Saturday, April 16, 2005

The AAC's Response to Executive Council's Letter

[American Anglican Council] April 14, 2005--A Statement from the American Anglican Council on the Executive Council Letter to the Anglican Consultative Council

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) met yesterday and has announced they will refrain from "official participation" in the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting scheduled for June 2005 in Nottingham, England. In their letter to the ACC Chair, however, the Executive Council writes they will still send their delegation. We find it very disturbing that the Episcopal Church leadership met in seclusion, continuing a pattern of secrecy. In addition, we note that they seem incapable of acquiescing fully to the requests and clear expectations of the Primates as expressed in their 2005 Communique. As with the House of Bishops’ March 2005 Covenant Statement, the Executive Council has professed compliance to the Primates while dictating their own terms:

"In the spirit of the Covenant Statement recently adopted by our House of Bishops, we voluntarily withdraw our members from official participation in the ACC as it meets in Nottingham. As an expression of our desire "to bear one another's burdens"(Galatians 6:2), we are asking our members to be present at the meeting to listen to reports on the life and ministry we share across the Communion and to be available for conversation and consultation." [Episcopal News Service—Executive Council Letter to Anglican Consultative Council]

The Executive Council’s letter to the Anglican Consultative Council is manipulative and deceptive. The Primates were clear and direct in their call to the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada:

"…we request that the Episcopal Church (USA) and the AnglicanChurch of Canada voluntarily withdraw their members from the Anglican Consultative Council for the period leading up to the next Lambeth Conference. During that same period we request that both churches respond through their relevant constitutional bodies to the questions specifically addressed to them in the Windsor Report as they consider their place within the AnglicanCommunion." (cf. paragraph 8)

While the language of the Communique is gracious and diplomatic, the intent is crystal clear—the American and Canadian Churches have been told to stand down from the Anglican Consultative Council. In addition, they have been presented with a clear choice to permanently walk together or walk apart. The parameters for "walking together" are also definitive: the Episcopal Church must repent of its heretical actions and embrace once more in word and in practice the faith and order of Anglicanism. We cannot accept that the Executive Council does not understand what the Primates have requested, and therefore we must assume that this is a deliberate plan to circumvent and ignore the full intent of the Communique.

The Executive Council is setting up an opportunity to lobby and influence the ACC meeting. Given the fact that ECUSA is insisting on such a presence, it seems a matter of justice and fair play that those who are excluded from ECUSA and isolated because they stand against revisionism should also be present and "available for conversation and consultation". We call upon the Anglican Consultative Council to deny the Executive Council’s request; however, if the ECUSA delegation attends, we believe it is critical to include voices that offer a very different perspective, one that is consistent with Scripture and the accepted faith and order of the Anglican Communion.

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