|Josephine Hicks, Bishop Ian Douglas, and the Rev. Gay Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, during the Anglican Consultative Council’s meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, in October 2012. • Mary Frances Schjonberg/ENS|
The House of Deputies Newsletter reports in “Primates Meet, Confusion Ensues” that the Episcopal Church’s members of the Anglican Consultative Council expect to vote when the council meets in April.
In the communiqué they issued on Jan. 15, the primates wrote that, “while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, [Episcopalians] will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”
The deputies’ newsletter reports on those who question whether the primates have any authority to make that decision:
Experts across the communion, including Norman Doe, director of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University and one of the drafters of the proposed Anglican Covenant, argued that they did not. “I find it utterly extraordinary,” he told the Church Times. “No instrument exists conferring upon the Primates’ meeting the jurisdiction to ‘require’ these things. … Whatever they require is unenforceable.”
Deputy Sam Candler was one of those who took exception to media reports that the Episcopal Church had been suspended from the Anglican Communion. “But, whatever else the primates can do, they cannot vote, by any margin, to keep a province or church from participating in the Anglican Communion of Churches. In fact, the word ‘suspension’ does not appear at all in their January 2016 8-point resolution.
“The Anglican Communion of Churches is simply not organized in the way that the Roman Catholic Church is. Casual readers of church news might prefer otherwise, desiring a handy table of hierarchy and doctrine. But no.”