2014 Standing Committee 2 Bulletin – Day 1
Welcome and general business
The Standing Committee’s annual meeting, originally scheduled for April 2015, was moved forward to this weekend because of the need for members to consider the question of a successor to the current Secretary General.
The short notice of the meeting meant that neither all Committee members, nor all the requisite alternates were able to attend. Attendance on Day 1 included:
- The Rt Revd James Tengatenga (Chair)
- Canon Elizabeth Paver (Vice Chair)
- The Most Revd David Chillingworth
- The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori
- The Rt Revd Eraste Bigirimana
- Mrs Helen Biggin
- Mr Samuel N Mukunya
- Ms Louisa Mojela
The following members will be in attendance on subsequent days:
- The Most Revd Justin Welby (President)
- The Rt Revd Ian Douglas
- The Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi (Alternate for The Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak)
The introductory remarks made it clear that a large part of this meeting would be given over to discussing the role and qualities of the future Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. As with all HR discussions, this would be done in a closed session. Vice Chair Elizabeth Paver explained that she and Bishop James Tengatenga had already had preliminary conversations with the Archbishop of Canterbury about the appointment process.
The morning’s business included the members voting unanimously to co-opt Bishop Sarah Macneil to the committee in her new role as the Anglican Church of Australia’s ACC bishop representative. Previously she had been elected to the Standing Committee as a priest member.
The committee also resolved to welcome the St Augustine Foundation’s decision to fund two positions for the Department of Theological Education at the Anglican Communion Office—dependent on the concurrence of the next Secretary General.
Members then resolved to add the new names of two existing Member Churches—the Episcopal Church of South Sudan & Sudan and the Anglican Church of South America—to the membership schedule of the Anglican Consultative Council. The Committee also noted the decision by the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & the Middle East to bestow the title of Archbishop on its Primate, and also on the bishop in Jerusalem.
Secretary General’s report
Canon Kenneth Kearon gave his last Secretary General’s report to the committee. He said he had spent much time on ecumenical matters including acting as the joint Chair of three series of Informal Talks with the Roman Catholic Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and with the Lutheran World Federation. These Informal Talks in each case take place annually. Canon Kearon had met in Istanbul with senior people in the Orthodox Church and was interested to hear their perspectives on what was happening in the Middle East. The Anglican – Roman Catholic Informal Talks brought together the co-chairs of the Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and the International Anglican – Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM). Relationships were very positive.
Canon Kearon had also attended celebrations for the 125th anniversary of the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht. The Communion enjoys a close, full communion relationship with the Old Catholics who have a presence in Europe. The Old Catholics, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe and the Church of England Diocese in Europe all license each other’s bishops.
Earlier in November, Canon Kearon attended the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions in Amersfoort in the Netherlands. Such Conferences provide a space for a broad range of Christian traditions, including Pentecostal Churches, to meet and have conversations.
Following his address the Committee resolved to record their gratitude for the Secretary General’s work and ministry over the past decade.
The Committee also heard that, following the closure of the Anglican Communion’s Youth Network, the question of how the Anglican Communion approaches the question of youth ministry will be brought to ACC-16 by the members of Anglican Witness: the Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative
The afternoon saw a presentation from the ACO’s Mission Cluster—comprising the Anglican Alliance, the Mission Department, the Department for Women in Church & Society, Continuing Indaba/Living Reconciliation and the Anglican Communion representation at the UN in Geneva.
The Revd John Kafwanka gave an overview of his work on the three priorities of his department: 1) Intentional discipleship within the life of the Communion; 2) Youth and Children’s Ministry, 3) Migrant and Diaspora Christians – particularly researching the Anglican experience of engaging with and living out one’s faith as a migrant/diaspora.
The Anglican Alliance
The Revd Rachel Carnegie presented on the work of the Anglican Alliance. The Alliance’s themes that had grown out of regional priorities included: Youth and women empowerment – including economic empowerment and addressing gender-based violence, b) Trafficking/slavery, migration, refugees – with peace and reconciliation; 3) Climate change – including food security.
She explained how the Alliance is collaborating with Anglican provinces and also a range of Anglican agencies and non-Anglican agencies on key relief projects including the situation in South Sudan, Ebola in West Africa, and supporting people with disabilities in refugee contexts.
Development initiatives included working with partners to end trafficking and modern slavery, and conflict prevention across the countries of the Anglican Communion. The Alliance has also been working to build capacity of partners worldwide. The advocacy strand of the Alliance’s work includes key themes of ending gender-based violence and tackling the effects of climate justice.
Mrs Carnegie shared the Alliance’s key principles including promoting self-reliance and inter-dependence and mutuality.
Women in Church and Society
The Revd Terrie Robinson gave a presentation on her time thus far in the new role of Director for Women in Church & Society. The role includes:
- promoting and enabling inclusion
- promoting gender justice
- participating in wider conversations on issues of gender justice
- relating to relevant Networks
Over the past few months, Mrs Robinson has hosted the International Anglican Women’s Network’s (IAWN) regional consultation for Great Britain & Ireland, Jerusalem and the Middle East. She also produced a video featuring Anglican men speaking out against violence against women and girls [link here] as a resource for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. She has also continued her work with the We Will Speak Out Coalition. Mrs Robinson participated in IAWN Canada’s conference on ending trafficking. She is also raising funds for an IAWN South Asia consultation scheduled in September next year. Her future plans include gathering a ‘toolkit for transformation’ from around the Communion to support Anglicans in seeking just relationship between women and men.
The representation of the Anglican Communion at the UN
The Revd Canon Flora Winfield, Anglican Communion Representative to the United Nations institutions in Geneva, said now was the time for the Anglican Communion to be building stronger relationships with UN people and structures. She added that Anglicans were carrying out what is often a traditional role of bridge building; in this case between faith communities and the UN in Geneva. Her role comprises:
- Building relationships with key institutions with whom the Anglican Communion has relationships/history;
- Making contact with others where there is potential to work together;
- Working in collaboration with colleagues in the Anglican Alliance, the ACO, the UN office and The Episcopal Church’s UN office in New York.
She explained that her two main priorities are the issue of birth registration and the Welcoming the Stranger initiative [link] and. Her office is producing a study guide to Welcoming the Stranger reflecting on the questions of belonging, alienation and hospitality for Anglicans/Episcopalians around the world to use from 2015.
Both priorities have strong links to the UN priority issue of Statelessness, and Canon Winfield’s presence at the UN is cementing a growing understanding at the UN that faith communities can help it fulfil its mission. She added that a particular gift of the Christian Church is the way it recognises the unique worth of each person who makes up such overwhelming statistics as 51 million refugees: “Each individual is wonderfully fashioned in the image of God,” she said.
Canon Winfield will also be partnering with the Mission to Seafarers agency at the next UN meeting on the issue of protection at sea.
The Revd Dr Phil Groves said the Living Reconciliation book has been a surprise hit. He told the Standing Committee that much of the work done as part of the Continuing Indaba project has informed the book. The book’s aim is to enliven people to be local missionary of reconciliation in their own context. Dr Groves said his next challenge was to work out how to get the book into the hands of people in the parishes. To this end, there is now a website [here] and a study guide online which is free to download; not a study of the book, but a study of the scriptures underpinning the message of the book.
He stressed that the book and the study materials need to be relevant in a range of contexts. To help share the initiative as widely as possible he plans to hold a consultation in East Asia and perhaps East Africa in 2015.