The 14th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) by a close vote on May 8 rejected a move to add a fourth moratorium on issues related to divisions over human sexuality that would have asked for a “cessation of litigation” among member churches of the Anglican Communion involved in disputes over property.The ACC, however, said it “affirms” the recommendations of the Windsor Continuation Group (WCG) which included not just moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, the ordination of persons living in same-sex unions, and cross-provincial interventions, but also “relational consequences” for those who breach them. The original text of the resolution used the word “notes,” instead of “affirms.” The word “notes” was used to reflect the “range of views” expressed by delegates in discernment groups, said the resolutions committee. Opponents said, however, that using a more neutral word was not useful, since the ACC “needs to give an indication of how it feels” about the WCG recommendations. The WCG was created by the Archbishop of Canterbury to assess the situation in the Anglican Communion after the publication of the 2004 Windsor Report and to give proposals on how member churches, divided by the thorny issue of human sexuality, can move forward.Josephine Hicks, lay delegate of The Episcopal Church, urged the ACC to vote against the WCG’s recommendations, saying, “it’s time to move on, it’s time to move beyond the moratoria and to allow The Episcopal Church in the United States, the Anglican Church of Canada and others to be true to themselves…”
By a secret ballot vote of 60 in favour, four against, and one abstention, the ACC also said it “acknowledges the efforts that have been made to hold to the moratoria, gives thanks for the gracious restraint that has been observed in these areas and recognizes the deep cost of such restraint.”
Voting 33 against, 32 in favour, and 1 abstention, the ACC defeated an amendment introduced by Archbishop Mouneer Anis, primate of Jerusalem and the Middle East, to include a call for a moratorium on litigation, which he said had been requested by the primates’ meeting in Dar es Salaam in 2007.
The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts-Schori, urged delegates to vote against the amendment. “The reality is that those who have sought to remove property from The Episcopal Church have done so without consultation, with an unwillingness to be in dialogue.” Leaders of the church have a “moral and fiduciary responsibility” to see that its assets are preserved for the purpose for which they were given, she said.