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COLUMBUS, OH: African Bishops write Open Letter to the Episcopal Church USA

An Open Letter to the Episcopal Church USA

6/21/2006

We, the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), meeting in Kampala on 21st - 22nd June, have followed with great interest your meeting of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA in Columbus.

We have been especially concerned by the development of your response to The Windsor Report, which has been reported to us quite extensively. This is something for which we have earnestly prayed.

We are, however, saddened that the reports to date of your elections and actions suggest that you are unable to embrace the essential recommendations of the Windsor Report and the 2005 Primates Communiqué necessary for the healing of our divisions. At the same time, we welcome the various expressions of affection for the life and work of the Anglican Communion.

We have been moved by your generosity as you have rededicated yourselves to meet the needs of the poor throughout the world, especially through your commitment to the Millennium Development Goals.

We have observed the commitment shown by your church to the full participation of people in same gender sexual relationships in civic life, church life and leadership.

We have noted the many affirmations of this throughout the Convention. As you know, our Churches cannot reconcile this with the teaching on marriage set out in the Holy Scriptures and repeatedly affirmed throughout the Anglican Communion.

All four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion advised you against taking and continuing these commitments and actions prior to your General Convention in 2003.

At our meeting in Kampala we have committed ourselves to study very carefully all of your various actions and statements.

When we meet with other Primates from the Global South in September, we shall present our concerted pastoral and structural response.

We assure all those Scripturally faithful dioceses and congregations alienated and marginalised within your Provincial structure that we have heard their cries.

In Christ,

The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, on behalf of CAPA Chairman, CAPA

We, the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), meeting 21st and 22nd June 2006 in Kampala, Uganda, issue this Communiqué from our meeting.
At our meeting in Nairobi in February 2006 we agreed to meet regularly as Primates and to rotate our meetings throughout the Provinces, beginning in East Africa.

Accordingly, we are grateful to the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, for his generous hospitality.

We look forward to our next meeting in September in Rwanda.
Our meeting began with a compelling devotion led by the Archbishop of Uganda on Psalm 133 and the unity that is enjoined upon us by Scripture and created among us through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that when two or three are gathered together in His Name, He is in their midst.

Unity in the mind of Christ strengthens our prayers, and we, therefore, urge the members of the Church to pursue unity at every level of our Church and society, for the sake of Christ’s witness through the Church in the world.

Likewise, at this decisive moment, we Primates of Africa urge the people of God to renew their commitment to proclaim God’s Kingdom through word and demonstrations of His Kingdom presence, through caring and nurturing God’s world and His people.

We are living at a time when tensions exist between talking about the right thing and doing the right thing. The mission entrusted to the church is a mission of hope, and the people of God are to be a hopeful people that resist and overcome hopelessness and despair.

Many of our people live in areas of conflict and insecurity. Inadequate education and health care and poverty, among other things, are our constant companions. Cases of bad governance, corruption, and misuse of resources bring despair.

Yet, as disciples of Jesus Christ, whom God raised from the dead and lives today, we proclaim that there is always hope in Him.

To make this hope a tangible reality, we have been commissioned and sent out into the world to serve the purposes of God. So, it is imperative that we as a Church seek God’s agenda for His world and His Church.

The Word of God calls all of us, lay and ordained, to be faithful witnesses of Christ to the world, both in the proclamation of the Gospel and in the transformation of our societies.

Obedience to Christ is needed if we want transcendence over the objectives of our personal agendas.
We live in an age of great technological change. We acknowledge with appreciation the contributions of technology.

Nevertheless, such things as internet and cell phone pornography, inappropriate dressing, and the distortion of the gospel through the media are negatively influencing our culture and behaviour.

We call upon the Church to address these and other realities that emerge from the globalised world.

We remind the Church that separation, alienation, and domination are present elements in our world and they are threatening the Kingdom imperatives and the world itself.

Our work is to make visible the Kingdom of God and to prepare us for life everlasting. Our world is God’s world and God has sent His Son to save it.

We have noted with great concern the increasing influence of Islam in Europe and the growing demand for Sharia concessions in European law without corresponding reciprocity in Muslim countries for Christians. This situation will have an impact in our contexts and we are beginning to think and pray through these matters.

We rejoice in the Church of Nigeria’s gift of Emmanuel Olatunji, a highly competent member of their church, who has been seconded to the CAPA HIV/AIDS office, and we urge that office to expand its focus to include combating malaria, TB, and a new disease known as chikungunya – a malarial-like sickness, transmitted through mosquitoes, that has hit the Province of the Indian Ocean.

We have renewed our commitment to leadership development and scheduled Training Conferences for new bishops through 2010. We also have seen a need to develop strategies for helping bishops and other church leaders to finish well and enter into retirement with joy.

We are grateful for the invitation to interact with the President and the First Lady of the Republic of Uganda on a wide range of issues. We appreciate the leadership of the President of Uganda and his support for the work of the Church. We pray and encourage greater partnership and dialogue between our Churches and our respective Governments.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. To God be the glory.

The Most Rev. Peter Akinola, on behalf of CAPA Primates
CAPA Chairman

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