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The Limited Authority of the Anglican Consultative Council

The Limited Authority of the Anglican Consultative Council
The ACC has no ecclesiastical authority or power to keep the ACNA out of the Anglican Communion'


By David W. Virtue DD
February 4, 2016

For years it has been assumed that of the four instruments that one -- the Anglican Consultative Council -- had the power to say who was in or out of the Anglican Communion.

It was an assumption made first by Canon John L. Peterson, then Canon Kenneth Kearon who succeeded him and now Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the former Anglican Archbishop of the Province of Kaduna the present Secretary General of the ACC.

One of the reasons then ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan did not apply for membership in the Anglican Communion is because he knew he would be turned down by Secretary General Kearon an Irish liberal, who would never have recognized two Anglican integrities on North American soil and because TEC gives some $400,000 a year to support the Anglican Communion office.

At the recent gathering of Primates in Canterbury the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Michael Curry made the following observation that the Primates are one body and not as important as the ACC which he said had the real power to say yes or no as to who was in or out.

The Presiding Bishop emphasized the autonomy of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), in the wake of the Primates' decision to censure his Church.

However, at their meeting in Canterbury, the Primates' said the US Episcopal Church could no longer represent them on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, nor serve on the Primates or ACC standing committees, and not vote on matters of polity and doctrine at the ACC for a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, because of its support for same-sex marriage.

However, a close examination of the constitution of the Anglican Communion office reveals that the ACC has no such power, that it has been an assumed and derived power and that, in truth, it has no authority to enforce such exclusion.

First, the ACC Constitution does NOT give the ACC jurisdiction over the application process. It only gives them jurisdiction to add to the Schedule of Provinces. Up to this point, the application process has been through the Primates who bring recognition first to their churches and then by resolution of 2/3 of the Primates to the ACC for confirmation.

Secondly, it has always been the role of the Primates to decide who is in the Communion of Anglican Churches-- working together in their Primates meetings, through their Provinces[1], at the decennial Lambeth Conference of Bishops, and by prior assent to Resolutions of the Anglican Consultative Council[2]. This authority is recognized in Section 7.2 of the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council (revised 2010), which provides that the "Member Churches of the [Anglican Consultative] Council shall be those bodies listed in the Schedule... with the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion." The Standing Committee has no jurisdiction over applications for ACC Membership. Furthermore because TEC has been recently disciplined she would not have a seat on the Standing Committee and would be disqualified from voting on any such application.

Thirdly, based on our analysis of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion as currently constituted, that was requested, the bottom line is that one could expect, at best, a 9-5 split on the SCAC in favor of an ACNA Application--more than a majority against an ACNA Application.

The Communion has four not one Instruments of Unity and it is made up of member churches. When the Primates meet they do not come alone, they represent their churches and when they speak and vote on matters concerning the communion (as they did in Canterbury) then Curry only represents TEC and has no ability or right to say who can be a part of the Communion, and his implied threats to ignore the will of the Primates (another instrument of unity) is without legal or ecclesiastical foundation.

There is therefore no reason why archbishop Foley Beach should not apply for full membership in the Anglican Communion and, based on the incredible support he got recently in Canterbury, he would be welcome with open arms by more than two-thirds of the Primates! Curry be damned.It should be mentioned that the ACNA is recognised by the Global South as well as GAFCON. The ACNA was freceived as full a partner province and included Archbishop Foley Beach with full voting rights at the the Cairo Primates Meeting last October.

Fearon would have to submit his application to the Primates and, based on the fact that Beach is already a de facto member of the Anglican Communion because he is recognized by the GAFCON Primates there is little doubt he would be received into full communion much to the annoyance of Curry and Canadian Anglican Primate Fred Hiltz, who despises Beach more than any other primate because of the threat he imposes on North American Anglicanism.

It may well be that if Archbishop Beach applies and gets the necessary two thirds votes and is admitted into the Communion, the other question is what will TEC and the ACoC do? They could walk away from future Primates' meetings, the ACC and be no shows at the next Lambeth Conference. This would be no loss as both provinces are yearly shrinking with decreasing ASA. No one is buying the pansexual agenda of the Episcopal Church and if Hiltz and Canada go ahead and pass gay marriage they will have sealed their own fate. As things now stand only about ten provinces would willingly go along with TEC, 28 Primates would walk away. The Archbishop of Canterbury would be powerless to Indaba or "reconcile" this one, it is out of his jurisdiction.

The deeper truth is that the Global South owns the Anglican Communion with the average Anglican being black, under 30 and male/female. TEC owns nothing except money to manipulate, but those days may well be gone...and so might they. The triumph of Western imperial and colonial might would finally come to an end.


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