General Synod members voted to send a message to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) that adding all Anglican primates (national bishops) to the membership of the ACC, one of the four instruments of unity of the Anglican Communion, would be an unwelcome change.
The proposed constitutional changes to the ACC’s membership, offered to all Anglican provinces of the worldwide communion for ratification, included a section requesting that ACC membership should include all the primates and moderators of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion, as ex-officio members.
Bishop Sue Moxley, one of three Canadian ACC representatives and presenter of the resolution, explained to Synod members that the phrase ex-officio means “you’re automatically a member.”
The proposed change would limit the provinces’ representative members to members of the orders of either clergy or laity, in order to maintain a balance of orders.
“This effectively replaces all the bishops with the primates,” Bishop Moxley said, adding that the change would also result in a decrease of the number of women on the ACC.
Suzanne Lawson, of the diocese of Toronto, who was the lay member of the Canadian delegation to the last ACC meeting, said that the changes could pass, if two-thirds of the provinces of the Anglican Communion agree.
“We are adding our voice,” she said.
After members of Synod voted in favour of the motion, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison., the outgoing Canadian primate, commended the decision, saying that “there has been a good deal of resistance to [the membership change] from the other provinces.”