Archbishop of Canterbury at Anglican Consultative Coucil

Press Release – Anglican Church in Aotearoa

In his Presidential Address to the Council members, Dr. Rowan Williams, said the Church is called to empower and enable communities rather than just solving internal differences.Media Release
Archbishop of Canterbury
‘Christchurch Volunteer Army an outstanding example of leadership for all’
The Archbishop of Canterbury will speak at a media conference this Wednesday afternoon at the conclusion of the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Auckland, New Zealand.

In his Presidential Address to the Council members, Dr. Rowan Williams, said the Church is called to empower and enable communities rather than just solving internal differences.

The Archbishop questioned whether the church and its processes are more like New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Commission, known by the same abbreviation of ‘ACC.’ Archbishop Rowan Williams asked whether the Church sees itself dealing with accidents; there to pick up the pieces, with an authority that is corrective and reactive to a crisis, or whether there is another model of authority that is creative, that enables and empowers and brings life to communities.

Dr. Williams said that the worldwide Communion, made up of 38 distinct provinces, struggles at stages as a family when it comes to the detail of structures that hold reactive and corrective authority, ‘Without jeopardising the important local autonomy of our Churches, I think we still need work on that convergence of our schemes and systems, and I say that because I believe we all need to wake up to the challenges here if we are not to become less than we aspire to be as a Communion.’

The Archbishop said processes and structures in the Church, such as the Instruments of Communion, have a corrective and reactive nature, but the gospel demands an authority that is distinctly liberating and enabling for all. The Archbishop said he hoped and prayed the Anglican Covenant could still exist in some form through the development of a legal spirit ethos that is shared through consent rather than some ‘supreme authority.’

The work of the student volunteer army, in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes, was praised by Dr. Williams as an example of authoritative and life giving leadership. The Archbishop met the organiser, Mr Sam Johnson, and described him as an ‘extraordinary man’ with a leadership and authority that is creative. The Archbishop says many people, including the Church, can learn for such leadership that serves others.

Dr Williams said, ‘This student army, which was celebrating on Saturday with its concert, came into being not because someone had ordered it to, not because some executive authority had decreed it, but because someone had a vision that others recognised, and as young people will, he spread that vision through the electronic media, and the result was what you might call a flash mob of grace.’ The Archbishop said this was an authoritative act that brought hope to a community and the Church is called to do the same in its governance and processes.

The meeting of the Council is the last international engagement for Dr Williams. In closing the Archbishop wanted to state that he wished his successor, yet to be named, every blessing, every success, and strength from God in being the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

The work of the Council, which is an advisory body to the worldwide Anglican communion, has decided on initiatives designed to foster common action across the Anglican Communion. Work included;

• A resolution to make churches safer with a charter that protects vulnerable people with a focus on gender based and family violence
• A resolution that encourages education, ecumenical and inter- faith based initiatives, and parish based projects to reflect the need for a faith based response to care for the environment.
• Discussion on ways to enhance the effectiveness of the Instruments of Communion, including regional gatherings and representatives who could meet between ACC meetings
• Small group discussions as a progress report on the Anglican Covenant
• A resolution condemning the blasphemy laws of Pakistan
• A project, led by NZ Archbishop David Moxon, encouraging the study of scripture.
Archbishop Rowan Williams will be joined for the media conference by Archbishop David Moxon of New Zealand. The conference will be at 4pm on Wednesday afternoon. Media are asked to gather at the Cathedral Visitors Centre at 3.45pm.

Notes to Editors

• The Instruments of Communion comprise the Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
• The 15th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-15) is meeting in Auckland, New Zealand between 27 October and 7 November. This is an advisory body comprising lay and ordained delegates from all Provinces that consider the present and future life and work of the Anglican Communion.
• The Anglican Communion Office serves the Anglican Communion, comprising around 85 million members in 38 regional and national member churches around the globe in more than 165 countries.
• For all the latest news, features, podcasts, videos, tweets and Facebook posts from the conference please visit


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