The final day of the Standing Committee (Tuesday) began with a presentation on the Anglican Alliance – Development, Relief and Advocacy’s new status as a charitable company. The committee was told that primate of the Church of the Province of Central Africa Archbishop Albert Chama is to be the Chair of Trustees of the company. The list of trustees was unanimously approved by the committee.
Director for Unity, Faith and Order Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan then delivered a short report on the work of her department since November 2012. She said that, following a submission by the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO) to the Anglican Consultative Council on the Instruments of Communion, “what we’ve heard from the ACC itself is that it was a fine piece of background, but not creative enough. Now we need to provoke IASCUFO to think more creatively about how the Communion can discern the work of the Spirit”.
A paper submitted to the Standing Committee by Dr Barnett-Cowan included a paragraph that read: “The Instruments all developed in particular contents in response to issues before the churches of the Anglican Communion. Their structures and ways of working reflected contemporary patterns of ways in which people meet and try to come to a common mind. What are the best models, now, of how Christians discern the leading of the Spirit? How might the Anglican Communion best incorporate these ways of working?”
Dr Barnett-Cowan said this would be a significant part of what IASCUFO would be considering at its next meeting with a likely outcome being a discussion paper for the Anglican Communion. She also reported on the appointments to international ecumenical bodies.
The committee was asked to elect a person in episcopal orders to serve with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London in the appointment of the diocesan bishop of the Church of England Diocese in Europe. After voting the committee appointed an Archbishop from Nigeria. The name will be made available once that person has been informed.
Stephen Lyon presented to the committee on the next phase on The Bible in the Life of the Churchproject. He asked what the legacy of the project would be: “Are we hoping that the legacy of what we’ve done goes deeper than just a report on people’s shelves?”
He believed that, for the project to really make an impact it needed to be embedded in the life of the Communion. He highlighted two major challenges for this project and others facilitated from the Anglican Communion Office:
- Visibility – how do Anglicans everywhere hear and understand about key Communion projects?
- Viability – how do we guarantee resources for such key projects?
Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Kenneth Kearon echoed Mr Lyon’s points by explaining that the work of the Anglican Communion Office in particular has continued despite a quarter of a million pounds drop in budget.
The final agenda item of the meeting was presented by Sally Keeble and the Revd Terrie Robinson. They reflected on how the Anglican Communion can and should respond to Resolution 15.37 endorsed by the Anglican Consultative Committee in November. Mrs Robinson said there are indeed concrete things going on around the Communion to address this Resolution, but suggested that provinces were not adequately sharing the stories of what they were doing for the benefit of other parts of the Communion.
Professor Joanildo Burity suggested another way to address the challenges raised by the Resolution might be for the Communion to consider speaking out together to support initiatives or calls from one part of it. Canon Kenneth Kearon agreed saying there were initiatives—e.g. ending gender-based violence, gun control—around which the Anglican Communion could ask itself “How do we identify with that and support it?”
Bishop Samuel Azariah said joint statements from the Anglican Communion were very helpful, but appealed for greater assistance from Churches of the Anglican Communion to get access to governments around the world to talk about issues affecting Christians on the ground. Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak agreed that Anglican Communion support was vital for the Church’s work addressing conflict in the countries of Sudan and South Sudan.