In a close vote (33 for, 28 against) on the make-up of the Anglican Consultative Council, members decided not to make any changes to present arrangements. Although the resolution identified budget limitations as the primary rationale, the decision implicitly repudiated Lambeth efforts to increase primatial presence on the Council.
The call to examine the nature of Council membership originated in two different gatherings. At the last meeting of the ACC in Panama, 1996, the Council referred to the Standing Committee of the ACC and the Primates their desire to increase the size of the Standing Committee. They further asked for an examination of the possibility of youth members of the ACC as well as equal representation of all provinces on the Council. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, the bishops asked the ACC to be made up of every primate as well as one presbyter and person from each province.
A report on these proposals was made by members of the Standing Committee, Mrs Maureen Sithole of Southern Africa and Mr Ghazi Musharbash of Jerusalem and the Middle East, to the Council in its first business session on Friday afternoon, 17 September. The report included significant data, with respect to gender and ordination status, comparing current makeup of the ACC and options drafted by the Standing Committee and Lambeth. After much discussion, the vote taken affirmed the resolution offered in the report to do nothing at this time thus turning back the Lambeth resolution.
In other business before the Council, members agreed to minor changes in the constitution and by-laws of the ACC to: provide for a closer connection between ACC membership and decision making bodies in the churches represented, correct inconsistencies on the Standing Committee and Inter-Anglican Finance Committee, and address liability concerns for the Council. In an earlier session, the ACC agreed to change procedural guidelines to increase participation and discussion in the gathering.