Lusaka, April 12—Earlier today, Bishop Ian Douglas sent a letter to the members of the standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) who attended its April 6-7 meeting announcing that he will not stand for election as chair of that body in elections to be held on Friday.
“While I pray that I can continue to be of service to the Anglican Communion in some new way in the future,” wrote Douglas, who had been widely expected to seek the post, “I believe that my not pursuing election as Chair of the ACC at this time will best facilitate our walking together in unity as the Anglican Communion, and that is my highest priority and my greatest hope and prayer.”
Douglas, who was a four-time deputy to General Convention before being elected bishop of Connecticut in 2009, served on the Design Group for the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops and has been a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism and a consultant for Theological Education in the Anglican Communion (TEAC). For his work on the 2008 Lambeth Conference, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams awarded Douglas the Cross of St. Augustine, the highest honor in the Anglican Communion.
He holds a Ph.D. in missiology from Boston University and was Angus Dun Professor of Mission and World Christianity at Episcopal Divinity School from 1991-2010. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and chapters on mission and global Anglicanism.
During their meeting in January, the primates of the Anglican Communion issued a communiqué that sought to require consequences against the Episcopal Church for its adoption of marriage equality in 2015. Among the consequences specified were that no member of the Episcopal Church should be “appointed or elected to an internal standing committee.”
“My decision not to run is not in response to the primates’ communique per se. Rather, my discernment has been directly informed by the relationships I enjoy here in the ACC and my commitment to fostering the unity of the Anglican Communion,” Douglas said today.
At the close of its April 6-7 meeting, the Standing Committee of the ACC issued a report affirming “the relational links between the Instruments of Communion in which each Instrument, including the Anglican Consultative Council, forms its own views and has its own responsibilities.”
In a statement issued yesterday, the Rt. Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, acknowledged that no ACC member can be prevented from nomination to the Standing Committee. “However during their first day in session,” wrote Idowu-Fearon, “Archbishop Justin presented a report to the ACC of the Primates meeting. As promised he requested the ACC to work with the Primates for the welfare of the whole Communion.”
Before the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, expected to take place in 2019, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council will elect a new bishop member of the ACC. The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, is the clergy member and Deputy Rosalie Ballentine is the lay member. Members of the ACC serve for three meetings.