Episcopal Church's "Unofficial" Delegation Defies Primates' Instructions
NOTTINGHAM: American Anglican Council Statement Blasts ECUSA Action
19th June 2005
The Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA), in complete defiance of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, has sent their delegates to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting currently underway in Nottingham, England.
In their 2005 Communique issued from Dromantine, the Primates called on the American delegation to withdraw voluntarily from the ACC. Subsequently, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church announced that the delegation - the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, the Rev. Robert Sessum and Ms. Josephine Hicks - would not attend in an "official" capacity but would be present as "observers."
It is important to note that this is contrary to the Primates' expressed expectation and was not sanctioned by the Council as a whole.
A number of ACC members have expressed discomfort at the presence of ECUSA "observers" who have been present for all sessions, meals, social gatherings and even rode on the van transporting the ACC to Sunday's worship service.
Despite his so-called withdrawal, ECUSA's ACC delegate Robert Sessum has participated in Finance Committee meetings and has been observed engaging in several private conversations with ACC staff and leadership. Both Ms. Hicks and Bishop Roskam are obviously "working the room" during breaks and social gatherings.
One ACC member expressed strong frustration saying that the Americans "have displayed arrogance in assuming that their status within the Council is undiminished."
"They were included in the welcome and the official roll call. It was as if Dromantine simply hadn't happened, and I find it very difficult to imagine frank discussions about their presence or even the actions of their provinces while they are in the room."
Another ACC member was outraged by the unlimited access enjoyed by the US and said the delegation had been "party to the entire program in contradiction to the Dromantine Communique."
"The Primates requested that US representatives withdraw and attend only when they make their case at the appropriate time. Their presence in the sessions is totally confusing to other ACC delegates from around the world. Can no one stop the ECUSA juggernaut?"
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the ACC, and ACC Chairman Bishop John Paterson appear unwilling to enforce the Primates' expectations, and John Rees, legal adviser to the ACC pointedly emphasized the "broad powers of the chair".
A member displeased with the situation pointed to Kearon's apparent support of ECUSA's position.
"He made this happen - allowing them to be present is his decision." The Episcopal Church is sending a second force that will make a 90-minute presentation on Tuesday, June 21, 2005.
Although the Anglican Primates called for ECUSA to explain their actions, early reports indicate that Episcopal presenters will focus primarily on the experience of homosexuals with a primary goal of persuading the ACC that God is doing a new thing in North America.
So far lobbying efforts of the US and Canada are already well underway, paving the way for Tuesday's presentations. The integrity of the ACC meeting could well be in jeopardy.
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