Not exactly sure why this group went to all the expense to travel to New Zealand when they apparently just swapped howdies and did not address the escalating crisis facing the Anglican Communion (at least in print), but then perhaps what will be important in the days to come is not what is said in these "media" releases, but what is left out. Americans, having survived now three presidential and one vice presidential debates, are all geared up for what may described as the Anglican version of caveat emptor.
Of note, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA, voted this past summer to significantly reduce the asking by the Anglican Communion Office (run by Kenneth Kearon, by the way, not the Archbishop of Canterbury) to $700,000 - 1/4 of what Kearon's office requested. After a plea from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jeffert's Schori's COO, Stacy Sauls, who said the General Convention's action was "a mistaken reduction in the triennial amount," (oh really? What else was a mistake?) the Executive Council increased it by a $104,000, still far below what the ACO wanted. Just watch that space.
Here is a tidy report posted by the "Anglican Communion News Service," which incidentally is also run out of Kenneth Kearon's office in London. Ah, that things could be so tidy. Guess who is not mentioned, no not once, in this report. Fascinating isn't it?
The Standing Committee met in advance of the start of the 15th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 October at Neligan House, in Auckland. A shorter agenda reflected the fact that the ACC would be meeting and therefore on both days the meeting was adjourned at 1pm.
Neligan House, Auckland
Visa challenges meant that neither Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak nor Mrs Philippa Amable could attend the meeting. Both are yet to arrive in New Zealand, but will be at the ACC meeting at Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.
After opening with prayer, the meeting began with the assembled members sharing news and challenges from their Provinces and dioceses with one another. Archbishop and Primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui the Most Revd Paul Kwong shared that his Church is planning a 200-bed hospital with a focus on treating cancer patients. New Zealand’s Dr Tony Fitchett explained that many dioceses are now facing massive insurance hikes in the wake of the earthquake that devastated Christchurch on New Zealand’s south island.
Much of the rest of the first day's meeting was a review of the ACC-15 programme. The committee particularly welcomed what one member described as “a maturing of the Networks” in that they were more structurally connected to the Instruments of Communion.
The Anglican Communion Office’s Director for Communications, Jan Butter, shared with the committee the planned ACC-15 communications resources (videos, news and feature articles, podcasts, etc.) and channels (Social Media, the Anglican Communion News Service, etc.) which he hoped would “allow Anglican Communion members not in Auckland to feel involved in the meeting and related events such as the opening welcoming ceremony.”
The Standing Committee also reviewed and then welcomed a code of conduct concerning discriminatory behaviours, harassment and sexual harassment prepared by Anglican Communion Office staff for use at all official Communion meetings.
Speaking about the code of conduct, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Canon Kenneth Kearon said having such a policy was not a response to any particular problem but rather was a “modern reality” and an important move to ensure all attendees and staff felt safe. He added, “We recognise that this document may have to evolve in the light of experience.”
There was some discussion about the correspondence from the Diocese of Uruguay regarding issues of Metropolitical Authority. The Standing Committee decided to convene a subgroup to consider next steps in responding to the diocese.
Anglican Alliance Director, Sally Keeble answered questions from the committee about the Memorandum of Association for the Anglican Alliance - Development, Relief, Advocacy. Much of the discussion was around ensuring that the composition of the trustees would ensure voices from regions around the world, particularly those most directly affected by poverty, would be heard. The committee approved the Memorandum of Association.
Before the meeting came to a close, the Vice-Chair, Elizabeth Paver, expressed the committee’s thanks to the five members for whom this ACC was their last: The Revd Maria Cristina Borges Alvarez, Mrs Philippa Amable, Dr Anthony Fitchett, Dato’ Stanley Isaacs, The Revd Canon Janet Trisk.
Read it all here. The ACC starts its meeting on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, a primary target being the Anglican Covenant which saw such contention at the last ACC meeting in Jamaica. You may catch up on the last ACC meeting in postings at the Cafe here.