Despite a controversial January vote by Anglican Communion leaders in favor of disciplining the Episcopal Church for accepting same-sex marriage, that vote has not resulted in the Episcopal Church being excluded from international meetings of the 85-million-member Communion.
The Rt Revd James Tengatenga, ACC [Anglican Consultative Council] chairman, affirmed the “right and responsibility” of Episcopal Church delegates to vote at the next ACC meeting. This directly contradicts the Primates’ request that TEC [The Episcopal Church] not represent the Anglican Communion in global issues. The request was made in January at an unofficial gathering, but it was worded in a way that caused confusion and made many think that TEC was officially barred.
The ACC is the most representative of the four instruments of Communion in the Anglican Communion, and the only body with a constitution and bylaws; the stated goal of the group is to facilitate the co-operative work of the churches of the Communion. TEC leaders and others noted that the Primates did not have any official authority or capacity to deny TEC from fulfilling their official role in the ACC.
Madeleine Davis, writing for Church Times, notes that all three Episcopal Church delegates have confirmed their full attendance at the upcoming meeting in Lusaka, capital of Zambia.
From the article:
The Primates had “spiritual and pastoral significance, and not constitutional authority”, the Bishop of Connecticut, Dr Ian Douglas, said this week. Both the President of the House of Deputies, the Revd Gay Clark Jennings, and the lay representative, Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine, also confirmed their intention to participate fully.
The Rt Revd Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of Uganda, has announced that he will not attend the meeting following the news, which he described as a ‘betrayal’.
The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga is a Malawi native who currently teaches at the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., USA.
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