Adapted from Anglican Communion News Service

The Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee is meeting for the second time this year in London. This is the committee’s report about its first day.

The standing committee’s annual meeting, originally scheduled for April 2015, was moved forward for its members to consider a successor to the current secretary general. The short notice of the meeting meant that neither all committee members nor all requisite alternates were able to attend. First-day attendance included:

  • Bishop James Tengatenga (Chair)
  • Canon Elizabeth Paver (Vice Chair)
  • Bishop David Chillingworth
  • Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
  • Bishop Eraste Bigirimana
  • Helen Biggin
  • Samuel N. Mukunya
  • Louisa Mojela

These members will attend on subsequent days:

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  • Archbishop Justin Welby (President)
  • Bishop Ian Douglas
  • Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi (Alternate for Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak)

Much of this meeting will focus on discussing the role and qualities of the future secretary general of the Anglican Communion. As with other discussions of human resources, this will occur in closed session. Vice Chair Elizabeth Paver said that she and Bishop James Tengatenga have held preliminary conversations with the Archbishop of Canterbury about the appointment process.

The members voted unanimously to co-opt Bishop Sarah Macneil to the committee in her new role as the Anglican Church of Australia’s bishop representative to the Anglican Consultative Council. Earlier she was elected to the standing committee as a priest member.

The committee also resolved to welcome the St. Augustine Foundation’s decision to fund two positions for the Department of Theological Education at the Anglican Communion Office, depending on the next secretary general’s concurrence.

Members resolved to add the new names of two existing member churches — the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, and the Anglican Church of South America — to the membership schedule of the Anglican Consultative Council. The committee also noted the decision by the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East to bestow the title of archbishop on its primate and on the bishop in Jerusalem.

Secretary General’s report: Canon Kenneth Kearon gave his last report to the committee. He said he had spent much time on ecumenical matters, including acting as the joint chair of three series of informal talks with the Roman Catholic Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the Lutheran World Federation. Each talk occurs annually. Canon Kearon met in Istanbul with Orthodox leaders and was interested to hear their perspectives on the Middle East. Anglican–Roman Catholic informal talks brought together the co-chairs of the Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission and the International Anglican–Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission.

Canon Kearon also attended celebrations for the 125th anniversary of the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht. The communion enjoys a close, full communion relationship with Old Catholics in Europe. Old Catholics, the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, and the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe all license each other’s bishops.

Earlier in November, Canon Kearon attended the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions in Amersfoort in the Netherlands. Such conferences help a broad range of Christian traditions, including Pentecostal churches, to have conversations.

The committee also heard that, following the closure of the Anglican Communion’s Youth Network, the question of how the Anglican Communion youth ministry will be brought to the 16th Anglican Consultative Council by members of Anglican Witness: The Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative.

Mission Cluster: The afternoon included a presentation from the ACO’s Mission Cluster, which includes the Mission Department, Anglican Alliance, Women in Church and Society, the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations-Geneva, and Continuing Indaba/Living Reconciliation.

Mission Department: The Rev. John Kafwanka surveyed the three priorities of his department: (1) Intentional discipleship within the life of the Communion; (2) Youth and Children’s Ministry; and (3) Migrant and Diaspora Christians.

Anglican Alliance: The Rev. Rachel Carnegie spoke about the work of Anglican Alliance. The alliance’s themes include youth and women empowerment (including economic empowerment and addressing gender-based violence); trafficking/slavery, migration, and refugees (with peace and reconciliation); and climate change (including food security).

Carnegie said the alliance is collaborating with Anglican provinces and a range of agencies on key relief projects, including the crisis in South Sudan, Ebola in West Africa, and supporting people with disabilities in refugee contexts.

Development initiatives include working with partners to end trafficking and modern slavery, and conflict prevention across the countries of the Anglican Communion. The alliance has been working to build capacity of partners worldwide. The advocacy strand of the alliance’s work includes key themes of ending gender-based violence and tackling the effects of climate change.

Women in Church and Society: The Rev. Terrie Robinson gave a presentation on her work in the new role of director for Women in Church and Society. The role includes:

  • promoting and enabling inclusion
  • promoting gender justice
  • participating in wider conversations on issues of gender justice
  • relating to relevant Networks

In the past few months, Robinson has hosted a regional consultation of the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN) for Great Britain and Ireland, and Jerusalem and the Middle East. She has produced a video of Anglican men opposing violence against women and girls as a resource for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. She has continued her work with We Will Speak Out.

Robinson participated in IAWN Canada’s conference on ending trafficking. She is raising funds for an IAWN South Asia consultation scheduled in September. Her future plans include gathering a toolkit for transformation from around the Communion to support Anglicans in seeking just relationships between women and men.

Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations-Geneva: The Rev. Canon Flora Winfield, Anglican Communion representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said now is the time for the Anglican Communion to be building stronger relationships with U.N. staff. Her role involves:

  • Building relationships with key institutions with which the Anglican union has relationships and history
  • Making contact with others where there is potential to work er
  • Working in collaboration with colleagues in the Anglican Alliance, the Anglican Communion Office, the U.N. office, and the Episcopal Church’s U.N. office in New York

She said her two main priorities are birth registration and the United Nations Refugee Agency’s Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders. Her office is producing a study guide to Welcoming the Stranger that reflects on the questions of belonging, alienation, and hospitality for Anglicans around the world. Canon Winfield will work with the Mission to Seafarers at the next U.N. meeting.

Living Reconciliation: The Rev. Phil Groves said the book Living Reconciliation has been a surprise hit, and that much of Continuing Indaba’s work has informed the book. The book’s aim is to help people be local agents of reconciliation. Groves said his next challenge was to get the book into the hands of people in parishes. There is now a Living Reconciliation website and a downloadable study guide of the Scripture passages informing the book. Groves plans to hold a consultation in East Asia and perhaps East Africa in 2015.

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