Monday, 12 May 2008

Presiding Bishop writes to Primate of Uganda

Updated Thursday evening
Scroll down for the response by Archbishop Orombi

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to Archbishop Henry Orombi.

See Episcopal News Service Ugandan primate’s ‘incursion’ into Georgia violates Windsor Report, Presiding Bishop notes.

Archbishop of Uganda Henry Orombi’s actions to visit a Savannah congregation on May 14 without the invitation of Episcopal Bishop of Georgia Henry Louttit “violate the spirit and letter of the work of the Windsor Report, and only lead to heightened tensions,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote in a May 12 letter to Orombi.
“We are more than willing to receive you for conversation, dialogue, and reconciliation, yet you continue to act without speaking with us,” Jefferts Schori wrote in her letter sent by email. “I hope and pray that you might respond to our invitation and meet with representatives of this Church.”

But noting that Orombi’s planned visit comes without Louttit’s invitation, “I must protest this unwarranted incursion into The Episcopal Church,” Jefferts Schori wrote in her letter.

According to reports, Orombi plans to meet May 14 with clergy and laity who voted in October 2007 to disaffiliate with the Episcopal Church. The group continues to occupy historic Christ Church, Savannah, while the continuing Episcopal congregation meets at Savannah’s Church of St. Michael and All Angels. Christ Church, Savannah, dates from 1733.

The full text of Jefferts Schori’s letter follows.


May 12, 2008

The Most Revd Henry Luke Orombi
Archbishop of Uganda and Bishop of Kampala
PO Box 14123
Kampala
UGANDA
EAST AFRICA

My dear brother,

I understand from advertising here that you plan to visit a congregation in the Diocese of Georgia on 14 May of this year. The diocesan, Bishop Henry Louttit, has not given any invitation for you to do so, nor received any information from you about your planned visit. I must protest this unwarranted incursion into The Episcopal Church. I am concerned that you seem to feel it appropriate to visit, preach, and exercise episcopal ministry within the territory of this Church, and I wonder how you would receive similar behavior in Uganda. These actions violate the spirit and letter of the work of the Windsor Report, and only lead to heightened tensions. We are more than willing to receive you for conversation, dialogue, and reconciliation, yet you continue to act without speaking with us. I hope and pray that you might respond to our invitation and meet with representatives of this Church.

I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

cc:
Bishop Henry Louttit
Archbishop Rowan Williams

Update Thursday evening

Archbishop Henry Orombi has responded to this letter in an email published at Stand Firm which you can read here.

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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | ECUSA
Comments

Archbishop Orombi has to visit his paymasters...it is only common courtesy

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Monday, 12 May 2008 at 10:48pm BST

This letter was apparently sent out at 1AM Ugandan time and then posted on the internet. How very unchristian but very consistent.

And the parish of Christ Church is not part of the diocese of Georgia. The property might be in dispute (the parish holds the title which dates back to prior when the diocese was even formed). Regardless, the parish is under the ecclesiastical oversight of ABp Orombi. Uganda is not in communion with the TEC.

Posted by: robroy on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 12:41am BST

Good. It is time that TEC began to take a tough line with these bounty hunting primates.

Posted by: John Omani on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 3:13am BST

Robroy:

But who besides the parish and Bishop Orombi accept that as fact? And when the parish joined the Diocese of Georgia all those years ago, did they agree to and adopt the canons of said Diocese? (Actually, being that the parish predates the diocese, they must have been a part of some other diocese...can someone check the history, please?) If so, then what it says in the title is no longer valid--the parish, by joining the diocese and acceding to its authority, agreed that it holds title in trust for the diocese.

Oh--and what would you have had PB Jefforts Schori do? Have her staff stay up until the wee hours of the morning, New York time, so they could send the e-mail at 9 AM Ugandan time?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 11:22am BST

Methinks Robroy doth protest too much. Is not TEC in communion with Canterbury? Was not Canterbury CC'd on this letter? Is not Uganda in communion with Canterbury? If so, then how can it be said - with a straight face - that Uganda is not in Communion with TEC through the above connection?

Posted by: ettu on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 12:50pm BST

Christ Church I expect did pre-date the diocese of Georgia and would have been under the bishop of London, not Uganda.

Posted by: Davis d'Ambly on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 2:23pm BST

Pat,
Before the Diocese of Georgia was formed, Christ Church (and all of the colonies) was part of the Diocese of London.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 3:01pm BST

Davis and Jim:

Thank you. I suspected as much, but I wasn't sure if there might have been something like a "Diocese of the South" (or some such) in the early Episcopal Church in the USA, before each state had sufficient parishes and parishioners to need a separate diocese.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 7:27pm BST

Ettu, being in communion, like choosing friends, is not a transitive relationship: I like Joe, Joe likes Mary, but I might detest Mary. This is the sad state of the Anglican "Communion" currently. ++Venables has stated that Southern Cone is not in communion with the TEC. I believe that Uganda is "impaired" communion with the TEC. In particular, clerical orders are not recognized as in the past.

And again communication by posting on the internet is not how Christian leaders act. I am sure that the readers here act with common courtesy lacking in the leaders of the TEC and ACoC.

Posted by: robroy on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 12:31pm BST

Robroy:

As I noted, the non-recognition of clerical orders goes back three decades now, as the provinces that do not ordain women do not recognize the properly ordained female priests from the ones that do.

And, in regard to your last paragraph, the rest of us live in the first decade of the 21st Century, when the Internet is the primary mode of communication of all technologically advanced societies.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 1:33pm BST

Robroy
"Ettu, being in communion, like choosing friends, is not a transitive relationship: I like Joe, Joe likes Mary, but I might detest Mary."

Being in communion has nothing to do with whether you "like" or "dislike" individual people. It's what being part of the body of Christ is about, and you're called to "love" all your neighbours, not decide you only talk to the ones you like.

It's much more like being brothers and sisters. You may not agree with each other, but your relationship isn't defined by that. It's defined solely by the fact that you share the same parents.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 1:40pm BST

"How very unchristian but very consistent."

Oh, you mean like notifying a bishop, one who supports you, late on Christmas Eve that a conference would be held in his diocese without any consultation with him and, when he protests that said conference would be politically very dangerous for him, minimizing that fact, getting all righteous about a pilgrimage, and only acknowledging his concerns after much very public argument? You mean like vilifying people, often bearing false witness against them, on the Internet daily? Glass houses, stones, etc.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 4:04pm BST

Robroy Your definition is not my definition. We could leave it at that but......according to Wikipedia Communion has subheadings and I see even impaired communion among them ... the language is not so imprecise that you can bend it like a pretzel.

Posted by: ettu on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 4:28pm BST

Erika, transitivity is a mathematical descriptor of relationships that may or may not be true. Equality is transitive: A = B, B = C, then A = C. Rock-paper-scissors is non-transitive relationship paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, but scissors beat paper. Similarly friendship AND the Anglican "Communion" are non-transitive relationships. I was not equating friendship with being in communion. But a true communion has all members "in communion" mutually.

Pat, if Jefferts-Schori or Hilz actually wanted to maintain Christian relationships with fellow primates, they would not post such letters on the internet to Venables or Orombi. You are absolutely correct about how the communion has been impaired for some time because of WO. But now the communion is completely broken.

Posted by: robroy on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 4:51pm BST

I take Robroy's initial point to be that the letter was published on the Internet before archbishop Orombi had the opportunity to read it. Technology is not the issue here, it's whether you post publicly before the intended recipient has an opportunity to respond.

As to the building predating the diocese, I have come across churches where the building is not owned by the denomination for various reasons, eg, private build or previously part of another denomination. I don't know whether that is the case here.

The question then ensues whether the geographical territory is what the Bishop of Georgia presides over or whether it is only the relevant congregations under him. As the church is not 'established' in USA as it is in England, the land cannot be carved up into exclusive diocese in the same way. This is also demonstrated by the fact that congregations have 'opted out' of their [geographical] dioceses and joined themselves to other dioceses elsewhere.

I am not familiar with the Windsor Report but maybe that is where the nub of the matter rests.

Posted by: Andy on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 8:57pm BST

"if Jefferts-Schori or Hilz actually wanted to maintain Christian relationships with fellow primates, they would not post such letters on the internet to Venables or Orombi"


No indeed. They should follow the example set by Venables, Orombi, Akinola &c and simply tell outrageous lies on the internet without ever having the basic human decency to communicate directly with those with whom they disagree.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 5:00am BST

The Church is always and everywhere territorial.

In Sweden we even call those congregations who are outside the church (court, military (both formerly under the direct influence of the Calvinist Kings with the Calvinist Court Agenda of 1608), the so called "German" Congregations in the larger cities (radical Lutheran Agendas) non-territorial.

This is how strong the territory principle is ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 7:42am BST

"Territorial" can be compared to tribalism which is a major economic and sociological imperative that - unrecognized tho it may be at times --is central to modern life. One has only to look at the tribal characteristics of sports fans to see this fact - their self chosen chants, dress,food, gatherings. Somehow the liberal and conservative church tribes have diverged so much that their tribes are now at war- and as ususal "all's fair in .... war" Including raiding the "enemy's" villages.

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 12:22pm BST

Tribalism is noting new. Nor is "war".

You had the 17th century Puritans, we had much the same without war, rejecting anything and anybody "church" to the benifit of sectarians and opportunists eager for a career.

It ended with the Abolutist State hostile take-over in 1687.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 5:22pm BST

The incredible thing about GAFCON is that Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya are in impaired communion with Nigeria, as the former have and are pioneers of women priests. Nigeria doesn't even have women lay readers.

I would have included Southern Cone with Nigeria, but the former recently approved women priests when it accepted Canadian dissident parishes.

In fact Nigeria is in impaired communion with Fort Worth and San Joaquim ( Southern Cone) because the latter have women deacons.

THE INCREDIBLE ALICE IN WONDERLAND WORLD OF
"ORTHOODOX "ANGLICANISM....Souhern Cone, San Joaquim is in impaired communion with Canada
( Southern Cone)...they they are all going to GAFCON.

The six million dollar question is, is Bishop Schofield now in impaired communion with Venables for approving women priests in Canada. He would be by Forward in faith standards!!!

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 19 May 2008 at 6:05am BST
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