ACC meeting begins Saturday

Updated. The 14th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Kingston, Jamaica tomorrow and ends on May 13th.

The ACC meets every two or three years and is made up of lay people, clergy and bishops from the 38 Anglican Provinces of the Communion.

Episcopal Life Online describes the ACC:

The ACC is the Anglican Communion’s most representative decision-making body and includes bishops, clergy and laity. It makes policy, approves the Anglican Communion Office’s budget and guides the communion agenda for mission and ministry.

While it has no jurisdiction over the 38 individual provinces of the communion, its constitution says that among the council’s duties is a mandate “to develop as far as possible agreed Anglican policies in the world mission of the church and to encourage national and regional churches to engage together in developing and implementing such policies by sharing their resources of manpower, money, and experience to the best advantage of all.”

There will be changes to how the ACC goes about their business which is hoped will create more depth of reflection and more participation by more people, with the sessions divided into information plenary sessions, where material will be presented, and discernment groups.

The discernment groups are an addition to the ACC’s usual format. Those groups will be modeled on the small-group discussion process known as “indaba” that was used during last summer’s Lambeth Conference of bishops in Canterbury, England. Based on a Zulu concept, indaba means purposeful discussion and refers to a group meeting where differences can be aired and a consensus agreement reached.

It is hoped that the group conversations will mean that resolutions will be more owned by more people and where voting on debated resolutions is replaced by a process where people will know and understand each others situations in their own provinces. There will only be two business sessions scheduled for legislative action. Most plenary sessions and all worship services will be open. Daily news briefings will be held.

While there is no news yet, there are places to learn about what’s going on.

The Anglican Church in Canada has established a web portal for news and commentary on the council’s 2009 meeting. You may find it here.

Thinking Anglicans pointed to three pages established by the Anglican Communion Office: the official daily program, background documents and reports which includes documents for ministries and networks within the Anglican Communion and the Bible studies for the meeting. Finally, there is a list of participants at ACC 14.

According to the Daily Program, the Anglican Covenant and the Windsor Continuation Group will be the main topics on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of next week. It will certainly be the center of discussion on the last Sunday and Monday of the meeting when it is decided what will be communicated to the several provinces.

The President of the ACC is Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the meeting will be chaired by Bishop John Paterson of the Diocese of Auckland of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia.

The Episcopal Church is represented by The Rt Revd Catherine S Roskam, Suffragan of New York, The Revd Dr Ian Theodore Douglas, of the Episcopal Divinity School and Ms Josephine Hicks, JD, of Charlotte, North Carolina. The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, will attend as a member of the Primates Standing Committee.

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