ACC-18 welcomes exploration of “structure and decision-making” in the Anglican Communion
14 February 2023 • Persistent link: iarccum.org/?p=4411
A proposal for a piece of work to “explore theological questions regarding structure and decision-making [in the Anglican Communion] to help address our differences” has been welcomed by members of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).
Today (Tuesday 14 February), at their week-long meeting in Accra, Ghana, members of the ACC, gathered for their 18th plenary meeting (ACC-18), affirmed “the importance of seeking to walk together to the highest degree possible, and learning from our ecumenical conversations how to accommodate differentiation patiently and respectfully.”
The words were in a resolution proposed by IASCUFO – the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order. ACC members asked for proposals from IASCUFO “that may impact the ACC constitution” to be brought for full discussion to the next meeting of the ACC, which is expected to be hosted by the Church of Ireland in three years’ time. In the meantime, IASCUFO is asked to proceed with the work and report its progress to the Instruments of Communion.
The Chair of IASCUFO, the Right Revd Graham Tomlin from the Church of England, said that the resolution “comes in the particular context of the Anglican Communion right now”. He added: “We do face challenges, as we all know, as a Communion with the fractures that we experience, the impairment of our of our communion and highlighted by the recent discussion in the General Synod in the Church of England, but other wider issues as well.
“And therefore this is a new situation that we have to address in our communion that is even different from what it was 10, 15 years ago, let alone when the Instruments of Communion were put together and evolved in every instance.
“But I’d also want to set that in an even wider context, which is that we now live in a world which is much more unstable and fractured than it was when the Instruments of Communion evolved in their current form, and because we live in this very fast changing and really quite broken world, we do need to pay attention to our structures and are they fitted for the challenges we face as a communion, but even, more importantly, the challenges we face as a world community right now at the moment”
He said that the proposal would “explore structures we have as an Anglican Communion” and for “resolving some of our disputes, enabling us to live together despite our disagreements.”
He added: “One person said should this be called a unity project. In one sense, maybe yes, it should, because that is the goal of this project. The goal is not differentiation or divergences or splits. It is acknowledging the reality of a fractured, impaired communion but looking towards walking together, for a while maybe at a distance, but to that looking forward to that day when we will realise the full unity which is the gift and the invitation of Christ to us. . .
“The project is about how we learn to give each other space, not how we learn to force one another to do things that we don’t want to do, but to give each other space within a wider structure that holds together the whole of the Communion while we navigate these times that we’re in right now.”
The Primate of Tanzania, Archbishop Maimbo Mndolwa, said that the term “differentiation” needed to be defined; and said that the member churches (provinces) of the Anglican Communion should have a say over any new structures.
The Revd Andrew Atherstone from the Church of England welcomed the proposal, and the way it was phrased, saying: “what it commits us to is to some hard thinking. It it commits us to that focus of exploration – exploration and thinking are really good things for us to be doing together.
“And it doesn’t take us further than that at this stage. If anything is to come out of that hard thinking, if there are viable proposals, they’ll come back to this group. We’ll have full conversations about them, so
I warmly support the initiative to get it all rolling.”
By a show of hands, the members of ACC-18 approved the resolution:
The Anglican Consultative Council: