ENTEBBE: Ugandan Archbishop Says Africa Must Re-Evangelize Europe and North America
Uganda Prime Minister rips corruption, homosexuality
Middle East Archbishop says Christianity's center of gravity has moved from Global North to Global South
By David W. Virtue in Entebbe
August 24, 2010
Eschewing homosexuality, the leader of Uganda's Anglican Church of 10.2 million Anglicans says African Anglican leaders are poised to take the gospel back to Europe and North America.
Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi told 400 African Anglicans bishops in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and Uganda's Prime Minister that there is a hunger for the Word of God in England where he recently spoke to 17,000 people. "I called back home to send missionaries to America and Europe to take back the gospel from these sending nations. It is an ailing church in need of guidance."
Addressing delegates to the All Africa Bishops conference sponsored by CAPA - the Council of Anglican provinces of Africa, Orombi said, "We must be free to go to Europe and to the Mother Church [CofE] desperate for the gospel."
At a later press conference Orombi elaborated on this theme saying that the faith from whence it came [Europe] is now so corrupt, that the African church has a responsibility to go to the outside world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Addressing the ongoing debate on homosexual practice in the Anglican Communion, Orombi stated that the majority of African Anglicans are clear in saying that homosexuality is incompatible with the Word of God. "In our culture our Prime Minister is not going to be diplomatic. What he says gives you the feeling of everybody in this country. If you are proclaiming the Word of God there is no place for homosexuality. We as a church stick to Lambeth Resolution 1:10."
Asked by a reporter why Rowan Williams did not bring out the ailing condition of the Anglican Communion in his speech to delegates, Orombi said he is happy Williams is here and hopes he listens to the voice of the African Church.
"With Rowan Williams here we can sit and talk with him. We are going to explain to him what it is we believe and our fervent faith in the Word of God. The actions of gays in the Anglican Communion contravene what Anglicans stand for."
Asked about whether schism is now a reality in the Anglican Communion, Orombi said there is already schism in the face of doctrinal teaching. "The break took place a long time ago. We said in 2005 in Northern Ireland that if the gay movement does not check itself it is walking away from the Anglican Communion. The same was said in Dar es Salaam. Now in Uganda we are talking about a communion that is already broken. It is not the way people act. We have put out a moratorium. One part [of the Communion] breaks it so they have walked away. We as Africans are holding to the core of the faith of the communion.
"We find ourselves stuck in a contradiction even though we have resources. This has not been decided simply by ourselves. Africa has come of age; we are self-reliant. We need to reclaim our heritage as followers of Jesus Christ. We will focus on Christ to lead our communities out of spiritual darkness and poverty."
UGANDA PRIME MINISTER
The Prime Minister of Uganda Apollo Nsibambi speaking on behalf of his government blasted homosexuality. "Africa is grappling with many intricate problems - terrorism, homosexuality, corruption, and an absence of national unity. "We believe that God the almighty is able to grapple with these problems. We need exemplary leaders, not sycophants. The East African Revival is the driving force of the Church of the Uganda. Africa has been exemplary in not accepting homosexuality. As we challenge the problems we must not point fingers at others but repent of our own sins."
MIDDLE EAST ARCHBISHOP
Middle East Archbishop Dr. Mouneer Anis explained that the future and center of gravity of Christianity has now moved from the Global North to the Global South. "We are securing our future and unlocking our potential," he told the assembled bishops. "We are the smallest church in Africa in the northern part of this continent. However, the oldest church - the Coptic Orthodox church has been there for 2000 years.
"History is going to record what happens here for future generations. This is not an ordinary event it is part of the extraordinary complex of Africa today. We know about the African Church in Africa in an amazing way. It is expected that by the year 2025 the African continent will have 633 million Christians."
The Middle East leader also opined that we should not ignore faithful missionaries who over the last three centuries brought the gospel to North Africa, many of whom were evicted from North Africa. "This is the story we will record from this conference and by God's grace make it a turning point in the life of the church Africa. We can shape the Christian mind in the whole world. It is not by our power and voices but by God's grace that we can take the gospel to Africa and to the rest of the world."
"LISTEN TO US"
The Most Rev. Ian Ernest Archbishop of the Indian Ocean said this second conference, organized in Africa (the first was in Lagos), indicates the church has come of age and has now secured its place in the Anglican Communion making it able to unlock its potential.
"The archbishop of Canterbury should listen to the voice of the Anglican Communion in Africa. If you make yourself out to be available to us you will gain new insights concerning the Church in Africa and listen to our expectations."
Ernest called on his brother bishops to participate fully in the conference and deal with the challenges of poverty, disease and corruption. "We need passionate and accountable leadership. We need a clearer understanding of the issues that hinders the mission of the church.
"We need a mission from anywhere to anywhere. The Gospel stands against nominal Christianity, corruption and human rights abusers. This second conference must seize the opportunity to move from interest to involvement. We must work towards maturity while keeping the cultural values of our continent. CAPA as a pan African body is a springboard partnership with key players of our continent.
"We need to serve Africa. We need to challenge and inspire one another. If this conference is to bear fruit we must continue to choose to follow Christ. Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life. We must be faithful to what his holy Word reveals and teaches us. My hope is that we should engage with integrity and give birth to new initiatives. We must commit ourselves to what the Lord expects of us."
The Archbishop of the Sudan, the Most Rev. Daniel Deng said Africans are not second-class Christian citizens. He prayed that the Sudan not be allowed to slip back into war. "Pray for us and give us your mutual support."
Archbishop Rowan Williams stated that the church has always refused to turn its back on the marginalized and poor. Williams said he has visited children with HIV/AIDS. "God treasures the persons He has made. God is unable to bear the door that no one shut. The heart of our gospel proclamation points to The Cross to see how he loves you. See what you might become. Share the good news. We should dhow gratitude for the work of redemption hope for our transformation. This is our hope and responsibility and this is why we give our energies to it. We are drawn to walking His way of the cross."
Williams called for a renewal of leadership in Africa. "There can be no lasting justice without selfless political leadership. We must model a leadership that is self-giving - a leadership rooted in our people. This is going to be the African century of the Christian Church in terms of energy, growth and vision. God raises up different countries in different seasons. This indeed maybe His will for Africa in the years ahead. If Africa is city set on a hill then this witness should continue at its best and highest."
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