Posted by Kendall Harmon
The following letter from Bishop Anis is released with his permission–KSH.
My dear brother archbishops,
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to let you know that I have decided not to attend the ACC-16 in Lusaka. My decision has come after a long period of prayer and conversations. As many of you know, it is not easy for me to withdraw from meetings, but this time I felt that if I were to attend, I would be betraying my conscience, my people, and the Primates who worked hard last January to reach a temporary solution in order to keep walking together until such time as we can reach a permanent solution.
I thought that the decision of the Primates’ Meeting in January would be followed through and TEC would not be represented in the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion but sadly this is not the case.
Although I was disturbed by the statements made by the chairman of the ACC while he was in the USA, I had still intended to attend the meeting. However, as it became clear that the decision of the Primates’ Meeting about the participation of TEC in the Standing Committee would be disregarded, it was then that I decided not to attend.
I see that there is a lot of confusion about the role of the Primates’ Meeting and the ACC. Neither have jurisdiction within provinces, but both have roles in regulating the relationship between provinces. The Primates’ Meeting has “enhanced responsibility in offering guidance on doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters” (Lambeth 1988) and to make “intervention in cases of exceptional emergency which are incapable of internal resolution within provinces, and giving guidelines on the limits of Anglican diversity” (Lambeth 1998). Some think that because the ACC is the most representative of the instruments (including bishops, clergy, and laity), it is more authoritative. This is not true. It’s very name, “consultative”, reminds us that it is not an “Anglican Synod” but merely an advisory group. The Instruments of Unity, in order to have good relationships, need to support each others’ decisions in those areas of responsibility given to them by Lambeth Councils.
I will be praying for the members of the ACC-16 so that they may affirm and respect the decisions of the Primates’ Meeting. If this happens, it will bring hope back and we will be able to think of the future together.
The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
After issuing his own protest against the ruling of the Chair of ACC that TEC has every right to be present and vote at ACC16, Bishop Mouneer Anis, Primate of Anglicans in The Horn of Africa and the Middle East, has decided “after prayer & conversations” to withdraw from the Meeting about to take place in Lusaka. Here is one of the reasons given:
“I thought that the decision of the Primates’ Meeting in January would be followed through and TEC would not be represented in the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion but sadly this is not the case.
“I don’t mind the participation of TEC in the General Meeting of the ACC, but the decision of the Primates was very clear that they should not be nominated or elected in internal standing committees”.
Bishop Mouneer is obviously under the misapprehension that an urgently called Meeting of the Primates has judicial authority to actually ban one of the Communion Provinces from attending or voting at any meeting of one of the Communion ‘Instruments of Unity’ (ACC and Primates’ Meetings are both – together with the ABC and the Lambeth Conference – accorded this title).
However, as has been enunciated by the Chair of ACC16, this is not a prerogative open to any one of the Instruments, which have no juridical power to discipline a Province of the Anglican Communion. Furthermore, only the ACC has representation from the whole Church – Lay, Clergy and Bishops – through which to exercise any sort of pan-Anglican discipline.
Also, what must be taken into account, is the bare fact that some members of the GAFCON sodality, which has issued its own testament of faith in its unique ‘Jerusalem Statement’, affect to not fully be part of the Communion Instruments, having failed to attend the last Lambeth Conference. This makes their non-attendance at ACC16 less of an ‘Event’ of importance to the life of the Anglican Communion.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand