ACC commits to communion's peace, justice and reconciliation work

May 4, 2009

The representatives of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting here on May 5 passed a series of resolutions dealing with issues ranging from translation of Anglican theological works to the ongoing bloodshed in Sudan.

The resolutions came from some of the Anglican Communion's officially sanctioned networks. The ACC recognizes groups of Anglicans who want to organize formally around a ministry or issue and monitors the networks' efforts. The council is meeting from May 2 to 12.

The 40-year-old ACC is the communion's most representative decision-making body and includes bishops, clergy and laity. While it has no jurisdiction over the provinces of the communion, it makes policy, approves the Anglican Communion Office's budget and encourages the communion's members to engage together in mission and ministry.

The Anglican Communion is made up of about 77 million members in 44 regional and national churches around the globe in 164 countries.

The resolutions passed by the participants were ones to:

  • affirm the value of the International Anglican Family Network and welcome its proposal for a regional consultation on family issues in Oceania in 2010;
  • ask the ACC/Primates Joint Standing Committee (JSC) to explore ways of encouraging the translation of basic Anglican theological works, disseminate the translations and support the formation of theological college teachers in areas where the national language is not English;
  • officially establish the Anglican Health Network;
  • ask member churches to encourage their governments to sign the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; cooperate with indigenous Anglican leaders in providing theological education and ministry training that takes into account indigenous cultural contexts and traditions; "value, honor and incorporate the wisdom of the elders" on the issues of climate change and sustainability of creation; and "recognize the ongoing disastrous effects that colonialism has had on indigenous peoples" while assisting in the healing of indigenous families, including protecting women and children from violence and human trafficking;
  • commend "Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches in the Anglican Communion" for study in every province, invite comments on the book by June 30, 2010 which would be compiled and given to the JSC, and encourage provinces to use the resources of the Anglican Legal Advisors Network;
  • welcome the re-establishment of the Anglican Refugee and Migrant Network and thank the Anglican Province of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui for hosting the network;
  • commend the work of the International Anglican Women's Network, request that appointments to all inter-Anglican bodies follow Resolution ACC-13 31 (b.1) to provide equal representation of women, support the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, encourage provinces to promote women's rights and welfare, and recommend use of gender budgeting principles throughout the communion;
  • urge provinces to support financially ministries with young people and the work of the International Anglican Youth Network and ensure that at least one person who is actively involved in youth ministry participates in the network;
  • welcome the Anglican Peace and Justice Network report "Community Transformation: Violence and the Church's Response"; celebrate the post-conflict reconciliation and healing work of Anglicans in Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan and Melanesia; and call for increased solidarity with the provinces of the Great Lakes region of Africa;
  • ask member churches to urge the African Union, the U.N. and their own governments to be more assertive in seeking a commitment from the Sudanese government to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement; to pray for the end of violence in Darfur, the resumption of peace talks with the Lord' Resistance Army, the disarming of marauding groups, safe passage for aid workers and protection of civilians; and appeal to Anglicans leaders who are in dialogue with Muslim leaders to share their insights on how best the inter-religious dimensions of the conflict can be reduced; and
  • urge all Anglicans to be "bold in preaching reconciliation and facilitating peace-making dialogues in every situation of war and conflict;" support the concept of healing through truth-telling, repentance and restorative justice; urge the implementation of conflict-transformation training and commend the educational resources on the APJN website.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was among those who spoke on various resolutions. She is attending the meeting in her role as a member of the JSC which met in Kingston just before the start of the ACC meeting. The primatial members of the JSC have a voice in the ACC meetings but no vote.

She told the members that the resolution on the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples "unfortunately" applies to the United States, whose government has not yet signed the declaration.

Previous ENS coverage of the ACC meeting is available here.

Video clips from the meeting can be found here.