Tuesday, May 10, 2016


The Anglican world is in a bit of a turmoil now about what the recent Anglican Consultative Council did and did not do regarding the "consequences" imposed on the American Episcopal Church (TEC) by the January gathering of the Anglican primates at Canterbury.

Mary Frances Schjonberg has summarized it well in her post yesterday "Group of ACC Members, Secretary General Dispute Meaning of Resolution," http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/05/09/group-of-acc-members-secretary-general . Everyone should read this.

The problem boils down to whether or not the ACC supported the primates' punishment of TEC. It seems perfectly clear to me they did not.

On January 27 I posted a note "Chaos in the Anglican Communion" pointing out the confusion resulting from the vote in the primates' meeting to impose "consequences" on TEC.

On April 11 I made a post "The Collapse of the Anti-Episcopal Church Movement in the Anglican Communion" showing how the AC as a whole had rejected the GAFCON move to replace TEC with the Anglican Church in North America as the legitimate Anglican province in the U.S.

On April 16 I posted an article "Breaking News--Anglican Consultative Council Rejects Primates' 'Consequences.'" This brings us to the crux of the problem today. In the ACC meeting last month, the delegates accepted Resolution C34 which was the Archbishop of Canterbury's report on the primates' gathering in January. Then, Resolution C35 was withdrawn. That resolution would have endorsed the "consequences." In other words, the ACC accepted delivery of the ABC's report but refused to endorse its treatment of TEC.

It seems to me we are arguing over the meaning of the word "accept." The ACC accepted delivery of the ABC's report but did not accept the conclusions of the report. This leaves both sides to claim a different interpretation of what happened. The anti-TEC party can claim the ACC accepted the "consequences." The pro-TEC people may claim the ACC rejected the "consequences."

The second is the actuality. The ACC made it very clear it did not agree with the punishment for TEC. In effect, then, the ACC did not really "accept" the decision of the primates' gathering.

The ACC is not required to "accept" anything of the primates. The Anglican Communion has no central government. It has "Four Instruments of Communion" (1-ABC, 2-primates, 3-ACC, 4-Lambeth conference) that are separate and equal. One Instrument does not have authority over any other one Instrument or over any province of the AC, all of which are independent and self-governing. The ACC was perfectly within its rights to reject an imposition from the primates, or from the ABC for that matter.

The ABC and the General-Secretary are insisting the ACC agreed with the primates' consequences. It seems to me this is stretching the case beyond reality.

See also Steve Skardon's post of May 8, "Welby's Stumbling..." ( Click here.  )

In my view, the bottom line is that the Anglican Communion continues "walking together" as 38 independent churches with widely differing views on homosexuality. It is not a "confessional" church that demands one "orthodox" position to the exclusion of all others. The ACC made this abundantly clear in its acceptance and non-acceptance of the ABC's report last month. The fact that 35 of the 38 provinces of the AC were present at the ACC and in full agreement should end the confusion.

The Episcopal Church prevailed in the Anglican Communion. The GAFCON/ACNA side collapsed.