THINKING ANGLICANS

Lambeth: telling it like it is

Pat Ashworth at the Church Times blog has interviewed the Bishop of Botswana, read it in full here.

THE FURORE over the Archbishop of Sudan’s comments last week is dying down: a bit of excitement that grabbed all the headlines, including our own. The story is moving on. But many have since observed that the official statement on sexuality that came from the Sudanese House of Bishops (and with which 17 provinces concurred) did not contain a call for Gene Robinson’s resignation. That came in the afternoon press conference, a day after the statement was put into circulation.

Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia was one of those expressing puzzlement. “We had a meeting of six to eight American bishops with Sudanese bishops, all having diocesan links. It was a very helpful meeting because we respect and appreciate the Sudanese position and at the same time welcome their commitment to remain in relationship with us: we accept that we have much to learn from them and they seem to welcome our participation in their lives,” he said on Saturday.

“Archbishop Deng Bul made it clear at the press conference. He was asked what he would do if he were Gene Robinson. It was a speculative question and he said if he was Gene Robinson, he would resign. It was not a formal call from the Sudanese bishops. He did not repeat that to us as a demand at all.”

The Bishop of Botswana, Trevor Mwamba, was even more forthright on the discrepancy between the statement and the views expressed later by Archbishop Deng. “My personal view is that it wasn’t helpful at all. I can understand where they are coming from in being in a Muslim context. But having said that, I am also aware that somebody organised that position. In the context of the conference it’s regrettable that it was done but here are other factors at play and we need to name those factors.

“We are using each other at times for ends which are not constructive. That’s just one example of people being used. Another is that people are continuously talking up the absence of our brothers from four African provinces from this meeting. But the point is that a lot of those brothers of ours – 200 is a nice round figure – would have wanted to come here. That’s important to say.”

Bishop Mwamba described the situation as it had been in Uganda, “where a special Synod is organised and provision passed which would penalise any bishop coming to the Lambeth Conference. That denied freedom of expression in terms of any individual bishop. The invitation to Lambeth is in the gift of the archbishop and it is up to a particular bishop, not a particular province, to say I will come or I won’t come.

“What are we saying about our leadership styles? It was the same in Nigeria- many would have been glad to come. So when they say 200 of our brothers have boycotted the conference – definitely no. Maybe given the freedom, one or two would have stayed behind. It must be clearly understood: the reason why they didn’t come is that they were forced not to come.” He finds it therefore a paradox that while they stay at home, some of the American allies who have been working with them – for example, Bishop Robert Duncan and others – are here…

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Göran Koch-SwahneMalcolm+Ruth GledhillpenwatchMKP Recent comment authors
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Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

I think it is not odd at all that Duncan and others of that ilk are at Lambeth while their African allies are not. I expect it’s easier to keep a few people on message than to risk having everyone present and able to actually speak their own minds.

robroy
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robroy

Mwamba was a celebrated guest at the Trinity Wall Street – “Buy an African bishop” meeting in Madrid last year. He, quite simply, is compromised goods, tainted with American lucre. He is also a main player on the attempt to foist the British homosexualist as bishop on the diocese of Lake Malawi. There are disturbing unanswered questions of how these two were related to the poisoning death of missionary Rodney Hunter.

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

Again….I keep hearing undertones of worrying about what the Muslims think from the prelates in countries with high populations of such, or in “places where Christians are on the defensive..”. Is this a classic case of “co-dependency”? Is this leadership? Is this Christianity?

It amazes me that we are worried about a collection of bishops who made an active and conscious decision to not attend Lambeth and yet readily “use” our LGBT brethren “for ends that are not constructive”, who are also very deliberately absent.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Hmm, two aspects of Bishop Mwamba’s comments immediately strike me, telling. One is that he says the rest of the truth that was supposed to be spin doctored out of awareness – many bishops from Africa did not attend under duress from their own varied mix of threats, policing, punishments. Fundamentally proto-Islamic, yet a missed chance to talk about the gospel of grace and freedom that has long existed in tension with iterations of sacred law and legalisms of all sorts in our traditions. Thanks to the bishop for being honest enough, and brave enough to tell the rest of… Read more »

cryptogram
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cryptogram

Bishop Mwamba is unusual in featuring in a series of novels – the “No 1 Ladies Detective Agency” series by Alexander McCall Smith. Smith clearly has his finger on the pulse in Botswana, and is quite explicit that by and large, in that country Nigerians are seen as arrogant and overbearing. I find it very interesting that much of what Bp Mwamba has said over recent months reinforces that perception. It makes one wonder at the extent of the skullduggery behind his deposition as Provincial Dean by Archbishop Malango, and just whose strings were being pulled from where.

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“Mwamba was a celebrated guest at the Trinity Wall Street – “Buy an African bishop” meeting in Madrid last year. He, quite simply, is compromised goods, tainted with American lucre.”

Oh, now I understand, robroy. American lucre from liberal parishes, bad; American lucre from conservative parishes, good.

francisjon
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francisjon

I’ve just been reading Gerry O’Collins excellent book, ‘Second Age’. In it he quotes words of Charles Davis as to what led him to leave the RC Church: ‘Words were used not to communicate truth, but as a means of preserving authority without regard for truth. Words were manipulated as a means of power.’ He noted a similar degradation and debasement of language both in ‘papal encyclicals and documents from the Roman Congregations’ and ‘the pastoral letters of bishops’ and ‘even many ordinary parochial sermons.’ ‘All reflect a similar corruption.’ … ‘I see now how twisted and inhibited my mind… Read more »

mark217
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mark217

For over a decade a flood of statements from various groups and individuals have been released or promoted within the Anglican churches. Some of the statements, recommendations, and resolutions have been spontaneous or off-the-cuff. Others are after the solmenn deliberation and votes of various special interest groups (claiming endorsement of Almighty God or Scripture). These statements and resolutions prompt more statements with reactions, recrimination, outrage, anger, or agreement. And the Internet has made these statements widely available. Archbishop Deng hasn’t said anything new or anything less boring. The most sane and wise action –recently– has been the decision not to… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“Buy an African bishop”

???

I swear, robroy, you are BEYOND parody!

[In all seriousness, I can assure you that your SLANDER of Bishop Mwamba will mean about as much here as Tunde Popoola’s SLANDER of Davis Mac-Iyalla: i.e., not one whit. >:-/]

WilliamK
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WilliamK

“robroy” refers to “the British homosexualist”. Is a “homosexualist” something different than a “homosexual”?????

Jerry Hannon
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Jerry Hannon

Robroy, attempting to malign the good Bishop of Botswana, wrote: “He is also a main player on the attempt to foist the British homosexualist as bishop on the diocese of Lake Malawi.” Homosexualist???? Does that mean that Robroy is a totalitarianist? Give us a break, sir/madam! What has been most intriguing to me, over the past few years, is the incredible qualitative differences between bishops from various African nations. Many, such as many bishops from Nigeria and its close allies in central Africa, with their national cultures & histories, and with related religious cultures that match the arrogance and interference… Read more »

JPM
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JPM

If anyone ever wondered if there was any such thing as a slander too vile for robroy to repeat, I think we have our answer now.

BillyD
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BillyD

“There are disturbing unanswered questions of how these two were related to the poisoning death of missionary Rodney Hunter.”

Leviticus 19:16 – look it up, robroy.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“Is a “homosexualist” something different than a “homosexual”?????”

This is a favorite locution of David Virtue.

I believe, using the analogy of words like ‘philatelist’ or ‘numismatist’, that a homosexualist is one who studies, collects, categorizes, and sometimes buys, sells, or trades homosexuals.

Mr. Virtue, therefore, who obsessively studies and categorizes homosexuals {although I don’t think he collects, buys, sells, or trades them) is by this defination by analogy, a major homosexualist.

MKP
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MKP

“He is also a main player on the attempt to foist the British homosexualist as bishop on the diocese of Lake Malawi. There are disturbing unanswered questions of how these two were related to the poisoning death of missionary Rodney Hunter.”

Just where is the evidence for this Robroy? Could you perhaps be a confident of the retired Bishop of Upper Shire perhaps??

penwatch
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penwatch

Robroy’s comments about Bishop Trevor Mwamba and the death of Canon Rodney Hunter in Malawi must rank as some of the silliest and most libelous posted on this blogsite for some time. The facts are that Hunter was not poisoned, he died of bowel cancer for which he had a major operation. When he died a suspended priest named Denis Kayamba accused Hunter’s loyal and faithful cook and one other of ‘poisoning’ Hunter, with no evidence whatsoever – (Ruth Gledhill of the Times mischievously ran this story uncritically). They were both immediately imprisoned – subsequently the other man was released… Read more »

Ruth Gledhill
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Ref the above, just to make it clear, I wrote about Hunter’s death after two men had been arrested and charged. The above comment might give the impression that the men were charged partly as a result of a story I wrote, which is not the case.

Malcolm+
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robroy’s rarely, if ever, brings facts to bear. All he contributes to the debate is serial slander and ad hominem attacks. Here is what we know. The Diocese of Lake Malawi chose a bishop. He was, despite robroy’s lies, not “foisted” on them by anyone. The then-Primate of Central Africa engineered a failure of the necesssary consents, using accusations of a gay-positive position as a wedge issue. The then-Primate proceeded to sack Mwamba as Dean of the Province on the grounds that he was not sufficiently homophobic. Now, with the retirement of the then Primate, his loyalists continue to sideline… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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Malcolm+ wrote:” The Diocese of Lake Malawi chose a bishop. He was, despite Robroy’s lies, not “foisted” on them by anyone.”

As I remember he had as Vicar of Ealing (where once I lived for a while) been working with Malawi for many years on various projects. What was held against him by the then-Primate was his membership (Dictatorship-wise !) in The Modern Church Peoples Union, a 19th century Anglican discussion club). Sweet.