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Canadian Primate's Statement on Anglican Consultative Council Meeting

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    News release from The Anglican Church of Canada: A statement on the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council from Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2005
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      News release from The Anglican Church of Canada:
      A statement on the meeting of the Anglican Consultative
      Council from Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate


      Toronto, June 30, 2005 -- What follows is a statement from Archbishop
      Andrew S. Hutchison, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, on the
      recently concluded meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in
      Nottingham, Eng.

      The Anglican Consultative Council met in Nottingham, England, between
      Sunday, June 19 and June 28. There were a number of events and
      developments that occurred at this meeting that I wish to describe
      for you in this short report.

      At its meeting this spring, the Council of General Synod considered
      the request contained in the communiqué issued last February by
      the Primates of the Anglican Communion that the Anglican Church of
      Canada "voluntarily withdraw" its members from this meeting of the
      ACC. After considerable debate, CoGS decided that we should send our
      three members to the meeting, but that they should not participate in
      the proceedings. According, Bishop Sue Moxley, Rev. Canon Allen Box
      and Ms Suzanne Lawson attended the meeting in Nottingham as
      observers.

      CoGS also considered an invitation by the Primates that the Canadian
      and U.S. churches make presentations to the ACC "to set out the
      thinking behind the recent actions of their Provinces" in the case of
      our church, the blessing of same-sex unions, and in the case of the
      Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA), the consecration of a
      gay bishop. CoGS authorized me, in consultation with the Officers of
      General Synod, to appoint presenters. Dean Peter Elliott, Prolocutor
      of General Synod and Dean of New Westminster, Chancellor Robert Falby
      of the Diocese of Toronto, Ms Maria Jane Highway, an indigenous
      member of the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee and Rev. Dr.
      Stephen Andrews, a member of the Primate's Theological Commission and
      President of Thornloe University, subsequently agreed to be our
      presenters. I also attended the meeting of the ACC for our
      presentation and was the concluding speaker.

      I wish to say to you categorically that all of the people who
      attended this difficult and complex meeting - both our members and
      our presenters - acquitted themselves of their tasks with remarkable
      skill and dedication. Our members, sitting as non-speaking and non-
      participating observers, faced a difficult, frustrating and painful
      week; our presenters responded to the request of the Primates in a
      lucid, thorough and transparent way. I was proud to be among these
      people in Nottingham, and I believe you would have been as well.
      These were not easy mandates for either group and it is hard to
      imagine how either of them could have improved on what they did.

      It is difficult to say what impact our presentation had. An evening
      session that was to have carried this conversation further was
      postponed. I can tell you that members of the ACC listened to us and
      to our U.S. colleagues intently, and that there was considerable
      applause at the end of our presentation. In the evening, the
      Canadians hosted an informal reception which was well attended and
      which gave members of the Council the chance to exchange views and
      comment on our presentation. There was much positive feedback.

      This was the extent of our formal participation at the Nottingham
      meeting. The day after our presentation, however, a motion was
      brought, without notice, requesting the Anglican Consultative Council
      to affirm the Primates' request that we voluntarily withdraw from the
      meeting, and further requesting us to withdraw from all activities of
      the Anglican Communion until Lambeth 2008. That motion was debated at
      a closed session. We were not present during the debate, we did not
      participate, and we did not speak. We did not even hear the debate.
      There is undeniably an issue of natural justice in this process. An
      amended motion was eventually approved, affirming the Primates'
      request and interpreting voluntary withdrawal from the Council to
      include two committees - the standing committee, and the committee on
      finance and administration. The amended motion carried by the
      narrowest of margin. Had our members and our colleagues from ECUSA
      voted, the motion would have failed. We do not have members on either
      of those two committees, so the practical effect of the motion on us
      is nil.

      There is much to reflect on as a result of this meeting. Having heard
      our presentation and watched members of the council as our people
      spoke, I hope and pray that we may have opened a window or two on
      these difficult topics. I hope and pray that our presentation and the
      presentation by our ECUSA brothers and sisters may have moved the
      discussion along and perhaps even provided a slight impetus for the
      discussion on sexual issues to begin in those parts of the Communion
      where it has not yet begun. I am encouraged by these thoughts and by
      these possibilities. I am also encouraged that the Council agreed to
      the establishment of a "listening process" designed to collate
      information on sexual issues from the different provinces and to make
      these resources widely available for study and reflection.

      For our part, our presenters made clear to the Council that we in
      this country and in this church are still very much in the midst of a
      conversation on this issue, a conversation that will be before the
      next gathering of General Synod in 2007.

      Between now and then, we continue to value the relationships fostered
      by the worldwide Anglican Communion. We continue to be firmly
      committed to our international partnerships with other members of the
      Communion. We are full members of the Communion and we continue to
      hope and pray that the Communion will emerge from this debate
      stronger in Christian love and mutual understanding.

      I want to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers during this
      difficult meeting.

      This report is by no means a comprehensive description of all that
      happened during the meeting of the ACC. For those who wish to know
      more, many of the documents and motions that were before the Council
      are available on the web.

      http://www.aco.org/acc/index.cfm
      http://ecusa.anglican.org/ens/
      http://www.anglican.ca/index.htm


      +Andrew
      The Most Rev. Andrew S. Hutchison
      Archbishop and Primate
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