Archbishop of Canterbury defends ACC-15 from claims it is irrelevant

 

Archbishop of Canterbury defends ACC-15 from claims it is irrelevant

Author: 

George Conger

The Archbishop of Canterbury has rejected suggestions this month’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council was irrelevant, saying there was much to be “grateful for” from the ten day gathering in Auckland, New Zealand.
Speaking to the General Synod of the Church of England on 19 Nov 2012, Dr. Rowan Williams said he wished to respond to criticisms the “structure and pattern of ACC meetings is designed to push to the margin some of the more difficult and controversial matters in the Communion … to focus on mind on the process and take our minds away from the arguments we are not prepared to have.”
“I don’t believe this is true,” Dr. Williams said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury defended the ACC from charges it was a waste of time and money, saying the “crucial point is not whether we have those arguments, but where we have them.”
Dr. Williams said that in the small group discussions held during the meeting, he could attest to there being some “very demanding exchanges on the state of the communion.”  However, these disagreements were “contained in these prayerful and biblically focused” gatherings, and did not spill out into the meeting’s plenary sessions.
The archbishop said the model employed at ACC-15 was akin to that he introduced to the 2008 Lambeth Conference were issues were not discussed so that conclusions or actions could be reached, but to give disparate voices a platform for their views to be heard.
It was his belief the communion did not need further “bureaucratic, public, administrative decision making” but was better served by the different factions of the church “reading the Bible together.”
“So, I don’t think we are evading the issues,” he said. “We were trying to create the conditions were it was possible to have fruitful discussions of them.”
Dr. Williams also shared details of his visit to Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island where in the wake of the 2011 earthquake “another mode of Church life coming to birth."
“I had quite a strong sense of a church being born – another style, another mode of church life coming to birth in that particular environment which has a great deal to say to the rest of us,” the Archbishop told Synod members.
The Diocese of Christchurch wasdoing “truly extraordinary things in bringing the questions of faith alive for a younger generation, and mobilizing the energy and vision of that younger generation in and out of the Church”, he said.
Dr. Williams also spoke of the rising importance of the networks of the Anglican Communion, which represented “some of the most creative, most universally supported work that we do.”
The archbishop added that networks may be the future of the communion’s ecclesial structure replacing the current crop of “instruments of communion.”
“Perhaps the larger question that we’re up against is how do we hold together the burgeoning life of networks, alliances – less formal associations across the Communion – with the unavoidable need for decision-making and managing bodies,” he asked.