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