Lay Canon Elizabeth Paver (picture here) is one of three members on the Anglican Consultative Council from the Church of England, and is a member of the ACC Standing Committee. She was therefore one of the international guests at the recent House of Bishops in New Orleans which was attended by the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the Primates. Canon Paver worked for 40 years in education before her recent retirement, and served many roles over that time, as for example Head Teacher at Intake Primary School in Doncaster and President of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).
I met Canon Paver when I was an observer to the ACC 13 meeting in Nottingham. A participant on my blog, Sander, wrote in a comment in the midst of a lengthy discussion of the Joint Standing Committee Report in a thread below as follows:
#76, I have heard reports this afternoon that Canon Elizabeth Paver, one of the four who did not respond in time, has since responded and given her concurrence to the opinions of the other 9 who did respond.
Because I am aware of Mrs. Paver’s convictions, I wanted to understand more fully her sense of the recently released Report on the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC (Anglican Consultative Council) on the New Orleans meeting of the House of Bishops. The following is an article I wrote based on several conversations with Canon Paver–KSH.
When the report was issued, Canon Paver noted, it was in such haste that she was shocked. “ It wasn’t in the time frame we were led to believe when we went to New Orleans. It was my understanding that it was to be a report only to the Archbishop of Canterbury and therefore it did not need to be finalized so quickly.”
The report was drafted NOT in the United States with a full committee around the table, but was done by email. In Mrs. Paver’s view this prevented the committee from doing its work properly.
In any event, once the report was being finalized quickly, Elizabeth Paver read the material. This created a dilemma for her. “I think the process in New Orleans was accurately reported,” she observed. However there was a division on the committee itself as to whether the American House of Bishops had responded adequately to the requests of the Primates in Tanzania, and the report did not reflect this division of opinion.
“When the report was published, its conclusion represented a majority view, but it certainly was not a unanimous view,” she asserted.
When the report was made public in its final form, Mrs. Paver was confused. She was listed as having not responded, which was accurate as she had missed the Tuesday deadline but following conversations with ACC staff on the day of publication she agreed that the Report was an accurate account of the Standing Committees conclusions but needed to reflect the minority view also. She agreed with the description of what transpired in New Orleans, but also agreed in principle with Bishop Mouneer Anis that what the the primates called for had not been provided. She was assured that Bishop Mouneer’s Response would be appended to the report in full which covered the areas that concerned her.
It is important for people to understand the crucial significance of the call for a moratorium on same sex blessings, Mrs. Paver insisted. “From my perspective, anything other than a full moratorium would mean that the whole report is brought into disrepute,” she observed.“If there is no moratorium and this can be demonstrated then in my view the Joint Standing Committee will need to issue a further statement.”
Two comments about this from yours truly. First, here is a faithful laywoman who was clearly let down by the system. The bizarre and rushed way that this report was put together meant that she was reported not to have responded, and then it was alleged that she concurred. Actually, she did respond but not in time for the rushed release, and she agreed with the reports description but not its evaluation (which is hardly concurrence).
Second, her comments make clear the degree of miscommunication involved in the report as far as the moratorium is concerned. The JST somehow believed based on communication that took place in New Orleans that there was a moratorium on same sex blessings being officially allowed and/or encouraged in all dioceses, when as Gene Robinson as well as other bishops have made clear that is simply not the case.
This means that the entire JSC report about New Orleans is even further called into question–KSH.