Let’s imagine that the bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) decide that they want to end the practice of ordaining women to the priesthood, something I find very unlikely. How would they set this change into motion?
First, the Provincial Council would have to adopt an amendment to the Constitution and Canons. What is the Provincial Council? It is the governing body, made up of a bishop, a member of the clergy, and two lay persons from each diocese. I don’t know who sits on it now.
Next, a two-thirds vote of the Provincial Assembly is required to ratify the amendment. What is the Provincial Assembly? It is, “…composed of laity, Clergy and Bishops….Each Diocese, at a minimum, shall be represented by its Bishop or Bishops and two (2) members of the Clergy and two (2) lay persons. One (1) additional lay person and one (1) additional member of the Clergy may be added for each additional full one thousand (1,000) ASA of the Diocese” (Canon 2, Section 3).
A couple sections of the ACNA Constitution that are relevant:
ARTICLE VI: THE PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLY
2. The Provincial Assembly shall ratify Constitutional amendments and Canons adopted by the Provincial Council. The process of ratification is set forth by canon.
ARTICLE XV: ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT OF THIS CONSTITUTION
2. This Constitution may be amended by the Provincial Assembly by two-thirds of the members present and voting at any regular or special meeting called for that purpose. Any changes or amendments to the Constitution shall not become effective in less than ninety days following that meeting.