Skip to comments.ACC Meeting Could Bring Clarity
Posted on 06/14/2005 1:06:12 PM PDT by sionnsar
It is probably safe to say that never in its 37 years of existence has a meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) received the attention being given to the current gathering in Nottingham, England. The ACC, comprised of members from each of the 38 member churches of the Anglican Communion, has on its agenda responding to the recommendations of the Windsor Report, just as the primates and several houses of bishops already have done. But the interest is being generated by the presence of groups from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, who are to explain to the ACC the thinking behind why their churches took controversial actions on sexuality in 2003.
In the Windsor Report, the primates asked the North American churches to have their representatives to the ACC set out the thinking behind the recent actions of their province. Those actions are the Episcopal Churchs General Convention consenting to the consecration of a non-celibate homosexual person as the Bishop Coadjutor of New Hampshire, and the Diocese of New Westminster (Canada), whose synod authorized same-gender blessings. The Episcopal Church is also to show the ACC how such rites, acknowledged by General Convention to be taking place, meet the criteria of scripture, tradition and reason.
The Episcopal Church is represented in Nottingham by Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and six others persons, most of whom are known to be supportive of same-gender blessings. The Episcopalians are likely to have a difficult time if they speak directly to the primates request. Justifying what took place in Minneapolis in 2003 according to scripture, tradition and reason is a tall order. The Episcopalians are also supposed to be able to show why these actions constitute growth in harmony with the apostolic tradition at it has been received.
Adding to the intrigue of this meeting is the fact that the U.S. and Canadian churches were asked by the primates to voluntarily withdraw their members from the ACC. Both churches agreed that their representatives would not participate in the meetings, but they would be present in Nottingham to engage in conversation with others over the issues at hand. Both the Americans and the Canadians will have an allotted time at the hearing to speak to the primates concerns.
Like the primates meeting and the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council has no authority. It cannot impose its will on any of the member churches. Rather it is a body organized for consultation. Its meeting is an appropriate place for Anglicans from all over the world to engage in conversation about the current strife in the Communion, for the ACCs own constitution states it exists to facilitate the cooperative work of the member churches of the Anglican Communion.
The communiqué issued by the primates and the recommendations contained in the Windsor Report indicate that either the North American churches will have to repent for their actions or they face the possibility of expulsion from the Anglican Communion. The ACC meeting is not going to resolve this matter, but it may help to clarify whether the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are going to walk together as the Windsor Report put it, with the other churches, or whether they will walk by themselves.
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