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Council Somber After Vote to Exclude North Americans
The Living Church Foundation ^ | 6/23/2005 | The Rev. George Conger

Posted on 06/24/2005 5:37:39 AM PDT by sionnsar

The razor thin vote on June 22 to exclude the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada from the Anglican Consultative Council has cast a pall over ACC-13 in Nottingham.

The mood among the delegates following the 30-28 vote, with 4 abstentions and 1 vote recorded as “dissenting”, is a mixture of exhaustion and disappointment that the focus has been on homosexuality to the exclusion of other pressing issues. The ebullience or outrage found among the bishops of the 1998 Lambeth Conference following the vote on human sexuality is missing in Nottingham.

Nor has the “North American issue” been conclusively settled at this conference, which runs through June 28. One delegate, speaking in confidence to The Living Church, said, “this is not over.”

The debate on the “Resolution on the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada” began at 2:45 Wednesday afternoon and finished at 5:00 pm.

The decision to bar the U.S. and Canadian observers and the media from the session came as a result of a motion put forward by Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria. Archbishop Akinola suggested that delegates from non-Western countries would feel more comfortable speaking outside the camera’s glare. No debate was held and the motion passed with delegates from the northern provinces largely opposed.

The proceedings began on a courteous note, but as time passed and the temperature increased—Central England is in the midst of a summer heat wave and the air conditioning in the windowless auditorium at the University of Nottingham’s Business School broke down early in the conference—tempers flared.

Having telegraphed his desires for the conference and the Communion in his Presidential Address, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams intervened three times in the debate: first making a technical correction, and then offering a “substantive” recommendation to the discussion and giving a “spirited response” to a strong comment made by a delegate.

After the vote, the mover of the resolution, Stanley Isaac, a prosecutor from Malaysia, told TLC the resolution had two principle purposes. “We wanted to reiterate what was decided in Dromantine”, he said, and to affirm that the Primates’ call was given “proper meaning and effect.”

Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold released a statement while en route to the United States, writing, “the vote, which was contingent on the absence of the six votes of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, reveals a divide within the membership of the ACC.”

Archbishop Andrew Hutchison of Canada concurred. “We do regret the decision, although we note that it was adopted by an extremely narrow margin,” he said. “Had our members and our American colleagues been allowed their vote, it would have failed. We regret that the Anglican Consultative Council made such a decision in a forum in which we are not being allowed to participate and in which we have no voice,” he said.

The closeness of the vote arose over divisions over how best to respond to the actions of the North American Churches. The primary argument, delegates told TLC, was not whether or not the Episcopal Church was in the wrong, but being in the wrong, what should they do about the Episcopal Church.

The Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt. Rev. Riah Abu El-Assal, typified this response. He lamented the time spent on the issue, saying it was like “scratching a sore.”

On Thursday morning, June 23, seven provinces: Brazil, Australia, Wales, South Africa, Southeast Asia, Ireland and New Zealand, offered formal responses to the presentations.

The Rev. Canon Michael Burrows of Ireland stated his church did “not intend to break or impair communion on this one” with the Episcopal Church and spoke of the experience and desire of the Church of Ireland to stay together in the midst of sectarian tensions.

The Bishop of the Highveld, the Rt. Rev. David Beetge, offered his Church’s House of Bishop’s statement on homosexuality, noting they remained in dialogue over the issue, as they were not of one mind. Australian lay delegate Robert Fordham concurred, saying his Church was divided over the issue, as “scripture is unclear.”

The Welsh delegate, Archdeacon Alun Evans, noted that a compromise had been reached in his province whereby the church could affirm gays and lesbians while keeping traditionalists happy.

The lone “dissenting” voter on Wednesday afternoon, New Zealand lay delegate Tony Fichett, noted that New Zealand’s different “cultures have different eases with sexuality and we have to go at a pace where we can listen to one another.”

Speaking for many delegates from the Global South, Stanley Isaac of Southeast Asia said he was not moved by the U.S. presentation. He had expected the Episcopal Church “to expound to us the justification from Scripture to what they have been doing and what they want to do. Unfortunately I did not find anything in what was said that justified the things they were doing on the basis of Scripture.

“They gave us a story of how God loves them as much as God loves everyone else, and how much they love Jesus, and it is not something they brought on themselves, so on and so forth,” he said. The Anglican Communion can “only accede” to this argument “if we are wanting to compromise” on Scripture.

Mr. Isaac then offered a statement from Archbishop Yong Ping Chung critical of the actions of the Episcopal Church and Canada and the deleterious effect it had upon the work of the Church in Southeast Asia.

Speaking to TLC, Mr. Isaac said, “Nobody is trying to be cruel here”. Gays and lesbians are “part of the Church, they should be involved in the Church,” he said. “But if you are saying they should be priests, or they should be married in the Church, that is a different ballgame altogether.”

Repentance and amendment of life are essential for reconciliation, Mr. Isaac observed. “This vote provides an opportunity for healing and reconciliation so that we can be unified and made whole in Christ”.

The discussion of homosexuality and the North American question continues on Friday with responses of three provinces to the U.S. and Canadian presentations, and a session devoted to the “listening process” recommended by the Primates and Lambeth 1998 and endorsed on Wednesday by the ACC.

(The Rev.) George Conger is in Nottingham, England reporting for The Living Church from the triennial meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

More News From the ACC Triennial:
· ACC Suspends North American Churches
· Vote on Resolution to Expel North Americans Scheduled
· Communion's Spotlight is on Presentation Panels
· Archbishop Says Common Ground Still Exists
· Status Quo at ACC Holds on Second Day
· Withdrawn Status of North Americans Noted
· ACC Opening Session Surprise
· ACC Meeting Opens with Dinner and Orientation
· Bishop Roskam to Serve in Two Capacities at Nottingham

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 06/24/2005 5:37:39 AM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; Hermann the Cherusker; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-7 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 06/24/2005 5:38:01 AM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || <Airbus A380)^: The BIG PIG)
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To: sionnsar
Robert Fordham concurred, saying his Church was divided over the issue, as “scripture is unclear.”

Sorry, Scripture is only unclear if you want it to be unclear. Otherwise it's plain as day.

3 posted on 06/24/2005 6:33:04 AM PDT by kezekiel
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To: sionnsar
Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold released a statement while en route to the United States, writing, “the vote, which was contingent on the absence of the six votes of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, reveals a divide within the membership of the ACC.”

Amazing. Too bad the Holy Bible doesn't reveal anything to him.

4 posted on 06/24/2005 7:19:51 AM PDT by polymuser
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