The decision to exclude the Anglican Church of Canada from two Anglican Consultative committees on which it does not sit is regrettable in principle but will have no practical effect, says Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Primate of the Canadian church.
"We do regret the decision, although we note it was adopted by an extremely narrow margin," Archbishop Hutchison said. "Had out members and our American colleagues been allowed their vote, it would have failed. We regret that the Anglican Consultative Council made such a decision in a forum in which we are not being allowed to participate an in which we have no voice. There is, after all, a pretty fundamental democratic principle that says that when decisions are made that affect you, you are allowed to speak to them".
Archbishop Hutchison added: "Our hope is that the discussions and debates of the past few days will provide impetus for the discussion about homosexuality and the role of gays and lesbians in the church to begin in those parts of the Anglican Communion where they have not yet begun."
The Consultative Council approved a motion affirming a request made by the Primates of the Anglican Communion last February  that the Canadian and U.S. churches "voluntarily withdraw" their members from the meeting now underway.
The affirming motion stipulated, however, that the Primates' request that the Canadian and U.S. churches withdraw from the ACC should be interpreted as including participation on the standing committee, which meets between triennial sessions of the full council, and inter-Anglican finance and administration committee.
Neither Canada nor the United States have members on those two committees and since their members at this meeting are not participants, they are not eligible for election.
Earlier in the meeting, in response to another request made by the Primates, representatives of the Canadian church made a presentation explaining where it is on the controversial issue of blessing same-sex unions. The U.S. church made a similar presentation explaining how it came to consecrate an openly gay man as bishop.
Archbishop Hutchison, who is scheduled to return to Canada today, said he would be making a full report to the Canadian Church in a statement that will be issued early next week.
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"An attempt to eject Anglicans from the US and Canada from all meetings of the Anglican Communion for the next three years was narrowly defeated on Wednesday". "The ACC [Anglican Consultative Council] delegates went into a closed session on Wednesday afternoon, which stretched an hour over time. Eventually it emerged that they had held a secret ballot about the clause. It was rejected by 30 votes to 28, with four abstentions". "The original resolution had been proposed by Stanley Isaacs (South East Asia), and supported by representatives from several other African provinces, among them the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, Primate of Nigeria. The only English supporter was Elizabeth Paver". "The other significant vote on Wednesday was to change the ACC constitution to include the 37 Primates as ex-officio members. The move will increasing the member from 70 to 115, and tip the balance heavily towards ordained members".