[Anglican Communion News Service]
Standing Committee Day 1
[The members of the Standing Committee can be seen at http://bit.ly/1fRoMNT]
All but one member of the Standing Committee were able to attend this year’s meeting. Only Bishop James Tengatenga was unable to travel to London because of visa issues.
Much of the first day was taken up with business matters. The Anglican Consultative Council’s (ACC) legal advisor Canon John Rees began with a brief orientation for the Standing Committee members. The committee then moved on to discussions about membership. With the elevation of Sarah Macneil (Australia) to Bishop the committee needs to appoint a replacement.
Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi (Burundi) was re-elected as the member of the Crown Nominations Commission and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba (Southern Africa) was re-elected as the alternate. Archbishop Emmanuel Egbunu (a diocesan bishop in Nigeria) was also re-elected the Anglican Communion’s ‘constant member’ of the group that appoints the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe.
Highlights from the Secretary General’s annual report included informal talks with the Vatican, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Lutheran World Federation; the WCC General Assembly in Busan, Korea; and visits to Anglican Communion Churches in West Africa, Brazil, the USA and Zambia.
Copies of Transforming Communities, the report of ACC-15, were circulated to members and will be sent to ACC members, Primates and Provincial Secretaries. The report can be bought online at http://shop.anglicancommunion.org/.
In response to a paper on Muslim-Christian relations submitted for consideration, the committee began an informal conversation about the issue. The paper will be considered in more detail later in the meeting.
Canon Dr Phil Groves, Director for Continuing Indaba, presented an update on the project.
He said that Archbishop Welby’s focus on reconciliation had added fresh impetus to the initiative adding, “I think we have an interesting future ahead”. He said the vision of the Communion as a “place of reconciled reconcilers” remained and told the committee that a guide to implementing the principles of Indaba, as well as a new website www.continuingindaba.com had been produced in 2013/4. A further publication, Living Reconciliation, will be published in September this year, gathering together theological resources from the project’s pilot programme and reflecting on reconciliation.
Canon Groves said that principles of Indaba were being taking up in a many parts of the Communion including Kenya, the USA, and England. He said, “The Indaba journey is growing and developing, we’re providing process resources, and theological resources, and we’re getting them out into the hands of Anglicans who are changing their world.”
Archbishop Daniel Deng (Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan) noted the need for internal reconciliation and highlighted a need for a conversation with the GAFCON* group. Canon Groves thanked the Primate for his comments and noted that several theological advisors to the GAFCON group had contributed material to the Living Reconciliation book.
The Revd Rachel Carnegie and the Revd Andy Bowerman then presented the Anglican Alliance company trustees’ audited annual report. The committee received the report and also approved the appointment to the Board of Trustees of Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation, to succeed Mr Chris Smith as the Archbishop’s representative.
Mr Michael Hart, consultant to the Finance & Administration Committee and its vice chair, then presented its report. The Committee’s report included reference and administrative details of the Charity; its trustees and advisors; a list of Officers of the ACC; the annual report of the Trustees; the Independent Auditor’s report to the Trustees; a statement of financial activities to 31 December 2013; a balance sheet and notes to the financial statements; and a schedule of contributions to the Inter Anglican Budget.
The budget was described by Helen Biggin (Wales) as “tight and well managed”, but she noted that there needed to be more thinking given to future funding, particularly for those projects reliant on grants.
The day ended with a presentation by Director for Communications Jan Butter who presented the committee with five Church communications wins, five challenges and five ‘big ideas’ to make the committee to think big about how the Anglican Communion could look to the future.
The wins included more Churches getting to grips with digital media; thinking about ministry and witness in digital spaces; sharing more best practice online; speaking for themselves rather than relying on the media; and reaching a younger generation through social media and digital technology. However, he said that, when it came to the Anglican Communion having basic communications tools in place, too little had improved: strategic communication was still not in many Provinces’ DNA; neither clergy nor laity receive formal training on how to live as a Christian online; and there are still too few Member Churches/extra-Provincials with qualified, senior communicators in place.
He also said that, as a Communion of 85 million people, we were not leveraging our collective voice, power and resources – particularly through digital channels. He pointed to Kickstarter and Change.org as two sites that should be models for the way the Anglican Communion uses its collective power for good.
His ‘big ideas’ included a Kickstarter Sunday to raise money for projects around the Communion; setting up a global network of volunteers to translate Communion documents, news and information into a range of languages; and having the Anglican Communion lead a global forum on the future of being and doing Church in a digital age.
*The Global Anglican Future Conference