Thinking Anglicans

African views

Pat Ashworth has two significant reports in today’s Church Times on African views of the Anglican Communion.

LOUD voices from Africa, aided by the “almighty dollar” and internet lobbyists, are distorting the true picture of what Africa’s 37 million Anglicans really think about sexuality and the future of the Anglican Communion, says the Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Revd Musonda Mwamba.

The Bishop, by background a lawyer and social anthropologist, was giving the keynote address to senior judges, lawyers, bishops, and clergy at the Ecclesiastical Law Society conference “The Anglican Communion: Crisis and Opportunity”, in Liverpool at the weekend. The minds of most African Anglicans were concentrated on life-and-death issues, and they were “frankly not bothered about the whole debate on sexuality”, he said…

Read the full report at ‘Listen to the majority African voice of grace’.

THE Bishop of Central Tanganyika, the Rt Revd Godfrey Mdimi Mhogolo, has dissociated his diocese from the statement issued in December by the House of Bishops of Tanzania, the province where the Primates Meeting is to be held this month.

The Bishops declared a “severely impaired” relationship with the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA), and announced that Tanzania would not knowingly accept any money from dioceses, parishes, bishops, and individuals that “condone homosexual practice or bless same-sex unions”. They described ECUSA’s response to the Windsor report as “a failure to register honest repentance for their actions” (News, 15 December).

In a long and reflective letter to the Anglican Communion, dated 26 January, Bishop Mdimi sets out Tanganyika’s position on matters of faith: “We try to express Jesus Christ in the sufferings and challenges of our communities. We cry with those who cry, and bring hope for a better future to those who suffer…

Read the report in full at Gay question is ‘not central to faith’ says Tanzanian bishop.

And the Church Times also has a leader commenting on this: Medicine or surgery? which includes:

…The Windsor process is not yet finished; and so the mechanism for expelling provinces or dioceses from the Communion is not in place — even though, at present, the Archbishop of Canterbury can withdraw his recognition. Judging by the pre-meeting rhetoric, the Global South Primates are not inclined to wait for the bureaucracy to catch up with them. Since their last meeting, the province of Nigeria has developed its mission in the United States — in contravention of the Windsor report. Archbishop Akinola and others believe that they can shun the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, and thus enlarge the gulf between the Episcopal Church in the United States and the rest of the Communion.

It would be helpful if these Primates confirmed whether they are working to kill or cure. The one thing on which those on both sides of the homosexuality divide seem to agree is that the energy this dispute absorbs could be better spent. The analogy of a divorce is often used: the wrangling between two fundamentally incompatible people can cause such grief that they are better apart. The expressions of relief by those on both sides of the split in the diocese of Virginia attests to this…

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Jeremy
Jeremy
13 years ago

We are finally hearing a few African voices echo the words of St. James: “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?….Shew me thy faith without thy works and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

Akinola and his minions are being judged by their works.

Merseymike
13 years ago

But is there really any serious possibility of reconciliation in this instance?

And if not, then surely a split would be preferable – after all, if organic unity was really our priority, then we would all be RC.

NP
NP
13 years ago

Jeremy – if you have not heard this concern for the poor etc before even from Akinola and others you may not agree with, you have not been listening

Tim
Tim
13 years ago

Merseymike writes: “And if not, then surely a split would be preferable – after all, if organic unity was really our priority, then we would all be RC.”

Good point. Well yes. You do the Anglican thing and hold the views in tension, don’t you?

Just requires everyone to wake up, smell the pheromones and realise that that’s what’s required. Until then, it’s a form of shortsightedness coupled with too much publicity that threatens to tear things apart (in two senses).

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

NP, Given that +Mwamba describes +Akinola’s voice as “a voice relatively quiet in speaking out on life-and-death issues of poverty, AIDS, and responsible governance” there is perhaps some excuse for not being able to hear him. I am more interested in what you think of the two articles giving the opinions of bishops other than +Akinola, and why you use the language of warfare and conflict, mixed with anger and aggression, to speak of what must surely be a difference of understanding in how we are all called to live out the Gospel. Both sides are suspicious of the Christianity… Read more »

laurence
laurence
13 years ago

Ah the voice of sanity — of African clarity.

Maduka
Maduka
13 years ago

We must understand where the African bishops are coming from. The most vocal in opposition to homosexuality are the bishops who live in “borderline states”. By this I mean states in which an aggressive expansion of Christianity is being met with an equally aggressive expansion of Islam. (Example, Nigeria). The crisis in the Anglican Communion is no secret, it is all over the media. Radical Islamists have access to the same media. Whatever position the Anglican Communion takes on homosexuality has consequences on Nigerian christians who live in constant danger of radical Islam. We lack any real dialogue. There has… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

Jeremy Don’t let them rattle you. Like reverence for Creation and the environment, they have gotten onto the band wagon that God cares about the poor and oppressed. God set them up. God told souls like me to shut up back in the 1980s and left these priests to develop their theology and bring it to fruition. Then God moved. Recently they have gone from denying the need to care for the things of this world to acting like they’ve been doing it all along. Some people have been doing it all along, but they had been dismissed and discounted… Read more »

Dave
Dave
13 years ago

Kill or cure? TEC has adequately shown over that last few years that they won’t take the medicine that could cure them!!

Instead they are denying that there is anything wrong with what they are doing, threatening dissenters, and preparing a post-Anglican plan “B”.

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

“TEC has adequately shown over that last few years that they won’t take the medicine that could cure them!!”

Yeah, Dave, we LGBT Episcopalians know all about your (supposed) “cures” for us.

No thanks: we’ll just stick to following Jesus! 🙂

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonardo Ricardo
13 years ago

“Kill or cure? TEC has adequately shown over that last few years that they won’t take the medicine that could cure them!!” Dave

As if you had the wisdom, witness or the heart to determine what could cure anyone of anything other than a severe attack of your self-righteousness while inflicting nonsense on the rest of us!

Jeremy
Jeremy
13 years ago

I’m afraid I don’t understand what “medicine” TEC should have chosen to take…or what medicine would be forced down the gullet by those who seem to know what is best for TEC. Further, those who are drawing up a “Plan B” are conservatives who then cry “foul!” when canonical and legal action are applied rightly and responsibly. Dissent always comes with a price, and that price is paid by both sides. How anyone would expect to simply waltz away from TEC, hijacking parishes and dragging valuables with them is beyond me. Similarly, TEC is bound to have to pay a… Read more »

Harvard Man
Harvard Man
13 years ago

One dose of ‘medicine’ that TEC could have taken, would have been to refrain from actions that the majority of Communion members and the ABC request not be taken. If we’re in ‘communion’ we should respect the prayerful requests of other communicants on such matters, until a consensus for change in our faith is developed. TEC is implicitly stating it prefers to go it alone vs waiting on moving forward with its innovations. That is the choice TEC has made, now we just have to all sort out the fallout. For those of us who requested a delay in moving… Read more »

Colin Coward
13 years ago

The problem with Harvard Man’s suggestion (and he is not alone) is that the ABC requested something from TEC knowing perfectly well that the Church of England has many priests like myself who are gay, have a commitment to fidelity in monogamous life long relationships, but no call to celibacy (which is a very particular charism). The ABC was my tutor at theological college. I wasn’t ordained into a church 30 years ago in which I was asked about my sexuality or my sexual activity as a gay man, nor was I asked to wait 30 years for the publication… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

“… the majority of Communion members”.

The majority of Communion Primates, surely.

laurence
laurence
13 years ago

‘One dose of ‘medicine’ that TEC could have taken, would have been to refrain from actions that the majority of Communion members and the ABC request not be taken. If we’re in ‘communion’ we should respect the prayerful requests of other communicants on such matters, until a consensus for change in our faith is developed..’

“We must obey GOD rather than men.”

Dave
Dave
13 years ago

Colin Coward wrote: “I wasn’t ordained into a church 30 years ago in which I was asked about my sexuality or my sexual activity as a gay man, nor was I asked to wait 30 years for the publication of the Windsor Report before I could know what Anglican Communion policy is/was on my expression of love in relationship.” Dear Colin, The GS87 and Lambeth98 resolutions, and the Windsor report, are responses to people trying to reject Church teachings, not the *new* fundamentalist imposition you are imagining! And ordination 30 years ago would have included the commitment to model your… Read more »

Harvard Man
Harvard Man
13 years ago

Laurence,

Thank you for your comment, and of course it is God we must obey. I’m not suggesting we obey anyone else, but also that we not force others to agree with us if, after much prayerful discussion and ‘listening’, we do not agree. How is a unilateral action, against wishes of fellow believers, Godly? Isn’t that arrogant of the West to believe it knows best as compared to these primitive Global South believers?

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

“refrain from actions that the majority of Communion members and the ABC request not be taken” Nice euphemism, Harvard Man—now, let’s unpack it. * Don’t evaluate Gene Robinson as you would the other 10 bishop-elects named at GC ’03 * Don’t lay your hands on him, praying for him * Don’t seat him at the House of Bishops * Above, do NOT let the Episcopalian faithful of New Hampshire choose the person *they* believe best to serve them as chief pastor —all because those divided by an ocean (and/or the 21st century, e.g. Pittsburgh ;-/) are running their own houses… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

Yes, had Hong Kong, Canada, New Zealand, TEC and the C of E waited rather than proceeded with the ordination of women until Rome would officially recognizes women as worthy subjects, or matter, for ordination, women would still be subservient to men, and the provinces’ failure to act would have reduced Anglicanism to a JOKE. Now gays are to return to the closet rather than be open about their sexuality to gain the approbation of the ‘fundagelicals’ of the ilk of ++Peter Jasper Akinola and of the Vatican. Is living a LIE in accord with the Gospel? Thank God for… Read more »

Colin Coward
13 years ago

Dear Dave, GS87,Lambeth resolution 1.10 and the Windsor report might be responses to people trying to reject Church teachings. They might also be attempts to suppress something which has always been a natural human phenomenon, outside and inside the church. I am not imagining a new fundamentalist imposition. I have seen church attitudes change as people, possibly like yourself, discovered a variety of Christian teaching and practice which has always been part of the historic church, and have been shocked by what they discovered. Ordination 30 years ago did include a commitment to model my life on the Christian way… Read more »

ruidh
ruidh
13 years ago

“God is love and where true love is, God himself is there.”

There is true love in some of the same-sex partnerships I’ve knows. And it was very clear to me that God was there as well. These were marriages in the true sense. It matters not that the church or the state doesn’t recognize them as such. All that matters is does God and the partners recognize it as such. Since we’re really talking about sex within a marriage, the traditional standard of sexual activity appropriate to one’s state of marriage is satisfied.

laurence
laurence
13 years ago

I was touched by the last 3 or 4 posts here. I hope that though this thread seems to be ‘tailing off’ now, that many people can read them, Clear, moing and inspired. And Colin’s a testimony to his own journey and discoveries. And ruidh ‘s evocation of true marriages ….

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