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Urbanisation Challenges Churches to Rethink its Big Cities Ministry

Posted on: September 24, 1999 10:00 AM
Related Categories: ACC, ACC11

Resolutions abound as ACC-11 comes to a close

The ACC, in its final day of deliberations, heard multiple presentations that offered the international assembly a chance to focus on the challenges that face churches in the big cities of the world. Profiles of Mexico, Uganda, Hong Kong and USA were used to illustrate how the church can be an instrument of witness in communities that are clamouring for assistance and direction in coping with crime, unemployment and inadequate housing.

In his plenary address, the Most Revd Glauco Soares de Lima, Primate of Brazil, called on the church "to subvert its paternalistic ways" in order to help people engage "in reflection and dialogue". The Brazilian Archbishop stressed the need for the church to become "a transforming community". He told the ACC that the church must not succumb to thinking they "have all the answers". The Revd Sam Koshiishi of Japan spoke of how the small Anglican Church was seeking to provide services to the wider community in places like Tokyo.

Members of the Church of England Urban Bishops Panel, the Rt Revd Laurie Green, the Rt Revd Roger Sainsbury, and secretary, the Revd Dr Andrew Davey, told the ACC not to misjudge the global challenges facing the Church "on the threshold of the new millennium". The Lambeth Conference Section Two report was referred to, as it states that "the real challenge to Christian mission in the 21st century will be that of urban mission".

One panel member stated, "We cannot think about urbanisation today without also thinking about Globalisation. Globalisation is the process by which new technologies and powerful economies combine to make the world a smaller place. A global village. New forms of global culture and economic systems are emerging that transcend all national boundaries and trading blocs."

The presentation ended with discussion on a resolution asking for the formation of an Anglican Urban Network to resource the Churches of the Anglican Communion and asked for support to establish a "Faith in an Urban World" Commission, in consultation with ecumenical bodies. A revised resolution was adopted encouraging the work and asked the group to "continue to work toward being recognised in due course as an official network". It asked that a further report be made to ACC-12 on the "scope and viability" of a commission.

This hearing came just one day after the ACC visited a development for community services at St Matthews Episcopal Church, Possilpark, Glasgow, where they joined in the opening ceremonies for a new environmental project in this "multiple deprivation" area of the city. (See press release 33).

Resolutions

The ACC-11 meeting came to close on Friday, but not before passing many resolutions on topics ranging from East Timor to International Debt.

Some of the 31 resolutions passed by ACC-11 include:

Landmines And Arms

This ACC

  1. Endorses Lambeth Conference Resolution I.13 concerning Landmines.
  2. Calls upon Anglicans throughout the Communion to work with other Christians in their provinces to establish more effective control on the production, sale and distribution of arms and weapons.
  3. Commits itself to bringing, with its ecumenical partners, these concerns before the United Nations.

Nuclear Weapons

This ACC-11, at the request of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network,

  1. urges all provinces to demonstrate their commitment to Lambeth Resolution 1.11 on nuclear weapons
  2. urges all provinces to study and critically assess NATO's first strike policy.

Anglican Communion Priorities, Strategies And Budgets

ACC-11

  1. thanks the Anglican Communion Priorities Working Group for their paper;
  2. agrees that there are two priorities for the Anglican Communion, namely mission and ecumenism (as they are defined and elaborated in the Anglican Communion Priorities Working Group paper);
  1. recognises that
    1. communications,
    2. enabling the Communion to meet at various levels,
    3. a strong and effective secretariat

are all essential for achieving the two Anglican Communion priorities;

  1. affirms that priorities in future may be proposed by
    1. The Archbishop of Canterbury
    2. The Primates
    3. The Anglican Consultative Council
    4. The Lambeth Conference
    5. The ACC Standing Committee
    6. The Primates Standing Committee
    7. Commissions and Networks
    8. The Anglican Communion Secretariat
  1. affirms further that the priorities must be decided by the ACC or the Joint Standing Committee.

East Timor

This ACC expresses

  1. deep concern over the East Timor tragedy following the referendum on independence in the territory;
  2. appreciation of the work of the UN in moving forward possibilities of peace and justice for the East Timorese and their progress towards independence;
  3. support for the ministry and human rights work of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) and assures the PGI and its member churches of our continuing prayers; and,

calls on

  1. Anglicans throughout the world to pray for the restoration of peace and justice and a cessation of guerrilla activity in East Timor;
  2. Anglicans to press their political leaders to urge the Indonesian government and army to assist in bringing an immediate end to human rights abuses against the people of East Timor;
  3. the world community to give every possible assistance for the rehabilitation and development of East Timor and its people; and
  4. on Anglicans to pray for the safety of the members of the UN peacekeeping forces and all those ministering to the religious needs of the troops, especially Anglican chaplains.

Israel-Palestine Peace Process

In the light of recent positive developments towards reaching a just and lasting peace settlement in the Middle East, this ACC

  1. Heartily endorses Lambeth Conference Resolution V.20 on the Holy Land
  2. Asks the Secretary General to write to the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority urging them to continue their efforts to strengthen the peace process so that all involved may enjoy equal rights and live together in dignity and harmony as children of God.
  3. Asks member churches to continue praying for and encouraging the peace process

Cuba

This ACC-11 reaffirms Resolution V.9 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference (and its predecessor resolution in the Lambeth Conference 1988) calling for the cessation of the U.S. embargo against Cuba.

Network Of Anglicans In Mission And Evangelism (Name)

This ACC-11

welcomes and appreciates the desire of groups within the Communion to assist the Communion in its mission and evangelism responsibilities.

hopes that, in time, it will be possible to welcome the Network of Anglicans in Mission and Evangelism (NAME) as a Network working with the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism.

requests that NAME comply with the ACC-10 guidelines for networks.

resolves that for this to happen, the following steps must be completed to the satisfaction of the ACC Standing Committee:

  1. A positive review of the proposal by the Provinces and major mission agencies, to be facilitated by the Anglican Communion Office (ACO).
  2. Formation of a secretariat, or staff, and programme committee by NAME that inspires confidence in the network's intentions.
  3. Clarification of the membership of NAME, particularly the question of whether the network is open to people or organisations other than individual bishops and institutions/agencies.
  4. The working out of a mutually acceptable reporting and financial accountability to the Anglican Consultative Council, by NAME liaising with the Secretary General.
  5. The establishment of a mutually acceptable working relationship with the Mission Commission, which takes account of the Mission Commission's mandate while enabling NAME to operate effectively and efficiently.
  6. Compliance with other recommendations of MISSIO set out in Appendix B of its report to ACC-11.

Asks the Standing Committee, once all requirements have been met regarding NAME as a network member, to bring a recommendation to ACC-12.

Anglican Indigenous Network

This ACC

  1. Receives the report of the Anglican Indigenous Network.
  2. Notes that the Anglican Indigenous Network is looking at ways of encouraging greater participation by indigenous minority peoples living in their own lands in the Network's activities.
  3. Affirms that the Anglican Indigenous Network has an important role to play in assisting the Church to find its way forward to ensure that the potential contribution of indigenous people to all aspects of the life of the Church is constantly enhanced.
  4. Requests that the Secretary General of the ACC consult with the Anglican Indigenous Network on the suitablity and appropriateness of the current arrangements for the participation of the indigenous peoples in the affairs of the ACC and report, as appropriate, to the Joint Standing Committee.
  5. Asks the Standing Committee of the ACC to consider how assistance, including, but not exclusively, financial, be provided to the Anglican Indigenous Network to advance its activities.

Anglican Congress: Proposal From Acc Discussion 18 Sept

This ACC

  1. Receives the report on the proposed Anglican Congress;
  2. Welcomes the positive suggestion of the Archbishop of Canterbury during the ACC discussion that an Anglican Congress should be held in association with the next Lambeth Conference;
  3. Requests the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Secretary General and the Joint Standing Committee to put in hand such planning and financial provision as would make this Congress a reality.
  1. Notes
    1. the discussions which date back to ACC-9,
    2. various expressions of support for such a Congress,
    3. the comment in The Virginia Report which acknowledges "the creative opportunity an Anglican Congress might, from time to time, offer the Communion for the renewal of its life, witness and mission," and
    4. the estimated cost structures and advice of the Inter Anglican Finance Committee;
  2. Recommends
    1. That there should be an Anglican Congress in association with the next Lambeth Conference;
    2. That such an event should be held in the first decade of the 21st Century at a place to be determined by the Archbishop of Canterbury in consultation with the Joint Standing Committee;
    3. That for the Congress the Archbishop of Canterbury invites the diocesan bishop, and on behalf of the Primates and the ACC invites 4 other persons of whom 3 should be lay, at least one person a woman and one under the age of 28; and

International Debt: Anglican Development Projects

This ACC, noting that,

  1. the debt under which the countries of the Third World suffer is a shared responsibility, thus it is also necessary to share the solution;
  2. the transfer of technology has been a very costly process, since such technology has been the property of powerful nations; and
  3. The authorised loans to countries of the Third World has, in many cases, through abuse benefited only a few;

now

  1. Resolves to strengthen our efforts and advocacy in favour of the cancellation of the international debt of poor countries;
  2. Asks each of the delegates to ACC-11 to send a letter to each of the presidents of the countries in the Group of Seven (G7), to the president of the World Bank and to the president of the International Monetary Fund, urging the cancellation of the international debt of poor countries;
  3. Encourages the identification of development projects in poor countries or regions which have the potential to generate resources and provide local employment.

Report Of The Anglican Peace And Justice Network

This ACC

  1. receives the report of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network dated April 1999;
  2. welcomes the breadth of issues with which it is engaged; and commends the report to the provinces for reflection and action.

The Virginia Report

This Council, noting that the Virginia Report was introduced to ACC-10 (Panama 1996) and that Lambeth 1998 welcomed the report and requested the Primates "to monitor a decade of study in each province on the report,"

  1. Requests the Primates to ensure that opportunity is given at provincial and diocesan level for careful and critical study of the report.
  2. Asks that a summary of the report in simple language be made available by the Anglican Communion Office in order to assist further study.
  3. Recommends that the Virginia Report be studied by others such as those working in theological seminaries.
  4. Suggests that seminars be organised as soon as possible to train leaders in the provinces to facilitate the study of the Virginia Report at the local level.

Debate

The sessions dealing with the resolutions sparked active discussion and, at times, discord on some of the issues. The Revd Canon Michael Burrows, a Church of Ireland delegate, praised, in particular, the report of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network. He said, however, he was distressed that there was "unhelpful confusion" on some the report's proposals. A motion on homosexuals, part of this report, was withdrawn by the proposer, the Revd Sam Koshiishi of Japan, speaking for the network. Bishop Michael Ingham, Anglican Church of Canada, protested the failure of the ACC to address this issue and called their hesitance a "shameful failure of nerve" and expressed dismay at what he called "the pressure to withdraw the motion" put upon Fr Koshiishi.

The entire report was received by the ACC. The network states, in a reference to homosexuality, "the network agreed to continue to consider the justice dimensions of the debate over homosexuality, in the hope of contributing to the dialogue called for in the Lambeth resolution".

A proposal for network status for NAME, a mission and evangelism group, will be raised at ACC-12. A resolution asked that certain requirements were needed for such a designation to be made. The Revd Robert Sessum, Executive Council member from the Episcopal Church USA spoke of "serious concerns" about the group. The Very Revd John Moses, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, London, England, raised the issue of whether or not recognising NAME would actually be setting up "a parallel structure" in relation to work already done by the ACC.

Elections were held for two vacancies on the Standing Committee. Professor George Koshy of the Church of South India and the Most Revd Peter Akinola, of Abuja Diocese Nigeria were elected to fill these posts. Ms Wong Fung Yi of Hong Kong was elected to serve on the Inter Anglican Finance Committee. The ACC also voted to offer the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church a co-opted place for one of its members, to open wider representations for Anglicans in Europe.

Grateful Thanks

In the final session grateful thanks were offered to the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Richard Holloway, and his staff and volunteers for all that they had done to make their international visitors feel welcome. The Archbishop of Canterbury called the meeting "successful and peaceful". Chief organiser from the host church, Ms Pat McBryde, spoke with warmth and affection about the ACC members. She said that it was certain that friendships and bonds made during the last two weeks "will not readily be dissolved". Using a typical Scottish phrase, she ended her words with "Haste Ye Back".

New ACC member, the Revd Robert Thompson, of the West Indies, had the final word as he expressed his gratitude for the deep experience of community he had experienced during this meeting. He said, speaking of his new sense of the reality of the Anglican Communion, "I cannot wait to share what I have learned and experienced here with my province."

The ACC gratefully accepted the invitation of Archbishop Peter Kwong to hold their next meeting in Hong Kong.

A Scottish Ceilidh, hosted by the Diocese of Brechin, was the final event of the two week meeting. Some ACC members will visit Iona, the great Celtic pilgrimage site before returning to their respective countries.

Photos are available from the PhotoFile section of our website athttp://www.anglicancommunion.org/

NB: There are various official networks of the ACC, with the number of them increasing over the years. The current networks include: Women, Youth, Peace and Justice, Indigenous Peoples, Refugee and Migrants, Family and a consultation on liturgy

A complete listing of the Resolutions of ACC-11 will be available on our website next week.