Members of the Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee have adopted changes to the membership schedule to increase representative from smaller provinces. The triennial Anglican Consultative Council is one of the four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion and the only one of the four which includes laity amongst its membership. Currently, larger provinces are entitled to three members, medium-sized provinces are entitled to two members; and smaller provinces are entitled to one member. The medium and smaller category will be combined with both entitled to two members: one ordained and one lay.
The constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) says that larger Provinces should nominate one bishop, one priest or deacon, and one lay person. Medium-sized Provinces should send one ordained person and one lay person. The new combined category will retain this requirement that one person should be lay and the other ordained.
The Standing Committee also proposed a new category of member: two youth members for each of the five Anglican regions; one male and one female. This change requires the consent of the ACC itself and it was proposed to address that at an early stage of next April’s ACC-17 meeting in Hong Kong, so that the young people attending as observers could instead participate as full members.
The changes will take the maximum membership of the ACC to 111 people. The meeting will also be attended by up to 80 other people, including ecumenical representatives, staff and members of networks and commissions.
The Standing Committee agreed that the meeting should develop the theme of Intentional Discipleship that ran through the ACC-16 meeting in the Zambian capital Lusaka in April 2016. That meeting called for the creation of a Season of Intentional Discipleship throughout the Anglican Communion.
“We do not wish to diminish the focus on Intentional Discipleship, or divert attention away from it,” a planning update to the Standing Committee said, adding that “we want the ACC-17 theme to be compatible with that for the Lambeth Conference 2020 (God’s Church for God’s World: walking, listening and witnessing together) without pre-empting or upstaging it.”
The Standing Committee confirmed that the ACC-17 meeting would run under the theme “Equipping God’s people: going deeper in Intentional Discipleship”.
The Anglican Consultative Council is one of four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion, alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primates’ Meeting, and the Lambeth Conference. It exists to “facilitate the co-operative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion, exchange information between the provinces and churches, and help to co-ordinate common action.”