By ACNS staff
On the last morning of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland, New Zealand the members considered a final set of resolutions, many of which reflected on work and conversations that had occurred earlier in the meeting.
Among the resolutions that were passed were a revision to the Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion to include references to peace conflict transformation and reconciliation. This had been requested by the last ACC meeting.
The Council unanimously agreed to adjust the wording of the current fourth Mark of Mission to read:
To seek to transform unjust structures of society to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.
Among the other resolutions passed was a call for an increase of lay participation in the commission, councils and other bodies of the Anglican Communion and the hope that a Director of Theological Education be appointed to the staff of the Communion Office.
Two final resolutions gathered a great deal of support and unanimous agreement.
The first was moved by Harriet Baka Nathan of the Episcopal Church of Sudan entitled “practical strategies for implementing the Marks of Mission”. It called on the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion to identify practical strategies to support the provinces of the Communion in the areas of land disputes; the trade, diffusion and misuse of small arms; border disputes; narcotics and alcohol abuse; youth unemployment and crime; and the trafficking, abuse and abduction of children and women.
The last resolution came out of the conversations that took place yesterday concerning a better understanding the Continuing Indaba process.
A motion was brought by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Southern Africa in which he noted the adoption of the resolution of ACC 15-21 on Continuing Indaba and “Understands Indaba to be a process of honest conversation that seeks to build community energize mission and provide a context in which conflict can be resolved”.
All of the delegates who spoke to this resolution expressed appreciation for the helpful addition to the original resolution.
The final hour was spent in reflecting on the ACC meeting and offering thoughts and hopes for the future.
Two ecumenical guests, Rev Father Paul Patitsas and the Rev Prof Robert Griben (of the six ecumenical partners that were present), spoke of their experience at being at ACC-15. Father Paul highlighted that they had attended as partners and not guests and had been encouraged to comment on issues and felt “embraced in love”. He expressed the hope that all might continue to “work at being one” and offered a personal appreciation of the ministry of the Archbishop Rowan Williams as an Instrument of Communion. He also spoke on behalf of His All-Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who noted the concern expressed about the environment and also offered hope and prayers for Archbishop Rowan and for the selection of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Rev Prof Robert Gribben also spoke, sharing some thoughts from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity which commented on our Covenant process and our Ecumenical agreements. He finished his reflection with the words, “We need you my brothers and sisters to be united so that you may be part of a strong ecumenical world, and you need us also.”
The ACC members were asked, “What is the headline you are taking home?” The laity shared their answers first. Garth Blake of Australia spoke of the great variety and energy at this meeting with so many aspects of mission. Lisbeth Barahona of Central America saw the work on justice and the elimination of violence as a key component. The youth member Sarah Tomlinson spoke of the “rebranding” of the Communion--that it was now deeply grounded in hope and justice. Suzanne Lawson of Canada the Anglican Communion “actually works and we are together.”
The clergy spoke of the diversity within the New Zealand church and how the Continuing Indaba process can be used in so many aspects of circumstances. Moses Chin observed to great laughter that, “It takes us a long time to agree on anything.”
The episcopal member from Nigeria Archbishop Nwosu talked about the future and “on the importance of maintaining the ACC”, while Bp Humphrey Peters of Pakistan called the meeting a “big love.” The Primus of The Scottish Episcopal Church, Bp David Chillingworth reflected that the ACC is “about the relationships, always about the relationships.”
A closing resolution was moved thanking Archbishop Rowan Williams for his faithfulness and ministry, his leadership of the Anglican Consultative Council and wishing him, his wife Dr Jane Williams and their children Rhiannon and Pip God’s blessing and peace. He was accorded a very long standing ovation from all.
The meeting closed with the singing of the doxology and the announcement that ACC-16 will take place in Lusaka, Zambia in May or June of 2016.
[Note: read the final resolutions as they are posted online here: http://www.aco.org/communion/acc/meetings/acc15/resolutions.cfm ]