Friday, May 8, 2009

Anglican Consultative Council Digest

Much happens each day during the Anglican Consultative Council's (ACC) 14th meeting. In addition to Episcopal Life Media's regular coverage, here's some of what else went on May 7, the sixth day of the May 2-12 gathering.
Listening Process 'worth trying,' Groves says
The Rev. Canon Phil Groves, who facilitates the communion's Listening Process, told reporters during a briefing that the point of the process is not intended to put a gay person in the middle of a room "while everyone else sits around and investigates them."

That model would be "pretty appalling," he said.

Instead, Groves said the intent is for Anglicans to engage in conversations about the issues they face and, through that process, learn more about how they can work together.

That mutual listening process "faces people with hard questions and doesn't presume that we at the communion office have any of the answers, which we don't," Groves said. "Those have to be discovered within the communion rather than imposed in any way from a pre-formed packaged from above."

"I'm not going to stand here and say, 'this is the answer to all our problems' because I think that's too big a claim," he said.

Groves invoked St. Paul's method of dealing with division in the church at Corinth. "It isn't that he sends the issues off to a commission, but asks them to be part of the journey to find out what the truth is," he said.

"I'm not saying this will work; I'm saying it's worth trying," Groves said, calling the Listening Process "a way that explores how we can be the church more fully in the way that the New Testament gives some indication."

Groves was questioned about whether the decision to use what he called "Anglican indaba processes," referring to a Zulu method of decision-making by consensus that was used during the 2008 Lambeth Conference of bishops, made sense in non-African or multi-cultural settings. He told reporters that since the beginning, the church has incorporated "societal models" into its organization and "western cultural models" have predominated. "We have nothing else," he said.

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