Bishop Matthews reported on the Joint Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO) which met November 19-20, 1994. This was in response to a recommendation from the October 1994 gathering of the House of Bishops which recommended to the Committee on Ministry that a small joint taskforce meet. It was suggested that the joint taskforce should be made up of two representatives from the Committee on Ministry and two representatives from the House of Bishops in order to review the ACPO process, and to make recommendations about the future of ACPO to NEC when it met in March 1995.
The Joint Committee made six recommendations which they presented. There was some discussion in plenary about the recommendations, the role of ACPO and whether or not it should continue. The question "Where do the ACPO recommendations go now?" was asked of the House.
At Archbishop Peers' request, a small taskforce was formed to investigate whether or not it would be possible for the House of Bishops to reach a common mind regarding ACPO. The taskforce consisted of Bishop Matthews, Bishop Bays, Archbishop Crawley, Bishop Mason and Bishop Morgan. They agreed to report back to the House later in the meeting.
When the taskforce reported back to the House they made several recommendations (see appendix i) and proposed the following motion.
That this House urges NEC to provide funding for ACPO at 65% of the 1994 budget for ACPO. CARRIED
House of Bishops' ACPO Report Response Group
Membership: Bishops Bays, Hiltz, Mason, Matthews and Archbishop Crawley.
1. That dioceses engaged in selecting non-stipendiary and locally raised up priests invite the regional Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO) secretary or his/her designate to attend the diocesan screening procedure as an assessor in that process.
2. That future ACPO conferences offer the category "recommended at this time for postulancy" instead of "recommended at this time for training."
3. That at this time no ACPO procedure for the vocational diaconate be set up by the provincial or national church structures.
4. That this House of Bishops affirm the existing standard that no one be ordained to the priesthood without attaining an ACPO conference, while also acknowledging that there will be more than one expression of ACPO conference in the future.
5. That the April 1996 meeting of the House of Bishops spend significant time on the topic of "mutual ministry." We suggest assistance be sought from Bishop Tom Ray or Dirk Rinehart.
6. That this House of Bishops urges the National Executive Council (NEC) to provide funding for ACPO at not less than 65% of the 1994 ACPO budget.
(Note: The sixth recommendation was put before the House of Bishops as a motion. See House of Bishops Minutes, May 1995, pages 5-6.)
The Reverend Canon Ansley Tucker and the Reverend Paul Robinson members of the General Synod Ministry Committee brought two resolutions (from the Committee) to the House of Bishops about the Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO). Their purpose was to receive the House of Bishops' input about the resolutions (#3-2-84 re. ACPO contemplated for Canadian Forces personnel and #4-2-84 re. Categories for use by ACPO assessors in relation to prospective postulants) to be taken back to the Ministry Committee, before bringing the resolution to the National Executive Committee for approval. (See appendix ii for resolutions).
Following a discussion in plenary, the consensus of the House of Bishops was that it would ask that the ACPO process continue.
That a joint task force of 2 episcopal chairs and 2 ACPO secretaries representing different regions meet with representatives from the Ministry Committee. CARRIED
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON POSTULANTS FOR ORDINATION (ACPO)
HOUSE OF BISHOPS
Guidelines re members of the Canadian Forces "who wish to be pursue the ordained ministry".
When ACPO is contemplated for the Canadian Forces personnel, the following guidelines will be observed:
1. The applicant must be co-sponsored by the Bishop Ordinary and a Diocesan Bishop.
2. The Diocesan Bishop interviews the candidate and helps provide pastoral support through regular diocesan channels.
3. If ordination is appropriate, then the Bishop Ordinary, at the request of the Diocesan or with permission of the Diocesan, may ordain.
4. The ordained person may be considered for employment in the Diocese of the co-sponsoring Diocesan Bishop of until accepted into the Forces.
5. If Provincial Postulancy is in effect, then this will be considered.
Categories for use by ACPO assessors in relation to prospective postulants:
a) recommended at this time for postulancy -- with suggestions for "areas of training and experience to be included in the education and training process".
b) not recommended at this time for postulancy -- with suggestions for "areas of training and personal growth to be undertaken before further assessment by ACPO or other appropriate evaluation in considered".
c) not recommended at this time for postulancy -- with suggestions of "other areas of ministry and service which may be more appropriate".
Bishop Matthews and the Reverend Alyson Barnett-Cowan reported on the January meeting of the ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] secretaries. At that meeting there was a sense of frustration because on the one hand, the Church makes use of ACPO, but on the other hand, dioceses use several different systems for screening potential candidates for ordination. A discussion followed. Another difficulty for the ACPO secretaries is the feeling that their requests for direction from the House of Bishops often receive no response.
Issues which were raised at the secretaries' meeting included questions such as:
- What models are we looking at ?
- Does ACPO have a role in screening out sexual abusers ? And, how can that be done ? Can that be done in one weekend ?
- Does ACPO help or hinder the process of screening candidates ?
The House of Bishops broke into provincial table groups to discuss three questions asked of them.
The groups reported back in plenary. There was some disagreement about whether the ACPO recommendations put to the House at their May 1995 meeting were dealt with and what was the final agreement. (The recommendations were attached to the minutes of that meeting as appendix i.)
1. In light of the re-structuring of General Synod, and of new realities of ministry, the House of Bishops recommends to the Council of General Synod that it establishes a consultation to examine and make recommendations to the appropriate bodies concerning:
a) The role and governance of ACPO
b) Alternate models of ministry and methods of discernment for these models
c) The appropriate lines of accountability for processes relating to all models on the diocesan, provincial and national levels
and that this consultation be representative of:
a) the House of Bishops
b) the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee
c) ACPO secretaries
d) Theological Colleges
e) those conversant with the concept of Mutual Ministry;
2. The House recommends that, in the meantime, ACPO be considered by all concerned as discernment for training for the professional model of priesthood;
3. The House requests that future ACPO conferences offer the category `Recommended at this time for postulancy' instead of `Recommended at this time for training'. CARRIED
Bishop Lackey reminded the House that, at the June 1983 meeting of the House, Archbishop Hambidge, Archbishop Seaborn and he were appointed as a Task Force to study the matter of members of the Canadian Forces who wish to pursue the ordained ministry, and the place of ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination].
That the written report be accepted as the working guidelines for the Canadian Forces personnel.
"When ACPO is contemplated for the Canadian Forces personnel, the following guidelines will be observed:
(1) The applicant must be co-sponsored by the Bishop Ordinary and a Diocesan Bishop.
(2) The Diocesan Bishop interviews the candidate and helps provide pastoral support through regular diocesan channels.
(3) If ordination is appropriate, then the Bishop Ordinary, at the request of the Diocesan or with permission of the Diocesan, may ordain.
(4) The ordained person may be considered for employment in the Diocese of the co-sponsoring Diocesan Bishop or until accepted into the Forces.
(5) If Provincial Postulancy is in effect, then this will be considered. CARRIED #3-2-84
The question of financial assistance for ACPO from the Armed Forces was raised.
Mr. Johns presented a list of three Categories for ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] Assessors. The first is unconditional recommendation. The second and third are now worded so that clarity of assessment is indicated for the Bishop's consideration.
.....is recommended at this time for postulancy. We offer the following observations and suggest particular areas of training and experience to be included in the education and training process.
.....is not recommended at this time for postulancy. We offer the following observations and suggest areas of training and personal growth to be undertaken before further assessment by ACPO or other appropriate evaluation is considered.
.....is not recommended at this time for postulancy. We offer the following observations and suggest other areas of ministry and service which may be more appropriate.
That the proposed new categories be accepted. CARRIED #4-2-84
The number of persons assessed by ACPO from 1980 to 1983 was noted, and it was requested that the Bishops take great care in sending candidates to ACPO.
Letter to Bishop Peters "about your decision last May to reject the ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] recommendations for Edward Rix and Jeffrey Reed and to refuse them postulancy in the Diocese of Nova Scotia on the basis of their position, or lack of a position, on the question of the ordination of women to the priesthood".