Curry emphasizes autonomy of Anglican Consultative Council

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry spoke with the Church Times:

THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Rt Revd Michael Curry, has emphasised the autonomy of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), in the wake of the Primates’ decision to censure his Church.

At their meeting in Canterbury earlier this month, the Primates’ required the US Episcopal Church to no longer represent them on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, not serve on the Primates or ACC standing committees, and not vote on matters of polity and doctrine at the ACC for a period of three years, as a consequence of its support for same-sex marriage.

The Primates’ gathering, however, has no official executive status. The authority to enforce such steps rests with the ACC itself.

Bishop Curry was asked directly whether he would contest these “consequences” at the next meeting of the ACC in April. On Wednesday, he would say only: “The ACC is the only formal constitutional body of the Anglican Communion and it will decide what it will do. Our representatives from the Episcopal Church look forward to being there.”

The ACC meets in April. The representatives to the ACC from The Episcopal Church are the Bishop of Connecticut, the Rt. Rev .Ian Douglas, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings (also President of the House of Deputies), and Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine, lay person and deputy to the General Convention from the Virgin Islands. Church Times reports Douglas and Jennings have confirmed  they will attend. Douglas also serves on the ACC Standing Committee.

The Church Times reminds us:

In the past, members of the ACC have criticised the Primates for overstepping their remit. In 2006, after the Primates asked the US Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to voluntarily withdraw their representatives from the ACC, the organisation’s then chairman, the Rt Revd John Paterson, criticised the move as “at least slightly premature, if not coercive and somewhat punitive” (News, 24 June, 2005).

Earlier this week Canon Lawyer Doe, member of the Anglican Covenant Design Group, called the primates’ move to limit the participation of the Episcopal Church “completely unacceptable interference with the autonomy of each of these bodies as they transact their own business.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury today issued his interpretation of the meaning of primates’ communiquë. The key paragraph regarding the Episcopal Church:

We remain committed to being together, albeit we asked that TEC, while attending and playing a full part in our meetings and all discussions, will not represent the Anglican Communion to other churches and should not be involved in standing committees for a period of three years. During this time we also asked that they not vote on matters of doctrine or how we organise ourselves.

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