The Report of the Archbishops is short, and with less clarity than you or I might have desired. But it reflects a particular culture that abhors a “winner-takes-all” outcome, having fought civil and religious wars where such an outcome was only narrowly averted, and with much bloodshed. In that light, here are some important observations about the Archbishops’ report that are, on balance, positive for ACNA:
1. The ACNA as an institution was not rejected, as TEC and its proxies no doubt desired. Our Anglican “bona fides” will be subject to review and discussion while the wounds remain fresh from the realignment here in North America. The Archbishops state that the concept of membership in the Anglican Communion is not straightforward (Paragraph 8). Within that declaration, they discuss the role of both the ACC and the assent of 2/3 of the Primates of the Churches already listed in the current schedule of membership as providing a basis for membership. But in contrast to previous statements by ++Canterbury and the Secretary of the Anglican Communion, there is no insistence here upon the ACNA submitting an application to the ACC or following its “schedule” as necessary steps for recognition. I believe this is a significant concession between the lines to those who have challenged the purported authority of the ACC to make such decisions, especially in light of actual precedent where it was recognition by the Primates that gave membership within the Communion.