Staff in the office have served us well, and it is a sadness that, in our efforts to increase provincial engagement through devolving aspects of the Communion’s work, some redundancies may result.”
In a document, “Case for Organisational Change”, distributed to staff this week, the Standing Committee said that the proposed changes were only partly driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The first and primary driver was changes within the Anglican Communion which support a re-focusing of work undertaken by staff of the ACC towards support for the Instruments of Communion and those areas of work which cannot be undertaken more effectively through provinces, regions or other agencies.”
It continued: “The resource gaps between provinces in terms of education and technology have reduced significantly and the resource available to the Communion has increased as a result.” It suggests, therefore, that “aspects of the programmatic work undertaken at the ACO would be more effectively undertaken through provinces, regions or other agencies across the Communion with the ACO coordinating and communicating that work across the Communion.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is President of the ACC, said: “This review has been an important part of discerning how we can draw more fully on the gifts, resources, and wisdom of provinces across the Communion, as we seek to serve a world in need.” He thanked the reviewers and “all the staff at the Anglican Communion Office who have served with such passion, commitment and faith over many years, and assure them all of my prayers throughout this process”.
The Communion’s Secretary General, the Rt Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, said: “This review takes us back to the original rationale behind the setting up of the ACO. The new structure will enable the ACO to assist the 41 Provinces to act out our Five Marks of Mission in a united collaborative manner, as well as enable them to become the family of Churches that God wants us to be, in order to advance God’s mission.”