Saturday, July 31, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Anglican Communion News Service
Day 4 of 4: Tuesday 27 June, 2010
- Bible in the Life of the Church project gathers pace.
- Web-based Anglicanism course in the pipeline.
- Anglicans urged to share the best of the Communion through web news service.
- ACC and Primates' meeting "appropriate bodies to consider moratoria breaches".
On tuesday's agenda: the second part of the Unity, Faith and Order report; the report on the Bible in the Life of the Church project and theological education in the Anglican Communion; a report on Anglican Communion communications; a report on Continuing Indaba.
Director of Unity, Faith and Order Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan presented the second part of her report on the ecumenical dialogues of the Anglican Communion. These included the Anglican Roman Catholic Dialogue, the International Anglican Orthodox Commission for Theological Dialogue, Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission, Anglican Lutheran International Commission and the Anglican Methodist Commission on Unity and Mission.
Canon Barnett-Cowan explained that the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO) was looking at how the work of these dialogues is being received by Provinces of the Communion. The question was raised about how the Anglican Communion might relate to Pentecostal churches and new independent churches in the future, though it was acknowledged that some initial work was being done through multilateral platforms such as the Global Christian Forum. International conversations might also be initiated with Moravians, and with churches of the Reformed tradition, especially in the light of the recent formation of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/ecumenical/
The Bible in the Life of the Church
Project manager Stephen Lyon told the Committee that the project (http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/theological/bible/index.cfm) was well under way. The Standing Committee explored a couple of the exercises that have arisen from the project seeking to identify the influences we all bring to our own reading of the Bible. In the discussion that followed the Standing Committee gratefully acknowledged the support for the project given by the American Bible Society. There was a strong recommendation that the project might reach out to other bible societies around the world for similar support.
Theological Education in the Anglican Communion
Two major pieces of work for the Working Party on Theological Education in the Anglican Communion over the coming year will be an international consultation for theological college Principals, and the production of a web-based course on Anglicanism. The Principals consultation is aimed particularly at Principals who work in isolated situations. It plans to offer encouragement, support, and sharing of insights about curricula and the spirituality of ministerial formation. The web-based course on Anglicanism will be based on the already available 'Signposts statement' (a concise expression of 'The Anglican Way' published by TEAC in 2007) Members of the Standing Committee acknowledged the importance of theological education in helping to share the life and well-being of the Communion.
The Anglican Communion Office's new Director of Communications Jan Butter presented a short report that considered the Communications gaps, needs and potential of the Communion. He stressed the importance of all members of the Communion sharing and hearing about the successes and challenges of all levels of church life and mission. In particular he highlighted the Anglican Communion News Service (http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/help/acnslist.cfm) as a free web-based channel for all Anglicans to share their news and hear the news of others. Recognising the limited web access of some members of the Communion, Mr Butter indicated other communications channels that could allow those without web access to receive Anglican information, news and resources.
Revd Canon Phil Groves began his presentation by expressing his delight at being involved in Continuing Indaba because it was about energising local and global mission. He was pleased to report that there was genuine excitement about the project from across the Communion. Anglicans worldwide are eager to engage in difficult conversations across difference if they lead to deeper relationships with Christ and with one another. People are starting see the project's potential. Following a recent consultation Bishop Patole of Mumbai said, "It was good to share and we became clear on Indaba and how it can assist our mission in India."
Canon Groves drew the Standing Committee's attention to the commendations of the project on the Anglican Communion Website. He also reported that theologians have been gathered in order to develop Anglican resources on how we enter a journey of conversation in ways that are biblical and draw upon the cultures of the Communion. So far these Theological Resource Hubs have been run in Kenya, South Africa, India, The West Indies, England, the USA and Hong Kong with further Hubs planned. Theological resources supporting the project can be found on the website (http://www.anglicancommunion.org/ministry/continuingindaba/).
When asked whether this was the Listening Process Canon Groves replied that the project had emerged from the Windsor Report process. The bishops at the 1998 Lambeth Conference committed themselves to 'listening to the experience of homosexual persons' and following ACC-13 resources had been provided to assist them in this ongoing task. The ACC had also encouraged mutual listening and ACC-14 had commended Continuing Indaba as a method to deliver this aspect of the Listening Process. Mutual Listening is wider, and many Provinces had asked why one issue was given preference over others. Kenyan theologians had told him that for Continuing Indaba to be useful the topics for discussion would need to be relevant to their context; their prime issue was reconciliation in the context of post-election violence.
Canon Groves said, "The ultimate test of Continuing Indaba is not that we all agree with one another but that local mission is furthered through our global Communion."
Further discussion on moratoria breach
As agreed, the Committee revisited Saturday's discussion. Dato' Stanley Isaacs delivered a frank and passionate presentation about the distress felt by some parts of the Communion about The Episcopal Church's decision to breach one of the moratoria. He concluded by proposing that rights to participate in discussions of matters of faith and order at the Standing Committee and the ACC be withdrawn from The Episcopal Church.
In the subsequent discussion Archbishop Philip Aspinall reiterated that the Standing Committee did not have the power to undertake such an action. He reminded the Committee that the Covenant had been drawn up to address just these kinds of points of disagreement. It was also stated that the Standing Committee did not have all the powers of the ACC, especially when it came to the Membership Schedule.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori questioned why the proposal was singling out The Episcopal Church. Bishop Ian Douglas stressed he was present in his role as an elected representative of the ACC, not a member of The Episcopal Church and he desired to always be responsible to the Council. He thanked Dato' Stanley Isaacs for attending the Standing Committee meeting despite his [Isaacs'] feelings about recent events in the Communion. He said that having other elected representatives present who represented a genuine segment of the ACC helped him [Bp Douglas] to be a better member. He added that he missed having Bp Azad's voice at the meeting.
Dr Tony Fitchett agreed that the Committee needed as full a range of views as possible. "I'm conscious I'm not here representing my province," he said. "I'm here because I was appointed by the ACC. My accountability is not to my Province. I expect to continue to serve on the [Standing Committee] even if my Province were ever to be unacceptable to other churches because of its actions."
After what Canon Elizabeth Paver described as "the time, prayer and space necessary for everyone to be heard on this matter" the Standing Committee agreed a resolution that it: "regrets ongoing breaches of the three moratoria that continue to strain the life of the Anglican Communion; regrets the consequential resignations of members of the Standing Committee which diminish our common life and work on behalf of the ACC and the Primates' Meeting; recognises that the ACC and the Primates' Meeting are the appropriate bodies to consider these matters further."
Anglican Communion News Service
Day 3 of 4: Monday 26 June, 2010
- Call for Anglicans involved with evangelism and church growth to share their successes.
- Anglican relief and development alliance all about "sharing experience, knowledge and best practice".
- More than 80 Anglican Communion women attend UN meeting in New York.
Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative
Building on the report to the Standing Committee, ACO staff Stuart Buchanan and Revd John Kafwanka presented on the ACC and Lambeth Conference-mandated project the Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative (ECGI). The initiative aims to promote evangelism and church growth work throughout the Communion and to facilitate the sharing of news, stories experiences and strategies of various evangelism and church growth initiatives.
They explained that this is not a mission commission or a network, but something that is quite different for example focusing on equipping churches to reach the unreached. Mr Buchanan said Anglicans who register with the Initiative receive the regular newsletter in which they would find stories of impactful evangelism and church growth activities.
Anglican Relief and Development Alliance
Revd John Kafwanka reported that the Alliance had progressed in two key areas since the last report to the Standing Committee: 1) the public consultation that had concluded in February that sought opinions and information from individuals, provinces, dioceses and mission/development agencies and 2) the fact that significant funding had been secured that would help support the core activities of the Alliance for at least the initial three years.
He then gave a review of the recent Alliance consultation meeting at Lambeth Palace, postponed from April, that saw delegates visiting from countries including Melanesia, the Philippines, Australia, North India, Uruguay, the USA, the DRC and South Africa. The purpose of the consultation was to review the responses from the public consultation and plan together and agree on the shape of structures and membership, and look at priority areas and action points to be taken forward for short and long term and how these might differ from region to region.
After feedback from the Committee, Mr Kafwanka stressed that the Alliance was meant to be a forum and opportunity to learn from one another and from other's experience. "It is about sharing experience, knowledge and best practice," said Mr Kafwanka. "It is about seeing gaps and then building capacity where it's lacking to allow Anglicans to be much more effective in what they do."
Presenting on the work of the Networks, Revd Terrie Robinson said some significant challenges facing them included funding, communications, and promoting the work that they do. However, the Standing Committee also heard about the many good things the Networks had achieved in particular the Anglican Health Network's fundraising efforts that have enabled it to hire a full time co-ordinator. It also came in for praise for its soon to be launched health micro-insurance programme that will pilot in Tanzania.
In March this year the Anglican Peace and Justice Network marked its 25th anniversary in Geneva; the International Anglican Family Network continues to produce its celebrated newsletters showcasing work from around the Communion—most recently on the issue of trafficking. The International Anglican Women's Network was heavily involved with the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women and more than 80 women from across the Communion attended the meeting in New York. More information about the Networks can be found on the ACO website (http://www.anglicancommunion.org/networks/index.cfm)
Network for Interfaith Concerns
Mrs Clare Amos, Director of Theological Studies and Co-ordinator of NIFCON, was joined by the Revd Canon Guy Wilkinson, National Inter Faith Relations Adviser for the Church of England and Secretary for Inter Faith Relations to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Revd Rana Khan, Administrator for Inter Religious Dialogue.
Mrs Amos gave a presentation on Christian Zionism as an introduction to a Standing Committee-mandated report on the subject due to be presented the next ACC. She then shared a first draft of set of principles of advocacy for the NIFCON group to better enable the Network to speak out on behalf of those suffering persecution.
Department for Unity, Faith and Order
The Director of Unity, Faith and Order, the Revd Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan presented her report to the Standing Committee. The IASCUFO group working on the Instruments of Communion hoped to have a discussion paper ready for the next meeting of IASCUFO.
Progress of the Covenant
Canon Barnett-Cowan reported that the Anglican Church of Mexico was the first Province to adopt the Covenant. Other Provinces had reported on the process they had adopted and there was much appreciation for the depth of seriousness with which the Covenant was being considered.
There was a further discussion about the role of the Standing Committee with respect to the Covenant which noted that the decision-making bodies with respect to the Covenant were the Instruments of the Communion.
Legal advice on the Covenant
Following a request from the Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia the Committee received legal advice from the ACC's legal adviser Revd Canon John Rees on the scope of Clause 4.2.8 of the Covenant and then requested that it be sent to the General Secretary of The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia.