Thinking Anglicans

African bishops conference: last reports

Updated yet again Tuesday evening

ENS has a report by Matthew Davies African bishops look to the future, commit to leading the church in the 21st century.

New Vision carried Bishops condemn corruption.

Daily Monitor had Love your culture, say African bishops.

Christian Post has Anglican Bishops in Africa Issue Communiqué.

Spero News has a report in this article (scroll down) Kenyan Christians greet the new Constitution.

Episcopal Café has An end to the myth of a monolithic Africa

A report about a letter from some bishops of the provinces of Central Africa and South Africa to the other bishops who attended the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa meeting has been floating around the internet for a few days. We haven’t published it previously because we were unable to verify it, but now, courtesy of Anglican Information, we have. Their version follows…

Some commentary on all this:

Mark Harris The Fault Line Runs Right Through Here: And when is the Anglican quake?

Jim Naughton On not blaming the media for covering the sexuality struggle

Tuesday updates

Episcopal Café has the full text of the letter from the Provinces of Central Africa and Southern Africa. See here. Text of letter reproduced below the fold.

And now it also has a transcript of an interview with ACNA archbishop, Robert Duncan, see What ACNA Archbishop Duncan wants which includes this:

VOL: What do you see as the future of Anglicanism in North America with ACNA?

DUNCAN: The only future for ACNA, as the only future for Anglicanism, is the kind of confessional Anglicanism as represented in the Jerusalem Declaration. The clarity with which the GAFCON/FCA primates have admitted me as a primate among them also reveals something of the trajectory we are on.

TEXT OF LETTER FROM CENTRAL AFRICA and SOUTHERN AFRICA

We are gathered here for the All Africa Bishops Conference, Entebbe, Uganda 23 -29 August 2010; at a critical time in the life of the Anglican Church in Africa and the wider Anglican Communion. We hold dear the gift of the Anglican Communion and its Institutions with the Archbishop of Canterbury as our head. We seek to preserve its traditions.

We are grateful to God for the theme of this Conference: Securing the Future: Unlocking our Potential (Hebrew 12: 1-2). The purpose of which is to be pro-active in addressing the ills that beset Africa such as poverty, wars, bad governance, HIV and AIDS, and, environmental issues. The focus of this Conference is therefore about making the Anglican Church in Africa relevant in this context.

We are mindful that the Anglican Communion is under severe strain because of certain actions taken by the Episcopal Church, TEC by their ordination of openly gay bishops.

TEC’s recent action of consecrating an openly lesbian person as a bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles against a moratorium in the Communion of consecrating openly gay bishops reflected a gross insensitivity to the feelings of the rest of the Communion.

We are therefore sympathetic to the deep hurt and pain and indeed anger that some Provinces in Africa have expressed. Notwithstanding, the impression being created at the Conference that all Provinces in Africa are of one mind to abandon our relationship with TEC is wrong. Painful as the action is it should not become the presenting issue to lead to the break- up of our legacy and this gift of God- the world wide Anglican Communion.

We recognize that all the Provinces and dioceses in Africa do not condone TEC’s action. However, Provinces differ in their relationships with TEC in light of their actions. Some Provinces continue to value their historical partnerships with TEC and its organs. To discard these relationships would be tantamount to abandoning our call of the gospel to struggle with each other’s failure as we journey with Christ in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation as we were passionately reminded by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, of the virtue of tolerance and to live with our rich diversity.

In pursuit of its objective to form a new “province” in North America, ACNA has been successful in bringing together most of the splinter groups within the Anglican tradition.

We recognize that the common factor that holds all the coalition partners of ACNA is TEC. We do not support ACNA’s position for legitimacy through the elimination of TEC.

Three of the Instruments of Unity have already stated their position on the matter and we believe they represent the mind of the vast majority of the Communion including CAPA.

The majority of the African Provinces at this Conference are being ambushed by an agenda that is contrary to the beliefs and practices of our various Provinces. We have come to this Conference to share ideas on critical issues in the development of our continent and provide spiritual and moral leadership for our people.

Any thought of abandoning our Communion with any member of the body will hurt; for when one part of the body is injured the whole suffers. CAPA must not be used as a pawn in battles it is not party too. CAPA as you all know is not an organ of the Anglican Communion but a fellowship of Provinces of Africa. Therefore, issues of doctrine are better addressed as it has always been by individual provinces.

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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Bishop Earnest, the chairman of CAPA….. says the teachings of homosexuality are irrelevant to the needs of Africans and are unrepresentative demographically hence the need for new structures that are credible and representative of the majority” – ‘Daily monitor’ article – Such a mixing of metaphors here, one wonders where to start. However, to speak of the *teachings of homosexuality* is to misunderstand completely the reality; that the incidence of homosexuality is a given circumstance for a small percentage of the whole human race, and does not confine itself to non-African countries. Surely, he sees this to be a fact… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Truth every day” sounds somewhat ominous…

Tobias Haller
Guest

Fr. Ron, I wish I shared your, dare I say, optimism. Bishop Ian, and a large portion of the persons in question, do not in fact accept that same-sexuality is part of the human condition. They are still very much caught up in the pre-modern notion of possession, or the Victorian model of perversion, or the 20th century model of pathology. Homosexuality is demonic, infectious, rebellious, psychotic, bestial, as far as they are concerned. It is in response to this world-view that there is in fact a “new teaching on homosexuality” and I think that is what Bishop Ian is… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Daily Monitor had “Love your culture, say African bishops.””

I’m just pondering the likely reaction to

“New York Times had “Love your culture, say US bishops.”

O_o

JCF
Guest
JCF

Brilliant insight, Tobias—esp. about the line “purport to be homosexuals.” I think it’s a blessing when we can each find someone about whom we can say “s/he knows me better than I know myself” . . . but I daresay that EVERY time, such a person is one with whom we’ve LONG cultivated a close relationship (a best friend, spouse, sibling, spiritual director or the like). But when someone—sight unseen, self unknown—claims to know an ENTIRE CATEGORY OF HUMAN BEINGS better than they know themselves (ones whom only “purport” to be who they say they are), I cannot conclude this… Read more »

Murdoch
Guest
Murdoch

It occured to me recently that Truth is a demon that possesses some people. Of course, those people suppose that THEY possess Truth.

EmilyH
Guest
EmilyH

I’ve been busy all day and haven’t been browsing the net. Were there any signatories noted for this letter? Was the CAPA primates communique also without signatures?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The official copy of the CAPA Primates Statement, available from the conference website contains this statement:

This document was agreed upon by the Primates and the representatives of Primates who were not able to attend, of the following provinces:

Burundi, Central Africa, Congo, Indian Ocean, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, West Africa and the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

Southern Africa is not listed but Central Africa is. That is confusing.

The Conference Statement is signed only by Abps Ernest and Kolini, as Chair and Vice Chair of CAPA.

penwatch
Guest
penwatch

The most interesting article here is Episcopal Café’s ‘The end of the myth of monolithic Africa’. Apparently some Africans are getting resentful about the controlling incursions of ACNA. Which view will triumph homophobia or a dislike of neocolonialism? They’re between a rock and a hard place!

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“It is obligatory of all Provinces in the Anglican Communion to continue to observe and honour the moratoria on the ordination of partnered homosexuals, the blessing of same-sex unions, and CROSS-BORDER INTERVENTIONS” (my caps.) In all of the condemnatory words about Christian homosexuals made at the CAPA Conference, was there nothing specific directed toweards those African violators of the 3rd ‘moratorium’? Was it only the ‘violation’ of the 1st and 2nd moratoria, in CAPA’s view, that is upsetting the applecart of the Anglican Communion? This continued blindness to the piracy of Global South Provinces into other Provinces of the Communion… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

“The teachings of tribalists are irrelevant to the needs of Westerners . . . “ Wonder how that would go over. I’m amazed at how naive the African bishops are being, in this situation. What they believe they’re getting is American money from their willingly-submissive white lackeys, to overthrow the whole order and get revenge for colonialism and the success of the West. What they’re getting is money to be a distraction and leverage from a group of hardline politicos in purple who know the value of white guilt in a black ops attack on liberalism. When the strife is… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

The Episcopal Cafe’s article on this subject is encouraging. Obviously, TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada can take heart from the decision of the two African Provinces – South Africa and Central Africa – not to enourage ACNA in its territorial claims to represent Anglicanism in North America. Nor do these two Provinces want to be associated with CAPA’s statement about the need to ostracise TEC and the A.C.of C. At last, there are signs in the African Continent of a basic loyalty to the Anglican culture of Unity in Diversity – which is consonant with Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“There is no Anglican magisterium. But watch it, there just might be around the corner, at a place where they sell the Anglican Covenant.” – Mark Harris: Preludium – I believe Mark Harris has his finger on the pulse of what is happening in the Communion at this present time; what is likely to happen after the CANA Conference, and into the near distant future. The Provinces of the Global South, and CANA (apart from the brave stand by South and Central African Provincial Bishops, who think differently from their continental neighbours) seem hell-bent on dividing the Communion between an… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

“No Covenant would please the CAPA Primates, so why should it be imposed upon the rest of us, who merely want to pursue the call of the Gospel in our own cultural contexts? “

Because the covenant has never been about preserving unity, but about some power-mad prelate named Williams who wants a little Disneyland version of the Roman denomination in which he, Williams, reigns supreme.

It’s obvious, clumsy and stupid, and so it confuses people who mistook him for being anything other than a mere academic hack.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

My problem with Mark and all the American analysts is they underplay and often do not mention the ecumenical dimension.

The threats from RCC and Orthodox to cut off relationships has played a strongly here.

Mind you ….. otherwise I think the Americans can claim most of the credit for the present state of affairs ……

JPM
Guest
JPM

Duncan complains: “The sessions at the conference were dominated by Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and social solutions where the gospel of Jesus is not the driving force”

and

“The agenda, apart from worship and Bible studies, was far more dominantly social than spiritual.”

How dare these Africans insist on addressing African concerns at an African conference! The nerve!

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Eventually they will be driven by some inner necessity or decency to repent at leisure, as is Castro at present. But it comes too late, of course,(almost by definition) to aid those whom he persecuted and locked up.

These bishops too, will, when that times comes, be powerless truly to atone, and impotent in the face of the dawning reality of what they have done.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

How I wish I had signed off, as,

‘purported homosexual.’

Marshall Scott
Guest

Martin, the ecumenical dimension does indeed play very differently in the Episcopal Church, and especially in the United States. Since we’re decades ahead of the Church of England on ordination of women and especially to the episcopate, ecumenical efforts with Roman Catholics have long been redirected. At a local level congregations might jointly support some local ministries, but little happens above that. For half a generation the Roman clergy who have been appointed as bishops have reflected the conservatism of John Paul II, and now Benedict XVI; and so much ecumenical conversation is long gone. In the American scene the… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

And it is important to note, somewhat off the main topic, but in keeping with one brought up, that TEC is in fact at the forefront of actual on-the-ground and successful ecumenism: accomplished with Lutherans and Moravians, well along in process with Methodists, and even in early stages with Presbyterians. It is a hopefulness of the possible.

As to the impossible… Knowing the well-stated positions of Rome and the East concerning “ecumenism” I don’t see much practical happening along those lines anywhere any time soon.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“The sessions at the conference were dominated by…social solutions where the gospel of Jesus is not the driving force”

I find it hard to imagine any solution to a social problem where the gospel (in some form) is not a driving force.

chenier1
Guest
chenier1

After the shameless abuse by a small group of people, in pursuit of their sexual obsessions, pretending to represent all Africa when it has no such authority, it is greatly heartening to see the bishops of central and southern Africa grappling with the conference: Hebrews 12: 1-2: ‘The purpose of which is to be pro-active in addressing the ills that beset Africa such as poverty, wars, bad governance, HIV and AIDS, and, environmental issues. The focus of this Conference is therefore about making the Anglican Church in Africa relevant in this context.’ I should like to add another verse; they… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

I’m with Tobias here, Martin Reynolds. It seems that Anglicans anywhere else in the Communion but England have long despaired of any real dialogue with the Roman Magisterium on just about anything. Local Roman Catholic friendships still persevere – despite the Magisterium’s efforts to quell such goings-on. However, principally because of Benedict’s own opposition to the aggiornamento of Vatican II, nothing in the way of ecumenical progress can be hoped for from that quarter –
often to the despair of Catholics in countries other than the UK. Lets get real!

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“He (Williams) spoke what was on his mind and we also spoke,” Orombi explained. “We impressed it on him that he had totally gone in a different direction and he has to sort it out. “We sympathize with his position as head of the Anglican communion suffering disunity on moral grounds and teaching of the Scripture,” he added. “We made our minds very clear and he is going back knowing there is no gray area on our part.” – Ugandan Abp.Orombi – The Christian Post – This ultimatum, given by Orombi to the ABC, has all the hallmarks of an… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Martin Reynolds, Are we playing the Euro-chic “blame the Americans” game? Which Americans? The Mexicans? They’ve already agreed to the “covenant.” Canadians? They’re waffling. The U. S.? We did what we did unilaterally . . . which is a problem only if you want a totalitarian church like the RC or a circle of glad-handing, authoritarian bishops like the EO. If that’s what you want, please say so. It’ll make it easier for us to decide which way to go. As to the “current state of affairs,” I seem to remember a good deal of legitimacy being handed to schismatics… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Marshall and Tobias – Yes, at grass roots level many of the churches are doing sterling work on the ecumenical front – there are even important moves higher up the structures in many places. I have always thought the rapprochement with fellow Protestant denominations is undervalued, indeed deemed by some insignificant in comparison to the talks with RCC and Orthodox. It was the ecumenical dimension that many had in mind when the ACC was founded and a secretariat separate from Lambeth established. The talks and reports that have come forward since have had only a limited reception from Communion churches… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Do I want to bash the (US)Americans? Not really. After all with three Welshmen at the heart of the Lambeth/ACO responses I have sometimes been ashamed to raise my voice …… But I must confess to a love/hate relationship with TEC …… Perhaps my view that this is an American civil war that has overflowed to engulf us all is too simplistic and in my saner moments I recognise that the Jensen family have had big roles to play and that the power struggle has many facets and the old colonialism identified by Mark is not dead even if its… Read more »

JPM
Guest
JPM

>>>The threats from RCC and Orthodox to cut off relationships has played a strongly here.

What? The Romans might get angry with us and stop telling us that we are heretics playing dress up?

Tobias Haller
Guest

Thanks, Martin. I think you have laid out the analysis very soundly. The thrust of ecumenism for Anglicans has been distorted from where it is actually effective (national Church to Church) by this phantom desire to be a more-than-national uber-Church (just like Rome and [in effect] the East). But that isn’t what we are or ever have been, and so the exercises in ecumenism at that level must be and will be fictive and ineffective. Anglicanism is not, by definition, univocal or monolithic, and though I’m all for discussion of general principles, this questing after ecumenical agreement at that level… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Mark. My problem has always been that TEC was at the forefront of the move to establish communion wide instruments – they used to be very well represented on all the exercises in ecumenism which Tobias (rightly in my view) sees as fictive and ineffective.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The USA-white neocon agenda is nearly as perverse in its ways of connecting with and managing African believers, as it likes to preach in holier than thou accusations about queer folks. Of course per this spin doctoring, queer folks do not really exist, no matter how small a statistical minority sector of large human populations. Only straight folks really exist – either as pure and whole and straight, or as twisted-deformed but still straight, folks. Meanwhile, de facto? The neocon funders/believers/leaders are bound to eventually turn back the clocks on how one human skin color lords it over and/or submits… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“The Fault Line Runs Right Through Here: And when is the Anglican quake?” – Mark Harris, Preludium – Well, well, Mark. After this morning’s 7.4 Richter Earthquake here in Christchurch, New Zealand, one can see how apposite is your commentary on things Anglican at this point in time. I feel I now have a much more healthy perspective. We are still, thank God, alive and kicking – most of us at any rate, and the little quakes in the Communion have been put into a proper perspective fir us in Kiwiland. Tomorrow’s theme is: “Blessed are those who put their… Read more »