Anglican Consultative Council Digest

May 5, 2009

Much happens each day during the Anglican Consultative Council's (ACC) 14th meeting. In addition to Episcopal Life Media's regular coverage, here's some of what else went on May 6, the fifth day of the May 2-12 gathering.

Son of South India representative killed
J.M. Richard, the lay representative for the Church of South India (United), has left for home after his 17-year-old son was killed in motorcycle accident. Richard was accompanied on his trip by the Rev. Moses Jayakumar, South India's clerical representative.

The Venerable Paul Feheley, ACC media relations officer, told reporters May 6 that a number of ACC members visited Richard in his room on May 5 to pray with him after they learned of the tragedy. Feheley said some ACC members told him they felt as if they were part of a church congregation trying to comfort one of their fellow members.

The Church of South India (United) continues to be represented at the Kingston meeting by George Koshy, who is ACC vice chair, and Bishop John Wilson Gladstone, who was elected as the church's episcopal representative before he became its primate.

North India representative encounters visa problem
Kalyan Peterson, the lay representative for the Church of North India (United), has not been able to get to the Kingston meeting because he was denied a transit visa by the United Kingdom. Feheley said he had no information about the reason for the denial. North India's other representative, the Rev. Ashish Amos, is attending the meeting.

ACC begins budget consideration
Anglican Communion Secretary General Kenneth Kearon told the council that it will be asked to request a 10 percent increase in the triennial contribution of the member provinces. Kearon noted, however, that few provinces met a similar request made by the ACC during its last meeting in 2005.

"As a result ACC struggled to balance its [budget] in 2006 and 2007," according to a handout outlining Kearon's presentation. The handout noted that the effort was "not helped by the continuing strength of the pound sterling against the U.S. dollar."

Bishop John Paterson of Auckland, New Zealand, who chairs the ACC, had noted late last week that the cost of the Kingston meeting has also been affected by currency fluctuations and would have been much cheaper four months ago. The nearly $500,000 cost of the meeting is covered, however, Paterson said.

According to a list of provincial contributions asked and received, the Episcopal Church is the second-largest giver to the ACC behind the Church of England. Together the two churches paid the ACC 768,903 pounds sterling of the nearly 1.2 million it received.

Kearon also noted that the Province of Hong Kong recently forgave a 500,000 pound loan that helped with the remodeling of the communion's London headquarters. "It's one of the biggest gifts we have ever received," he said, noting that it came from one of the numerically smallest provinces.

Cameron continues to make covenant, Windsor case
During a briefing for reporters, Welsh Diocese of St. Asaph Bishop Gregory Cameron, who is filling out his role as deputy secretary general of the Anglican Communion until the end of the ACC meeting, said that "churches are saying [that] we are no longer sure that we can recognize authentic Christian discipleship in other churches" in the communion.

The subsequent questioning of the effectiveness of the communion's structures is "far deeper and more critical" than it was in past times of tension, he said.

Because "there's no agreed understanding of what the genius or spirit of Anglicanism is," Cameron said, the communion is "having to do a re-think about basics."

During the briefing, Cameron also vehemently criticized ongoing property litigation concerning people who want to retain church property after they choose to disaffiliate with their province or diocese. "I don't think there's any Christian who can't be anything other than aghast when Christians choose to play out their differences through the law courts," he said. "It's not an appropriate response."

He noted that the primates asked that the Episcopal Church not try to recover property through court action and that the departing members not seek to take property away from the church. "I have to say that I don't see either side of that equation heeded in the American situation," he said.

Resolutions committee hard at work
A six-person committee is working to organize resolutions that have begun to come before the ACC. The first round of resolutions was passed by the members May 5. The 11 resolutions came from some of the Anglican Communion's officially sanctioned networks. There is another round of network-related resolutions yet to be acted on, according to Feheley, who said the networks had submitted nearly 25 resolutions.

The committee includes Philippa Amable, Church of the Province of West Africa lay representative; Ian Douglas, Episcopal Church clerical representative; Anthony Fitchett, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia lay representative (committee chair); John Wilson Gladstone, Church of South India (United) episcopal representative; and John Stuart, Scottish Episcopal Church lay representative.

Council passes education resolutions
In a resolution from the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion, ACC members agreed to ask its member provinces to identify and support Anglican-related institutions of higher learning in their areas, urge them to participate in the network and give attention to training future leaders and scholars for those institutions.

The ACC said in a separate resolution on theological education that there is "an evolving field of knowledge in contemporary Anglican studies" and that current and future Anglican leaders "would benefit from learning about Anglicanism in more than one context."

The members encouraged the development of courses that involve the study and research of various Anglican contexts. The resolution also asked the Anglican Communion Office of Theological Studies to cooperate with the network to develop cross-provincial study projects. The council suggested that the projects could lead to a permanent inter-Anglican network of institutions of theological studies.

ACC members get Jamaican cultural experiences
On May 6, the Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and Jamaican Governor General Patrick Allen hosted the ACC at Allen's residence May 6 for what was called a "cultural evening."

Allen, 58, was named to his post on January 13 with the recommendation of Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding and the approval of Queen Elizabeth II, whom Allen represents on the island. He officially took office on February 26. His job includes appointing members of public commissions, including the Public Service Commission. Allen, a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor, had been president of the church's West Indies Union. Among the degrees he holds are a bachelor's in history and religion and master's in systematic theology.

On May 7, after spending the morning learning about ecumenical issues in the Anglican Communion, ACC members have the afternoon free to choose from among five island tours.

The members' decision-making work resumes on May 8 when they will vote on the latest version of the proposed Anglican covenant and the recommendations given to it by the Windsor Continuation Group.

ACC background
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 around 77 million members in 44 regional and national churches around the globe in 164 countries.

Previous ENS coverage of the ACC meeting is available here.

Video clips from the meeting can be found here.