4/08/2005

Thoughts for Executive Council

These notes concern thoughts, unsolicited and otherwise, that might be of use to the Executive Council as it meets to discuss its response to the Primate's request that it not sent representatives to the ACC until Lambeth 2008 and that it send persons to the ACC meeting to explain its actions of the last General Convention. I posted these remarks on the House of Bishops/ House of Deptuties list.


(i) The Episcopal Church representatives to the ACC should be present, as the ACC Constitution assumes all representatives will be, and request that the first order of business of the ACC meeting be for the ACC reps themselves to debate and vote to determine if the ACC itself agrees with the Primate's position. If not, TEC reps would stay and represent TEC as usual. If so, TEC reps would then voluntarily absent themselves until the next Lambeth Conference. The voluntary character of withdrawal from participation would be stressed. Any attempt to force TEC representatives to absent themselves would be viewed as a breach of the ACC Constitution itself.

(ii) TEC Reps are to be instructed by Executive Council to inform the ACC that in matters regarding future financial commitments from member Provinces, or expenditures for matters not yet agreed to, TEC is not bound to agreement where it is not represented in the decision making process. At the same time the Executive Council should assure the ACC, through its representatives, that TEC has every intention to both honor its existing commitments and to provide its share of the future ACC budget. Should the ACC representatives not be present for funding discussions, the Executive Council will reserve for itself or for General Convention the full responsibility for deciding TEC's approval of our participation in the ACC budget and will take into account our lack of representation in the ACC itself. It may therefore request ACC leadership to appear before it to explain and defend its budgetary requests, much as it does of other agencies in which TEC does not have representation. The Executive Council needs to be clear with the ACC that should our representative not be present at funding discussions, it will necessarily treat the ACC funding request in a different way than we would if we had representation on ACC.


(iii) The Episcopal Church has been asked to send persons to the ACC meeting to further explain the actions taken at General Convention. The ACC President has indicated a willingness to receive such a delegation. TEC ACC representatives and / or members of TEC delegation should ask for clarification of the purpose of such a presentation and the extent to which those who sit in reception of this presentation are also understood to stand in judgment of TEC, General Convention, or TEC's fitness to participate in ACC or other Anglican Communion wide meetings. TEC ought not proceed to offer any explanation without a prior statement by the ACC and itself that those seated are not understood to having juridical power and that the presentation is offered to the larger community as a sharing only. If the ACC is not in agreement with this approach, then the delegation should withdraw and offer its presentation directly to the wider Anglican community outside the purview of the ACC meeting itself.

(iv) TEC has been specifically asked to provide further explanation. Its delegation should ask for clarification on the ground rules for interchange between the presenters and the sitting representatives of the ACC, and the Executive Council ought to offer such advice as it will concerning the extent to which the delegation will enter into debate, answer follow-up questions, respond to other written documents as may be brought into the discussion by ACC representatives, and the extent to which the ACC might or might not invite questions from resource persons they may gather for the occasion. The presentation should only take place with clearly agreed on norms for the presentation itself.



We should make it clear that the Episcopal Church does not intend to use funding hold back as a weapon in these contentious times. At the same time, TEC needs to be clear that it's own decision making processes require some form of engagement with agencies requesting funds, and that if representation is not that form of engagement some other process will need to be followed, the simplest being what is suggested in paragraph two above.

1 comment:

  1. obadiahslope11/4/05 5:55 AM

    Mark,
    I am eager to read the ECUSA arguement, so i certainly hope that it is presented to the communion at large. I hope that the ECUSA exective committee puts its effort into making sure the document is a good one , rather than focussing on procedural matters. The HOB seemed to want to leave questions to general convention to decide. What happens if the executive committee comes to the same conclusion?
    To my mind it is unlikely that the ACC would go further than the primates in making a voluntary request to the North American delegates to leave the meeting.
    I am not sure how wise it is to raise the question of finances at this stage. Presumeably the ACC negotiates its budget for longer periods than one year. It might be better to fucus on the main issue at hand at leave it to general convention to decide on any conditions for funding. It seems over elaborate to set up a new sytem on the basis of skipping just one meeting.
    One intriging question is whethr the ECUSA team that presents its case should be made up of gay representatives. This would enable the "listening" question to be addressed at the same time.
    Just my two cents worth. As I said I am looking forward to what ECUSA has to say.

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