As the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meets in Accra, Ghana next week from 12-19 February, it brings together 110 Anglicans from 39 Provinces to review the work of the Communion and guide its global mission into the future.
Key issues before the Anglican Consultative Council in February 2023 include:
– Reporting from Communion-wide networks on their mission in the context of poverty, conflict, climate change and the global pandemic
– Reviewing and revitalising the Communion’s work under the Five Marks of Mission
– Strengthening the bonds of global fellowship
– Recognising disagreement and working for unity
– Renewing the Council’s governance
Rev Wendy Scott and Fe’iloakitau Kaho Tevi represent the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia as this Church’s ACC delegates to the Council, which is the only Instrument of Communion that gathers clergy, laypeople and bishops together to build unity and guide the Communion.
Rev Isaac Beach(Tairāwhiti) will be in Ghana too, as an ACC member for the Communion’s under 35s, Archbishop Philip Richardson will attend for the Communion Standing Committee, Archdeacon Carole Hughes(Auckland) for the Anglican Communion Women’s Network and Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu (Tai Tokerau) for the Anglican Indigenous Network.
Alongside the Council’s reporting and strategy sessions, each day will include Bible studies from Mark’s Gospel, centred on the Five Marks of Mission: sharing Good News, nurturing new believers, responding to human need through loving service, building peace and transforming unjust structures and safeguarding the integrity of Creation. Prayer and worship are a daily feature of ACC which includes an opening service at the Church of Christ in Legon, Accra that will be attended by the President of Ghana, Mr Nana Akufo-Addo.
Members of ACC will visit Ghana’s Cape Coast Castle during the meeting – a World Heritage Site dedicated to recalling its shameful history as a former staging post where enslaved people were imprisoned before they were transported from West Africa to the Americas. Outgoing ACC Vice-chair Canon Maggie Swinson forsees that visit will be a sobering experience for all Anglicans, although with a different impact for ACC delegates like herself whose family descend from an ancestor who was enslaved.
The visit to Cape Coast Castle will be followed by a service in the neighbouring Christ Church Cathedral.
ACC will receive a proposal from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) to investigate the structures and decision-making processes of the Anglican Communion. The proposed project focuses on maintaining unity while acknowledging disagreement between parts of the Communion, especially in the area of sexual ethics.
Communion General Secretary Bishop Anthony Poggo said the proposed IASCUFO project will ask Anglicans to think faithfully and creatively about what koinonia means for us.
“As the Anglican Communion continues to discern its vocation as a Communion of churches, we do well to ask again and ever about how exactly interdependence and autonomy relate to one another.” he said.
Bishop Anthony reports that the proposed IASCUFO research will seek a space that can “protect the varying discernments and cultures of all sides and enable good listening” that will help Anglicans make decisions together.
Archbishop Philip Richardson will report to ACC from a taskforce he has led on behalf of the Primates’ Meeting. Those findings focus on how to fortify the Communion’s Standing Committee to better support the ACC, Lambeth Conference, Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates’ Meeting.
Archbishop Paul Kwong will step down as Chair of the ACC at the conclusion of this meeting, as will the Vice Chair, Canon Maggie Swinson, and five other members of the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee. Elections for a new Chair and Vice Chair, and replacement Standing Committee members will take place during the plenary meeting.
During ACC-18 all of the authorised Anglican Communion Networks and Commissions will share updates on their work in: peace and justice, church planting, health, the environment, family issues, Interfaith concerns, Indigenous people, youth, women, Anglican colleges and universities, Safe Church and Lusophone and Francophone networks.
Each network will share their mission strategies and viewpoints shaped by the Anglican Communion’s five Marks of Mission 40 years on from their launch (as four Marks of Mission) by the ACC in July 1984, at ACC-6 in Badagry, Nigeria. This year’s ACC will be the first time a Communion-wide event has been hosted by the Anglican Province of West Africa.
Secretary General Bishop Anthony Poggo, is excited to see the energy for mission across the Communion as he attends his first meeting of the ACC since taking up his new role in September 2022.
“My hope and prayer is that as we consult on how the five Marks of Mission are implemented in various provinces and contexts, we will learn from each other, find encouragement and also challenge each other to do more. We hope that as a result of this gathering, we will revitalise the five Marks of Mission.”
The full programme for ACC-18 will be published soon on a dedicated microsite – www.acc18.org – along with the supporting papers and reports. The summary programme includes:
Day 1: Sunday 12 February
The first Mark of Mission: Tell
- Presidential Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury
- Opening Service at the Church of Christ the King, Legon
- Opening Dinner, at the gracious invitation of the President of Ghana
Day 2: Monday 13 February:
The second Mark of Mission: Teach
- Secretary General’s Report
- Anglican Communion Commission on Evangelism and Discipleship
(including Church Planting and Intentional Discipleship Networks)
- Theological Education in the Anglican Communion
- The Anglican Communion Science Commission
- The Anglican Communion Safe Church Commission
Day 3: Tuesday 14 February
The third Mark of Mission: Tend
- International Anglican Family Network
- Anglican Health and Community Network
- The Anglican Alliance
- Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order
- Anglican Interfaith Commission
- Legal Adviser’s Network (Canon Law)
- International Anglican Liturgical Consultation
- Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion
- First Resolutions discussion
Day 4: Wednesday 15 February
- Visit to Cape Coast Castle
- Service at Christ Church Cathedral
- Tree planting at Bishopscourt for the Anglican Communion Forest
Day 5: Thursday 16 February
The fourth Mark of Mission: Transform
- Gender Justice
- International Anglican Women’s Network
- Anglican Peace and Justice Network
- Ecumenical Relationships and Dialogues
- Second Resolutions discussion
Day 6: Friday 16 February
The fifth Mark of Mission: Treasure
- Elections of Chair, Vice Chair and five members of the Standing Committee
- Anglican Communion Environment Network
- Anglican Indigenous Network
- Anglican Communion representation at the United Nations
- Anglican Communion Youth Network
- Lusophone Network
- Francophone Network
Day 7: Saturday 17 February
- Third Resolutions discussion
- Lambeth Conference Phase Three
- Statements of Support
- Gala Dinner, attended by the Vice President of Ghana
Day 8: Sunday 18 February
- Visits to parishes in Accra
- Closing Service at St George’s Garrison Anglican Church