ACNA Governance Taskforce

provincial canonical amendments 2023
draft 1

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At the heart of our Anglican polity—our Anglican “decision-making process”—is the principle of conciliarism. We take council together, just as the apostolic church did in the great Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. It is a way that we walk together in the light (I John 1:7-9) so that we are truly a one, holy, apostolic, and catholic church in Christ. One of the guiding principles of conciliarism is that “what touches all must be decided by all.” In the Church, this means that whenever an internal church law (the canons) touches all it should at least be reviewed by all. In that spirit, the Governance Task Force of the ACNA regularly proposes amendments to our canons for review by all members of the ACNA. 

In service to the Anglican Church in North America, we present to you this video explaining the proposed changes to the ACNA canons for approval (or not) at Provincial Council 2023. We have also included a link below to the PDF of the proposed canonical changes if you would like to download them. We invite you to view this video, which will explain the rationale for these changes and to submit your comments, questions, and suggestions to Canon Phil Ashey at no later than March 31. Your comments will be forwarded to sub-groups of the ACNA Governance Task Force assigned to each of these proposed changes, and they in turn will respond to your comments. Our goal is to have a second draft acknowledging your comments, questions, and suggestions ready for publication by the third week of April (after Easter).

One of the differences in this report is a lengthy motion approved unanimously by the GTF that will be anchored in Title I, Canon 5 Of Dioceses. This motion reflects the ongoing work of the GTF, in consultation with the ACNA Adult Sexual Misconduct Task Force, to develop better processes and mechanisms for dioceses to respond to allegations and accusations of misconduct against both laity and clergy. We are not asking you to agree or disagree with the motion. The end result of this motion will be a proposed canon the GTF will offer at Provincial Council 2023 that will address the minimum requirements we believe all ACNA dioceses should observe in responding to allegations of misconduct.

What we are asking you to do is address these questions with regards to the minimums we are already suggesting in this motion:

  • Are these diocesan minimums we are proposing enough?
  • Have we missed anything?
  • What else should we consider?

In the above video, there are three things said that need clarification:

  1. That the dioceses  mentioned as exemplars of good processes “have observed these minimums already.” Better wording would have been that the dioceses mentioned “have developed these minimums based on their own experience responding to accusations.” Our apologies in advance for the overbroad statement.
  2. The Model ABA canon that was mentioned is for Grand Juries, by analogy. There is no Model ABA Rule for “Boards of Inquiry,” much less any internal church law.
  3. For the same reasons we omitted the College of Bishops in the proposed amendment to Canon IV.4.1, a bishop should not serve on any “Board of Inquiry.”

Thank you in advance for your time in reviewing this video and the changes– for your prayers, and for your comments, questions, and suggestions.