Monday, 11 May 2009

How It Was Done (ACC)

It was hugely confusing to people there, and reports of what happened are baffling. I thought I'd understood what had happened, and then was confused again. So, cutting through the chat, comment and even the live blogging and comment on that, and looking around different reports and comments, here's what happened: a mastery of intervention of seeing that a Resolution might be lost and coming up with the means to get its essential features passed...

There were two resolutions presented, in which A involves the removal of the contentious 'disciplining' Section 4, to be reconsidered by a small working group, and be possibly reattached as an addendum. Resolution B was basically to present the whole Covenant including section 4 to the Provinces for adoptions or not and report back.

A number of Anglican Churches might not accept the Covenant if section 4 was attached, but then others wanted a Covenant with 'some teeth' including section 4.

Resolution A:

The ACC:

a) resolves that section 4 of the Ridley Cambridge Draft be detached from the Ridley Cambridge Draft for further consideration and work;

b) asks the Archbishop of Canterbury, in consultation with the Secretary General, to appoint a small working group to consider and consult with the Provinces on Section 4 and its possible revision, and to report to the next meeting of the Joint Standing Committee;

c) resolves that the reconsidered Section 4 may [Kate Turner of Ireland by amendment changed this to shall], at the request of the JSC, be offered for adoption as an addendum to the Covenant text.

Resolution B:

The ACC:

a) thanks the Covenant Design Group for their faithfulness and responsiveness in producing the drafts for an Anglican Communion Covenant and, in particular for the Ridley Cambridge Draft submitted to this meeting;

b) recognises that an Anglican Communion Covenant may provide an effective means to strengthen and promote our common life as a Communion;

c) asks the Secretary General to send the Ridley Cambridge draft, at this time, only to the member Churches of the Anglican Consultative Council for consideration and decision on acceptance or adoption by them;

d) asks those member Churches to report to ACC-15 on the progress made in the processes of response to, and acceptance or adoption of, the Covenant.

So what happened?

The chair announced the meeting would take up Resolution A before considering any of Resolution B.

At first Archbishop of Canterbury spoke against the proposed Resolution A. He appreciated that provinces may not sign the Covenant if section 4 is present but he was not persuaded to vote in favour of Resolution A (on the basis of removing section 4 and a later, possible, reattachment of something revised as an addendum).

Kate Turner of Ireland proposed an amendment to change the word "may" to "shall" in paragraph (c) of Resolution A.

Thus a revised Section 4 would actually have to go out to the Communion (and not possibly be lost forever).

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was in favour of her amendment.

The Chair then said that the effect of the amendment if accepted would be that the reconsidered Section 4 would be part of the Covenant.

The Chair also said: Resolution B will be considered no matter what the outcome with respect to the vote on Resolution A.

There was a vote and there was lunch.

After lunch it was announced that the amendment had passed by 34 to 28 with three abstentions.

The Chair now had Resolution A to present as a whole for a vote (as just amended). However, Philip Aspinall of Australia first passed out a prepared (during lunchtime?) sheet of paper with a new text of Resolution C, arguing to debate this instead of A and B as a speedier way forward.

Resolution C:

The ACC:

a) thanks the Covenant Design Group for their faithfulness and responsiveness in producing the drafts for an Anglican Communion Covenant and, in particular for the Ridley Cambridge Draft submitted to this meeting;

b) recognises that an Anglican Communion Covenant may provide an effective means to strengthen and promote our common life as a Communion;

c) asks the Archbishop of Canterbury, in consultation with the Secretary General, to appoint a small working group to consider and consult with the Provinces on Section 4 and its possible revision, and to report to the next meeting of the Joint Standing Committee;

d) asks the JSC, at that meeting, to approve a final form of Section 4;

e) asks the Secretary General to send the revised Ridley Cambridge draft, at that time, only to the member Churches of the Anglican Consultative Council for consideration and decision on acceptance or adoption by them;

f) asks those member Churches to report to ACC-15 on the progress made in the processes of response to, and acceptance or adoption of, the Covenant.

Resolution C looked like Resolution B but involved something like the revision of Section 4 in Resolution A. However clause e) had the effect that the whole draft would be sent out later (at that time) compared with clause c) in Resolution B (at this time).

Stanley Issacs of the Province of Southeast Asia objected. He said that a small working group to revise section 4 was disrespectful to those who had done the work already. He proposed that Resolution A be put to a vote immediately.

The Archbishop of Canterbury then spoke that, having himself seen Resolution C, the simplest way forward was to vote on Resolution A and then move directly to Resolution C

The Chair then allowed the vote first on the whole Resolution A, as previously amended.

The vote was 17 for, 47 against, with one abstention. So this Resolution A was lost, and a number of these wanted to vote for Resolution B (sending the whole Covenant out including Section 4 to the Provinces for adoption and progress reported to the next ACC).

However, Rev. Janet Trisk of Southern Africa proposed that Resolution B clause (c) be relettered (e) and (d) be relettered (f), and have inserted the clauses (c) and (d) from Resolution C.

The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke in support of this amendment. His view was that those who voted against Resolution A may very well have been influenced by the expectation that an alternative form of Resolution A was about to be tabled (whereas, arguably, many voting against Resolution A was because they wanted the fuller Resolution B passed).

The amendment passed by a vote of 33 to 30, with two abstentions.

Thus, because of this proposal, Resolution B was tackled clause by clause that made it become more like Resolution C.

A vote to approve paragraph (e) as relettered and a vote approved the final subparagraph (f) tidied everything up.

Therefore, although Resolution A was heavily lost, something like Resolution A was in fact passed; a Resolution C, having been produced whole, was actually grafted into the Resolution B, changing something to go out including Section 4 into something else that had the effect of neutering and delaying Section 4.

2 comments:

pete Hobson said...

Thanks for the analysis. If this is how such weighty matters are agreed then, whatever your view on any 'desirable' outcomes, all I can say is the Sprit of God has a strange sense of humour....

Fred Schwartz said...

I have a quick question that is not all together off topic. Did anyone see a white rabbit in Jamaica?