Skip to comments.An Analysis of ACC-13
Posted on 07/07/2005 5:32:46 PM PDT by sionnsar
The June 19-28 session of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) handed the progressive wing of the Episcopal Church a string of defeats, but it was not primarily about knee-jerk anti-Americanism. ACC-13 in many ways was a culmination of a process that began at Lambeth 1998: a consolidation and a centering of the Communions agenda more toward the concerns of the provinces located in the Southern Hemisphere, especially Africa.
Delegates narrowly voted to confirm the primates request that the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada withdraw from the ACC until Lambeth 2008, adding the proviso that no American or Canadian may serve on the ACCs two elected interim bodies: the standing committee and the administration and finance committee.
Contrary to what Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold suggested immediately afterward, the narrow margin should not been seen as a residual wellspring of support for the actions of the 74th General Convention. The question before the ACC was not whether the Episcopal Church was in the right, but what to do about an Episcopal Church and an Anglican Church of Canada that were in the wrong.
ACC-13 adopted 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality as its own, becoming the fourth and final instrument of unity to state formally that homosexual behavior is incompatible with scripture. (The other three instruments are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates Meeting, and the Lambeth Conference of Bishops.) Contingent on approval of the primates and at least two-thirds of the Communions 38 provinces, delegates also added the primates as ex officio members of ACC, reducing the proportion of lay members from one half to one third, and giving the Southern Hemisphere provinces a majority of delegates.
Traditionalists were heartened by the conservative consolidation, but their agenda did not emerge unscathed, because the dynamic at ACC-13 was not liberal vs. conservatives, but North vs. South. On the question of the Holy Land, the traditional American Right/Global South coalition collapsed as the African bloc voted en masse against Israel. Archbishop Bernard Malango of Central Africa spoke against Israeli government policy, as did delegates from the Sudan and Kenya, while Israels champion at the ACC was the dean of St Pauls Cathedral in London, the Very Rev. John Moses.
When Stanley Isaac of Southeast Asia, the author of the resolution removing the Episcopal Church from the ACC, rose to ask the delegates to strike its laudatory reference to the Episcopal Churchs Socially Responsible Investment program, he was unable to attract a seconder: a sign that when Episcopal Church Center policy meshes with non-Western aims, the two can work together.
In an interview with The Living Church on June 28, Archbishop Williams explained the dynamic he saw at play. there is a sense that they dont want their agenda wholly set by the primates, and that is not at all because they are soft on the issue of the day, or that they are all closet liberals, he said. That has come through a bit. The curious fact is that the life of the networks in the Anglican Communion seems to carry on quite vigorously even while the tensions at a hierarchical level are so deep. Its not that this is the solution to the problem, that there are these two dimensions if you like.
The solution, according to Archbishop Williams, is likely to be found in the Windsor Report. His one regret at the conclusion of the meeting is that council did not address the covenant between provinces that the Windsor Report recommended be developed.
That is something we have got to get our heads around and find a constructive solution, he said.
(The Rev.) George Conger reported for The Living Church from the triennial meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham, England.
Hardly the day for such matters, but these things will move forward regardless.
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