The decision to exclude the Anglican Church of Canada from two Anglican Consultative Council committees on which it does not sit is regrettable in principle but will have no practical effect, says Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Canadian church.
“We do regret the decision, although we note that it was adopted by an extremely narrow margin,” Archbishop Hutchison said. “Had our members and our American colleagues been allowed their vote, it would have failed. We regret that the Anglican Consultative Council made such a decision in a forum in which we are not being allowed to participate and in which we have no voice. There is, after all, a pretty fundamental democratic principle that says that when decisions are made that affect you, you are allowed to speak to them.”
Archbishop Hutchison added: “Our hope is that the discussions and debates of the past few days will provide the impetus for the discussion about homosexuality and the role of gays and lesbians in the church to begin in those parts of the Anglican Communion where they have not yet begun.”
The Consultative Council approved a motion affirming a request made by the Primates of the Communion last February that the Canadian and U.S. churches “voluntarily withdraw” their members from the meeting now underway.
The affirming motion stipulated, however, that the Primates’ request that the Canadian and U.S. churches withdraw from the ACC should be interpreted as including participation on the standing committee, which meets between the triennial sessions of the full council, and the inter-Anglican finance and administration committee.
Neither Canada nor the United States have members on those two committees and since their members at this meeting are not participants, they are not eligible for election.
Earlier in the meeting, in response to another request made by the Primates, representatives of the Canadian church made a presentation explaining where it is on the controversial issue of blessing same-sex unions. The U.S. church made a similar presentation explaining how it came to consecrate an openly gay man as bishop.
Archbishop Hutchison, who is scheduled to return to Canada today, said he would be making a full report to the Canadian Church in a statement that will be issued early next week.
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