The role of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) is to facilitate the co-operative work of the churches of the Anglican Communion, exchange information between the Provinces and churches, and help to co-ordinate common action. It advises on the organisation and structures of the Communion, and seeks to develop common policies with respect to the world mission of the Church, including ecumenical matters. The ACC membership includes from one to three persons from each province. Where there are three members, there is a bishop, a priest and a lay person. Where fewer members are appointed, preference is given to lay membership.
The ACC is one of the four Instruments of Communion that serve the world wide family of Anglican/Episcopal churches the Archbishop of Canterbury being the 'Focus for Unity'. They are:
The ACC was formed following a resolution of the 1968 Lambeth Conference which discerned the need for more frequent and more representative contact among the Churches than was possible through a once-a-decade conference of bishops. The constitution of the Council was accepted by the general synods or conventions of all the Member Churches of the Anglican Communion. The Council came into being in October 1969.
The ACC meets every two or three years and its present policy is to meet in different parts of the world. Since it began there have been thirteen meetings of the Council:
Membership of the ACC is determined by the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, section 7, and the Schedule of Membership. Members are appointed or elected by their Province for a maximum of 3 Meetings, or six years, whichever is longer, or for such shorter period as the appointing body shall determine.
A member remains a member until immediately prior to the meeting at which his or her successor takes his or her place (ACC 4, Resolution 28). The current members of the ACC are those who participated in the most recent meeting of the ACC (Kingston 2009 ).
The Anglican Consultative Council has a permanent secretariat, based in London, which also serves the other Instruments of Communion. The secretariat is responsible for organising all meetings of the conciliar Instruments of Communion, as well as the Commissions and Networks of the Communion. Funding comes from the Inter-Anglican budget, supported by all member churches according to their means. The ACO is based at Saint Andrew's House, London, under the leadership of the Secretary General, Canon Kenneth Kearon.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the president. The current chairman of the ACC is the Rt Revd James Tengatenga Bishop of Southern Malawi. The Secretary General serves as the secretary of the ACC meetings.