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.)
Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan gave a brief update since the last meeting of the House of Bishops. (At the last meeting of the House, the bishops worked on a document of recommendations about the discernment of ministry, written by the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee at the request of the bishops. The proposals were to go to the Council of General Synod for its approval.) She distributed a document outlining the actions of the Council of General Synod and the recommendations which it accepted as ACPO [Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination] guidelines. The House was asked for its approval of those guidelines.
"That the document be approved by the House of Bishops." CARRIED
Bishop Tottenham as the Episcopal representative requested that the members submit to her the name of their ACPO secretary in time for the November meeting of the ACPO committee.
[Document No.] 006-18-97-11
Recommendations of the Consultation on Discernment for Ordained Ministry
A. Concerning the Role and Governance of ACPO
1. ACPO is advisory to bishops. We recommend that ACPO continue as a national process, accountable to the House of Bishops. We recommend that the budget should be set by the Council of General Synod and administered for the House of Bishops through the Primate's office.
2. There are 4 arenas of discernment: the parish, the diocese, the theological college/training institution, and ACPO. While each arena of discernment will assess a wide range of criteria and gifts, each has an area of particular responsibility. It is the primary responsibility of the parish to assess a candidate in the areas of spirituality, leadership, and Christian lifestyle. It is the primary responsibility of each diocese to assess the particular gifts of the candidate in the context of its own diocesan needs and ministries. It is the primary responsibility of the training institution/theological college to assess competency in academic and professional skills. It is the primary responsibility of ACPO to assess for the wider church on issues related to character, charisms, and call to ordered ministry.
3. ACPO's primary task is to assess for suitability for postulancy for the priesthood. ACPO can identify areas in which the candidate needs to grow.
4. It is the responsibility of the diocese and training institution/theological college to make decisions about programs of education and formation suitable both for the candidate and for the particular form of ministry for which he/she is preparing.
5. In order to facilitate clear accountability and structure, we recommend that ACPOs be established and held accountable to the House of Bishops through Provincial structures, e.g. the Metropolitan and Provincial House of Bishops. We recommend that each Province have on ACPO coordinating group, consisting of a bishop, Secretary and lay assessor. We recommend that the bishop be chosen by the Metropolitan, and that the Secretary and the lay assessor be chosen by the Provincial Council. The suggested length of term is three years, renewable once, and we recommend staggered appointments.
6. We recommend the establishment of a national ACPO coordinating group which would include the members of the co-ordinating group from each Province.
7. A pool of assessors needs to be maintained in each Province by the Secretary and the lay assessor, on nominations by the dioceses. The pool needs to be diverse, including individuals representative of and/or sensitive to the varieties of cultures present in the Province, and familiar with the diverse forms of ordered and lay ministry present and evolving within the Province.
8. Training for assessors is essential. General standards for this training need to be set by the national co-ordinating group. Detailed standards need to be developed by the Provincial co-ordinating group (bishop, Secretary, lay assessor). Training should include an exploration of the assumptions assessors are bringing to the task, developing clarity and consensus about the task, the theology of the priesthood as found in the ordinals, cultural sensitivity training, sensitivity to the particular ministries and cultures in the Province, discernment processes and skills, sexual harassment training, and confidentiality.
9. We recommend that the "Checklist of Indicators" presently in use by ACPO be revised as amended (Appendix "C"). This Checklist is to be used by ACPO assessors in their evaluation of candidates, and is commended to other arenas of discernment for their use.
10. Extraordinary care needs to be taken in the various processes of discernment for the selection and screening of postulants for the ordained ministry around the issues of power, trust, sexual harassment and abuse.
11. It is the responsibility of the national coordinating group to set standards for background checks, reference checks and psychological testing. These would normally be undertaken by dioceses. It is the responsibility of Provinces to ensure that appropriate information arising from these is communicated to the Secretary before the ACPO event.
12. The entire process needs to be communicated clearly to the candidate at every stage, including the fact that there are no guarantees that approval at any stage will lead to ordination and/or employment. Recommendations from each arena need to be clearly communicated to each of the other arenas, stating what is affirmed, what recommendations for the future are being made, and if the candidate is recommended for postulancy to the priesthood or not.
13. We recommend that, in general, the ACPO contribution occur at an early stage of the overall discernment process, although diverse individual and contextual circumstances may result in individuals attending ACPO at different stages in the process.
Supplementary with respect to the "Interim Report" and "Recommendations" of the Consultation on Discernment for Ordained Ministry: some members of FWM suggested that further consideration be given to the following matters regarding ACPO:
- "Interim Report,"[Section] D. We need to develop our theology of ordained ministry. This section seemed to some to set the Prayer Book understanding of ordination in an unjustifiably severe opposition to the understanding of the Book of Alternative Services. We think that there is more theological convergence than this approach suggests. Recommendations as to how ACPO can be used and what its criteria of judgment will be, will naturally depend on a prior theology of ministry.
- "Recommendations", [Section] A,2. We should reaffirm that it is the bishop who makes the final decision whether to ordain a candidate. ACPO, candidates committees, examining chaplains, parishes, theological colleges, and so on, all indeed contribute to the process of discernment, but we should be careful not to write as if they have final authority in any decision about ordination.
- "Recommendations, [Section] A,2. Those helping candidates in the process of discernment should talk to each other. The "Recommendations" seemed to envision that the four "arenas of discernment" had different tasks and worked independently.
- "Recommendations, [Section] A,3. ACPO should help persons in a process of vocational discernment. The report seems to envision that persons will come to ACPO with a clear sense of calling, and that ACPO's job will be to assess the call to ordained ministry. But some persons cannot claim a calling without the kind of self-examination and reflection which a different kind of ACPO process might assist. At present such persons are asked to defer ACPO for a year or two while they work out their sense of calling for themselves, and the result is that they come to ACPO as they are about to finish their studies, which reduces the usefulness of ACPO. Assessment as such should not be part of ACPO's task. Assessment is better left to something like the current system of evaluations by seminaries, field placements, internships, CPE supervisors, examining chaplains, and so on. ACPO assessors have a very limited exposure to candidates and are not in a position to assess their skills and aptitudes.
- "Recommendations," [Section] A,9. The "checklist of indicators" needs to be rethought. It needs to reflect a clearer, more generally agreed, and more theologically informed understanding of ordained ministry. It will be of limited use in discernment of vocation (as opposed to assessment of skills and aptitudes).
- "Recommendations", [Section] A,11. Psychological testing should not be part of ACPO. It might be recommended in particular cases. One problem is the potential for legal issues involving confidentiality and the civil rights of candidates. Another problem is that to choose an approach to psychological testing is to choose from among a variety of modern theories about human personality, and the Church might well be reluctant to commit itself to a particular school of modern psychological thought.
General. Recruitment is vital. ACPO cannot be expected to provide the Church with good ministers. Conversely, the problems of ministry in the Church today are not likely to be solved by a better ACPO. Bishops, parishes, and other leaders should be encouraged to identify and recruit those who may have gifts for the work of ordained ministry. Unfortunately, if the system for discernment and assessment is complex, cumbersome, and overly procedural, it may be hard to attract the best prospective candidates. The Church needs to put more energy into attracting talent, as opposed to screening out mediocrity.
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.
Bishop Phillips spoke to the House of Bishops about making an allowance for a diocesan alternative to the Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO) process in discerning candidates for ordination. He reminded the bishops that he had previously raised the issue at their meeting in the Fall of 2001, and that he had done so because he had the impression that "there are emerging models and ministry contexts in our Church today that the present ACPO design could not have anticipated and for which different processes might be more appropriate". Since then that he had written a report, which had gone to the Provincial ACPO Secretaries. They responded by encouraging him to continue to work on the issue and then report to the House of Bishops. Bishop Phillips said, he had done so in consultation with Bishop Matthews, Provincial ACPO Secretary for Rupert's Land. He indicated that the intention of his proposal was to have a local option available as an alternative, and not as the norm. Bishop Matthews agreed that there was a need for a wider assessment model. She cautioned that it was important to avoid creating two completely different streams of discernment which functioned entirely without references to the other. Bishop Matthews proposed that one way of keeping the two connected would be for the local assessors to report to the Provincial ACPO secretaries in their regions. A discussion followed. The Primate said he felt the conversation had been very helpful and that he hoped there might be a motion about a local option put before the bishops before their meeting concluded. A motion was put before the House later in the meeting.
"That this House supports the proposal to permit the development of diocesan-level ACPOs by dioceses which are developing alternate ministry models of priesthood (e.g. "Total", "Local" ministry); that these diocesan-level ACPOs be linked to their Provincial ACPO, and that the bishops involved in this process make a progress report to the House of Bishops in three years time. Further, it is recommended that Diocesan ACPO's include Provincial ACPO assessors from outside the host diocese; that reports from such ACPOs be sent to the Provincial ACPO Secretary and that once in each triennium, the ACPO Secretary review the Diocesan ACPO process." CARRIED Res. #HB-03-10-01
That the following Statement of Policy be accepted by the House of Bishops, for the time being. CARRIED #3-6-83
1. Anglican clergy who have abandoned the Anglican Church of Canada in order to exercise their ministry in some church with which the Anglican Church of Canada in not in communion, should be considered to have abandoned the exercise of their ministry and be deposed. (This is in accordance with the practice of the Episcopal Church of America.)
2. Clergy who have abandoned the Anglican Communion but wish to return to the Anglican Church of Canada will be subject to the normal discipline applying to those who have been deposed and wish to resume their ministry. This applies only to clergy who have not been admitted to any other Order than that in which they stood when they abandoned the Anglican Communion.
3. Clergy of churches with which the Anglican Church of Canada is in full communion, or have been ordained in churches whose Orders are not questioned by the Anglican Church of Canada and who after being associated with the Anglican/Catholic Church of Canada desire to exercise their ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada will not be required to undergo further ordination or conditional ordination.
4. The Anglican Church of Canada has made no statement about its position with respect to the validity of the Orders of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. Any such statement should be in accord with the practices of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America, whose officers should be informed of our actions in this respect. For the immediate future the Anglican Church of Canada will require ministers ordained in Anglican Catholic Church of Canada or its sister body in the United States of America to be conditionally ordained before exercising a ministry in the Anglican Church of Canada.
"The Anglican Church of Canada is a national body that has never had national guidelines describing its expectations of clergy. That's about to change, however, thanks to a far-reaching new document called 'Competencies for Ordination to the Priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada'. Arising out of General Synod 2010, this document will be an important measuring stick for discerning vocation for the priesthood and supporting ordained clergy in lifelong learning". "The broad scope of priestly proficiencies cover five core categories: personal and spiritual formation; Christian heritage and Anglican identity; cultural and social context; capacity for leadership; and skills for teaching and learning". "Endorsed by CoGS in March , 'Competencies' will go to General Synod 2013 in July. If the guidelines are approved, it's not clear what authority they will have or whether or not they can compel action. The Rev. Canon Todd Townshend, dean of theology at Huron University College in London, Ont., concedes that these competencies set the bar high, but says that 'good priestly leadership requires many gifts".
Eight page insert (1-8) with May 2013 issue of Anglican Journal. Anglican Church of Canada Ministry Report. Insert produced by Resources for Mission Dept.
"The gathering of the Anglican response to B.E.M. was undertaken by the Inter-Church and Inter-Faith Relations Committee of General Synod in consultation with the Ministry Committee and the Doctrine and Worship Committee. Following its approval by Inter-Church and Inter-Faith Relations in November, 1985 the National Executive Council agreed to forward this statement to the World Council of Churches as the 'initial response' of the Anglican Church of Canada". -- p. 21.
Contents divided into sections: What the process has been in our Province -- The Questions -- General Comments -- Question One: the extent to which your church can recognize in this text the faith of the Church through the ages -- Question Two: The consequences your church can draw from this text for its relations and dialogues with other churches -- Question Three: The guidance your church can take from this text for its worship, educational, ethical, and spiritual life and witness -- Question Four: The suggestions your church can make for the ongoing work of Faith and Order -- Conclusion.
Whereas there is need for clarification of the positions of deacons and deaconesses in the Anglican Church of Canada, be it resolved:
that the Primate be requested to initiate a study of all aspects of the diaconate, including requirements for ordination, the character of the office, the duties, the status and the permanency, with the effect which various uses of the diaconate would have on the Service of the Ordering of
Deacons and of Deaconesses, and to report to the next General Synod. CARRIED in both Houses.