Skip over navigation
Source: AAC Weekly Email Update
The following is from the July 16, 2010 edition of the AAC's weekly email update. Sign up for weekly update here.
By The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey, J.D.
Chief Operating and Development Officer, American Anglican Council
To walk in darkness or to walk in the light: whither the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion?
"But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sin." I John 1:7
Dear Friends in Christ,
The American Anglican Council has posted a report by the Rev. George Conger from this week's Church of England Newspaper. The article is entitled "Rules out at ACC." It concerns the recent resignations from and appointments to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. Specifically, the report focuses on the replacement of a resigned lay member from South Africa with a clerical member, the Rev. Canon Janet Trisk (also from South Africa), as well as the continued seating of Ian Douglas from The Episcopal Church (TEC), who is no longer a clerical member but is now a bishop.
The constitution and bylaws of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) govern the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC (JSC), which has now morphed into the "Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion," with substantial powers under Section 4 of the proposed Anglican Covenant to determine membership within the Anglican Communion under the terms of the Covenant. The very legitimacy of the "Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion" (SCAC) has been called into question, most notably by the Anglican Communion Institute and also Professor Stephen Noll, regarding the manner in which it has evolved from the JSC without constitutional warrant. Be that as it may, both the appointment of Canon Janet Trisk and the continued seating of Bishop Ian Douglas from TEC are in clear violation of Bylaw 7 which states that "the Standing Committee itself shall have power to appoint a member of the council of the same order as the representative who filled the vacant place." Canon Trisk, a priest and lawyer, is taking the place of Ms. Nomfundo Walaza of South Africa, a member of the lay order. Bishop Douglas was elected at ACC-14 to serve as a member in the clerical order. As a bishop, he is now in a different order and therefore ineligible to continue to serve as such. His continued seating without question also violates Bylaw 7.
When asked about these actions, spokesman Jan Butter of the Anglican Communion Office offered an astonishing and revealing concession: asked how the appointment could be made in light of the prohibition contained in the constitution, Mr. Butter told CEN the ACC was in the process of adopting new articles of incorporation as it moves from being an "unincorporated charity to becoming a limited company."
"The appointment of Canon Trisk was made under the terms of the company's articles which are currently being registered with the Charity Commission. These articles emphasise the need to achieve balance not only between orders, but also between gender and region," he said, adding the Standing Committee "in December came to the view that balance could best be achieved by appointing Canon Trisk."
When asked by the American Anglican Council for the minutes of this December meeting, Anglican Communion Office officials told us that they were not yet available as they needed to be approved at next week's meeting. For now, we are left to guess why Janet Trisk, a white priest and lawyer, was chosen to replace a black laywoman on the SCAC if their intent was to promote diversity. Are we to understand that there was really no other qualified lay representative from Africa who could replace Ms.Walaza? And was there not even another qualified clergy representative from Africa who could take her place until such a lay representative could be found? (See the ACC roster here) Is it merely a coincidence that Janet Trisk played a major role at ACC-14 in delaying and bottling up Section 4 of the Anglican Covenant, as documented on video by Anglican TV and live-blogged on Stand Firm in Faith by AAC Communications Officer Robert Lundy, and that her participation on the SCAC will almost certainly further the agenda of those who would weaken an already-weakened Anglican Covenant?
And what about those new "proposed bylaws" of the SCAC - can we have a look at them? Again, in the words of Mr. Butter from the Anglican Communion Office (ACO):
Asked if copies of the proposed new bylaws were available for review, the ACO responded that "discussions about the Articles are still ongoing between the legal advisor and the Charity Commission, so they are not yet available."
Is it any wonder that the majority of the Anglicans in the Global South, and the GAFCON Primates, have concluded that the ACC, the SCAC and its unpublished bylaws are simply a
What evidence do we have that the Anglican Communion Office and the powers orchestrating the ersatz Standing Committee are walking in darkness?
1. They are operating ultra vires under proposed new bylaws that have not even been approved or officially enacted under the UK Charities laws.
2. By the statement of the ACO, those proposed new bylaws are not available for review.
3. At ACC-14, delegates from each Province were asked to approve the ACC changing from an unincorporated charity to a limited company under the UK Charities laws. Because I observed the proceedings, I can attest that participants inquired about the effect of these changes, and were assured that they would have no substantial impact on the governance of the then-Joint Standing Committee. This is obviously not the case.
4. The much publicized resignation of Archbishop Mouneer Anis from the SCAC and his reasons which, in his words, were that the SCAC: has "no desire ...to follow through on the recommendations that have been taken by other Instruments of Communion..." "provides no effective challenge to the ongoing revisions of TEC..." "has continually questioned the authority of the other Instrument of Communion..."
5. The less publicized but equally telling non-participation of Archbishop Orombi for the same reasons, and his subsequent resignation.
6. The resignations of Archbishop Justice Akrofi and Bishop Azad Marshall. Azad Marshall said that he had "no confidence that [his] presence will make any difference" at ACC meetings.
The Bible says that darkness was one of the plagues of Egypt that kept people from seeing each other and required them to stay in place, while God's people enjoyed light (Ex. 10:23) It is darkness that causes us to go astray: "The one who walks in the dark does not know where he is going." (John 12:35 cf. I John 2:11) It is darkness that causes us to stumble (Isa. 59:10). And it is in the darkness that the wicked perpetuate and perfect their designs (Job 24:16)
Thankfully, the Archbishop of Canterbury's spokesperson stated that the Anglican Communion Office does not have the last word. But what must Dr.
It is time to walk in the light as Jesus Christ is in the light, that we may have genuine fellowship within an Anglican Communion that is committed to fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Pray that we may walk in the light, and that the leadership of the Anglican Communion may also do so, undeterred and unhindered by false gospels.
Yours in Christ,