The last Lambeth Conference proceeded without resolutions, and the result was far deeper and richer because of the focus on conversation, dialogue and building relationships. This ACC meeting conducted some of its business in that way, but a great deal of time and energy was devoted to hearing reports and dealing with resolutions.
The members of the ACC arrive and are inundated with long and complex papers on a great variety of subjects ”“ resolutions from the different networks, the recent draft of an Anglican covenant, the Windsor Continuation Group report, a 256-page book on ecumenical relations and many others ”“ and are expected to make decisions after brief opportunities for small-group discussion.
The details of decision-making would surprise most Episcopalians. A small group develops material ahead of time and then offers it to the group with relatively little opportunity for deliberation or alteration. The resolutions presented for deliberation are vetted and edited by a resolutions committee.
The pace of work is leisurely, with 40 hours of formal work spread over 11 working days. The chair exercises a great deal of discretion in referring or declining to entertain resolutions; elections are not straightforward ballots for a single individual; discussion of any proposed amendment requires the support of 10 members; the president (the Archbishop of Canterbury) steps in fairly frequently to “steer”; and the rules are quite evidently not Robert’s!
The contrasts with General Convention are significant….