Anglican Diversity at the Communion Level....not so much.

The Living Church reports, "ACC Picks Diverse Leaders". Well, yes and no. 

The Anglican Consultative Council is a representative body of the churches of the Anglican Communion. It is not proportionately representative, but in its own way it tries to include voices from various levels throughout the Communion.  It has a Steering Committee which guides its agenda and work, and there is often hope that that body might reflect that representative spirit as well.  The hope is that the ACC will indeed pick diverse leaders.

The newly elected members of the ACC Standing Committee come from five continents. Great. 

They join several carryover members, the Chair, from Hong Kong, and of course the Archbishop of Canterbury. When the counting is finished there is a wide diversity of home churches in six of the seven continents. 

They are less diverse when it comes to developed world/ developing world, however designated. About half are from the developed world. And four, that is about one in four, are from England, Ireland and Scotland. 

But then there is a singular lack of diversity in other ways of counting.  As I read it there are five Primates that join the elected ACC folk to make up the steering committee. In addition the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chair are both Primates, making seven primates. There are three additional bishops, and four lay persons. There is one priest.

In terms of the "orders" of the church the score runs, Bishops 10, Lay 4, Priests 1, Deacons 0. In terms of the leadership of churches, there are seven Primates, and eight others.

I would suggest that the heavy wight given to Primates in the ACC undercuts the otherwise laudable diversity of places of residence of the members. 

Some caution is needed in celebrating this diversity, for in the long run the Primates and Bishops, who meet in two other contexts in bodies that are "instruments of communion" are more likely to share common views on matters of church life and exercise greater authority than the five lay and clergy members. 

As for the paucity of clergy representatives...well better four lay than four clergy, but still, the Anglican Communion consists mostly of laity, followed by clergy (other than bishops) then bishops and lastly Primates.  The order of things in almost inverse in the ACC.


  1. Mark, I agree. Depends upon what you mean by diversity. Also, too many primates.

  2. Is this really surprising though? GC has a majority of one kind of member-- white, well-off, retired-- because other people can't afford to take two weeks to go do it. And let's face it, most people in the pews don't wake up in the morning and rush to ENS or other Anglican websites to see what's up in Anglicanland. If that's true in rich America, how likely is it that priests or laity in other poorer areas are going to be able to commit time and money to flying all over the world for meetings? When the choice is work and feed your family or go abroad and take photo ops and sign agreements that sound nice but have no real authority (as TEC loves to remind us whenever something doesn't go its way) what do you expect them to do? Bishops have budgets to travel and are expected to keep up with what's going on, other people don't/aren't. Is there an answer? Would they all give up their photo op and have the meetings via internet etc.?

    Chris H.

  3. It is quite interesting there are no deacons on the list. The voice from the diaconate should be thought of as crucial when it comes to adding a prophetic voice to any discussion.


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