You will have received correspondence from Archbishop Glenn Davies and Bishop Richard Condie advising of their intention to participate in the consecration of a bishop for Europe in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a church that is not a member of the Anglican Communion and is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia. That ordination will by now have taken place. Each of our colleagues, according to their conscience, declares their intended participation to be an act of solidarity ‘with those who will act to protect the gospel of Christ’ or ‘who contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ – an issue as to the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of our National Constitution (ss 1- 6).
As you will have seen from that correspondence, I advised both bishops against this course of action. I take the view that communion – koinonia, is a gift of our Lord to his Church and that in our context it is the Anglican Church of Australia, through its constitution and the framework it establishes, that determines how this is expressed in practical terms. As s5 of our National Constitution provides:
Subject to the Fundamental Declarations and the provisions of this chapter [Chapter 2] this Church has plenary authority and power to make canons, ordinances and rules for the order and good government of the Church, and to administer the affairs thereof. Such authority and power may be exercised by the several synods and tribunals in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
For reasons explained below, I do not think that it is for us individually, acting independently, to determine with whom we are in communion or to act unilaterally to that end.