Friday’s agenda included membership issues, recent developments in the Communion and reports from Chair Bp James Tengatenga and Secretary General Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon.
The Anglican Consultative Council’s (ACC) legal adviser Revd Canon John Rees explained that while the approval of the new ACC Articles of Association by the Provinces had been reported to ACC-14 they had not been formally registered by the UK’s Charity Commission in December 2009 when the Committee last met.
This meant the old ACC Constitution had still applied at that time and the casual vacancy left by the resignation of Ms Nomfundo Walaza therefore should have been filled with someone of the same order: a lay person. Canon Rees said that, under the (now registered) new ACC Articles of Association that replace the old ACC Constitution, the Committee could now choose to ratify the selection of Canon Trisk to fill the vacancy, or could select another candidate.
He explained that the new Articles of Association had been drawn up between 2002 and 2005, before submission to the Provinces between 2005 and 2009, and had specifically addressed the issues of electing someone of the same order when replacing a casual vacancy on the Standing Committee. The Articles now give ACC members maximum flexibility in ensuring a balance of region, gender, and order on the Committee.
After further discussion of the criteria and the present need for clergy representatives (to redress a shortfall in that category) a motion that Canon Trisk (who had been absent from the meeting thus far) should fill the vacancy was put to the vote and unanimously carried. She then joined the meeting. Canon Trisk will see out the remainder of Ms Walaza’s term on the Standing Committee.
The Committee then heard that because Bp Catherine Roskam had ended her term as The Episcopal Church’s bishop representative at the last ACC meeting in Jamaica Bp Ian Douglas’s election by Executive Committee to that position following his consecration had been entirely within its constitutional powers. It did not constitute a fresh appointment and would not extend Bp Douglas’ period of service.
After considering the present balance of region, order and gender of the Committee, members elected a member of ACC to fill the vacancy left by Bp Azad Marshall. That person will be contacted and, if and when that person agrees to serve, the name will be made public.
The Committee also noted the resignations of Archbishops Henry Orombi and Justice Akrofi and of Bishop Mouneer Anis and agreed that its response to them would express regret that their voices would be missed and that the Committee’s work was diminished when it lacked a range of opinion as well as full representation. New members of the Committee either listened to or read the contents of the resignation letters.
The naming of the Standing Committee
Several members of the Committee expressed concern that the phrase ‘Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion’ could be said to have caused confusion, and might be thought to have unintended and unwelcome connotations. Section 4.2.2 of the Anglican Communion Covenant refers to ‘The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, responsible to the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting’, and thereafter referred simply to ‘the Standing Committee’*. It was agreed that the words ‘of the Anglican Communion , responsible to the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting were merely descriptive of the lines of appointment and accountability of Standing Committee members to the two named Instruments of Communion. So for the avoidance of any further doubt it was agreed that the Committee would simply be referred to as ‘the Standing Committee’ as per the new ACC Articles of Association.
Recent developments in the Communion
There was an opportunity for members of the Committee to express their views and ask questions about the decision to remove or alter the status of members from one province serving on the Anglican Communion’s ecumenical dialogues and IASCUFO. The Archbishop of Canterbury and Secretary General Kenneth Kearon explained the rationale behind this decision. In particular the Committee was assured that the Archbishop had not acted unilaterally but with the support of the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion; that they had acted within their powers; and that the action had not been punitive in intention. Rather it had been taken—following the breaking of the agreed moratoria—in response to the needs of the Communion in respect to ecumenical dialogues and faith and order bodies. Committee members were told that other Provinces were under consideration.
Chairman’s Report and Secretary General’s Report
These were postponed until the following day and the group adjourned the meeting.
The Standing Committee then attended the ‘Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library’ exhibition followed by dinner, at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife, Mrs Jane Williams. For photos of the event visit here.
*(4.2.2) The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, responsible to the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting, shall monitor the functioning of the Covenant in the life of the Anglican Communion on behalf of the Instruments. In this regard, the Standing Committee shall be supported by such other committees or commissions as may be mandated to assist in carrying out this function and to advise it on questions relating to the Covenant. (The Anglican Communion Covenant: the Ridley Cambridge November Text, page 8)