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JAMAICA: Uganda Anglican Apb Blasts ACC for Refusing to Seat Ugandan Delegate

JAMAICA: Uganda Anglican Archbishop Blasts ACC for Refusing to Seat Ugandan Delegate
Archbishop Orombi calls action "unconstitutional" and a "tearing of the bonds of affection"

By David W. Virtue in Jamaica
www.virtueonline.org
5/4/2009

Rev. Philip AsheyA major brouhaha has erupted at the Anglican Consultative Council-14 meeting here in Jamaica over the failure to seat a clerical delegate from the Church of Uganda because he is a product of a cross border intervention into The Episcopal Church USA.

The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council's refusal to seat the Rev. Philip Ashey, a priest of Ruwenzori Diocese in the Church of Uganda, living and working in Atlanta, brought an angry response from Uganda Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi.

In a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Orombi said this: "The appointment of delegates to the ACC from a Province is purely an internal matter and is not subject to review by any body within the ACC, including the Joint Standing Committee. That the Joint Standing Committee would assume such authority is a gross violation of our constitutional relationships, not to mention a further tearing of our bonds of affection."

Archbishop Orombi"Our reasons for appointing one of our American priests to represent us as our clergy delegate are our reasons, and are not for the Joint Standing Committee to question. Section 4(e) does not give the Joint Standing Committee or the ACC the right to interfere in the appointing body's determination of the "qualification" of a delegate. For the Joint Standing Committee to assume this power is nothing short of an imperialistic and colonial decision that violates the integrity of the Church of Uganda."

The Church of Uganda is entitled to three delegates - a Bishop, a priest, and layperson.

In an e-mail dated 24th April, The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, first wrote the Ugandan Archbishop, saying, "I'm grateful for the nomination of Rev. Philip Ashey as ACC Delegate...and I look forward to welcoming him to ACC."

The Joint Standing Committee, meeting on 1st May, countermanded Kearon's welcome saying the ACC had exceeded the limits of its authority and reversed Canon Kearon's decision of 24th April, saying that Ashey was not "qualified" to serve as a delegate, citing section 4(e) of the Constitution of the ACC. Their reason? Father Ashey is an American who was received into the Church of Uganda in 2005.

When asked why he didn't send a Ugandan priest to represent the Church of Uganda, Archbishop Orombi replied, "We had a last minute vacancy for our clergy delegate and couldn't organize travel and visas for one of our Ugandan clergy to go. When we learned that our priest, Rev. Philip Ashey could go to Jamaica, we asked him to represent us."

Orombi continued, "The appointment of Rev. Philip Ashey to fill a vacancy at the last minute provides the Church of Uganda with a strong voice of a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Ruwenzori. It is also a voice for the almost 100,000 orthodox Anglicans in North America who have been persecuted by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, who will not be represented by their delegations to ACC-14, and who will not otherwise have voice or seat at the table of the ACC. It is important for the Communion to be reminded that there is a serious tear in the fabric of our communion; all is not well and there continues to be an urgent need to address the ongoing crisis before us."

At a press conference today, Kearon weaved around a series of questions thrown at him about the legality of this action. At one point, he said the ACC said delegates could pick their own members. Now in 2009, he is saying that member churches are not free to pick their members, even if the delegate is eligible under the rules laid down by the ACC.

When asked about a perceived change of policy, Canon Kearon stated that he had not been present in 1999. The situation now is that the Ugandan church has sent a delegate who is not qualified.

A lively discussion then took place over the definition of "qualified". There is no definition for what "qualified" would be in the ACC constitution, nor is there any definition of who would adjudicate who was qualified. In the light of such a gap, the Joint Standing Committee had determined that it was the body that would make such decisions.

Canon Kearon stated that Ashey was not qualified as his membership of the Church of Uganda is a result of a cross-border intervention by the Church of Uganda in the United States, a practice that hasbeen consistently disapproved of by the instruments of communion since 2004.

However, it was then drawn to Canon Kearon's attention that another infringement of the requirements of the instruments of communion was the continuance of the lawsuits against orthodox churches in North America by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. The cessation of these lawsuits was a requirement of the Dar-es-Salaam Primates Meeting in 2007 as part of the compliance required of TEC and the ACoC with the Windsor Report; thus a condition for the re-entry of TEC and ACoC delegates to the Councils of the Communion (they had been asked to withdraw from ACC 13 at Nottingham, but attended as visitors).

How was it that TEC and ACoC who had not complied with a requirement of the instruments of communion had been readmitted, but Uganda who was not complying with the embargo on cross-border jurisdiction had its selected delegate barred?

Kearon replied that Uganda as a province had not been barred, only its delegate who was a product of cross-border intervention.

Where is the fairness and even handedness in all this?

TEC and ACoC are in constant breach of Lambeth 1.10. By the secretary general's own admission at the Saturday press conference, they both in some cases, had continued to authorize same-sex blessings in defiance of the moratorium. The truth is they have not complied with the Primates' call from Dar-es-Salaam to desist from lawsuits, but instead have increased in the numbers of them. Yet, they are readmitted to full membership.

The Church of Uganda exercises its sovereign right to appoint a priest under its oversight from among orthodox clergy in the USA who wish to abide by the Communion's teaching and practice, but is denied that right on the grounds of the priest being unqualified according to criteria not specified in the ACC constitution, (as a product of a breach of the communion's requests), and according to the decision of a body which is not given the authority to determine membership of provincial delegations either in the constitution of the ACC or in the tradition of the ACC ( according to the practice of Canon John Petersen in the case of Mark Dyer).

It is clear to this reporter that the ACC leadership is making up the rules as they go along.

The unseating of Ashey is linked with the decision to be made about who can adhere to the Covenant. Those who have consistently defied the Communion for the last five years are in a position to lobby and vote to exclude provisions in the Ridley Draft Covenant whereby other entities (dioceses in TEC or ACNA) can sign up to the Covenant while TEC itself wants to spend 5 years considering the question.

They are also allowed to retake their seats in order to engage in such lobbying while in defiance of requests of the communion about abandoning lawsuits, while those who have defied the request on cross border jurisdiction (to become a dead letter when ACNA is formed in six weeks time), are denied the right to exercise their own choice of who their delegate at the meeting is.

It is apparent that those who depart from the teaching and practice of the Communion in faith and morals are given a pass while those who have adhered to the teaching and practice of the Communion in faith and morals are being penalized. This very week the former will try to prevent the latter from being able to even adhere to the Covenant process.

END

The Following is the correspondence that took place between the The archbishops of Uganda and Canterbury and with the ACC General Secretary Kenneth Kearon

***

Orombi appeals to Canterbury over refused Uganda delegate to ACC: Correspondence

From Henry Orombi to Kenneth Kearon

23 April 2009

Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon
Anglican Consultative Council
St Andrew’s House
LONDON

Dear Canon Kearon,

Easter Greetings from Uganda in Jesus’ name! This letter is to inform you that we have appointed Rev. Philip Ashey as our clergy delegate to the ACC meeting in Jamaica. Here is his contact information

Rev. Philip Ashey
Church of Uganda
P.O. Box 14123
Kampala
UGANDA
philashey@

As you know, Bishop Paul Luzinda is not able to attend the meeting, so we have forwarded to Rev. Philip the preparation material you sent him.

We are covering the travel expenses for Rev. Philip, so there is no additional cost to the ACC.

Yours, in Christ,

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

Archbishop of Church of Uganda

xc Rev. Philip Ashey
Jolly Babirukamu
Provincial Secretary

_______________________________

From Kenneth Kearon to Henry Orombi

From: Kenneth Kearon [mailto:kenneth.kearon@] Sent: Friday, April 24, 2009 4:44 PM To: Archbishop COU Subject: RE: New ACC Delegate for Jamaica from Uganda

Dear Archbishop,

I'm grateful for the nomination of Rev. Philip Ashley as ACC delegate. I note he will make his own arrangements to get there, and I look forward to welcoming him to ACC.

In Christ,

Kenneth.

Kenneth Kearon,
Secretary General of the Anglican Communion,
St Andrew's House,
16 Tavistock Crescent,
London, W11 1AP
Tel: +44 (020) 7313 3903

________________________

From Henry Orombi to Kenneth Kearon

From: Archbishop COU [mailto:abpcou@] Sent: 24 April 2009 13:00 To: Kenneth Kearon Cc: Yoshimi Gregory; 'Aaron Mwesigye' Subject: New ACC Delegate for Jamaica from Uganda

Dear Canon Kearon,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Please receive the attached letter from me informing you of a clergy delegate we have appointed to attend the ACC meeting in Jamaica.

Yours, in Christ,

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA
P.O. Box 14123
Kampala
UGANDA

Ph: +256 414 270 218
Fax: +256 414 251 925
abpcou@

_________________________

From Kenneth Kearon to Henry Orombi

The Most Revd Henry Orombi

Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda

29th April 2009

Dear Archbishop Orombi,

I acknowledge your letter of 23 April 2009 nominating Revd Philip Ashey as a clerical representative to the ACC for the Church of the Province of Uganda, and I have referred it to the Joint Standing Committee.

That Committee has noted

(i) that Mr Ashey has already been given Press Accreditation status to the ACC on behalf of the American Anglican Council;

(ii) he has given his address as Henderson Mill Road, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

The JS Committee is concerned that a person with Press Accreditation has been nominated as a representative, because the press is excluded from some of the business of the Council. It is further concerned that a person not resident in the Province of Uganda should be asked to represent your Province.

The JSC seeks urgent clarification on these issues in order to consider the matter further.

Yours sincerely.

Sincerely.

Kenneth Kearon

Secretary General of the Anglican Communion

_______________________

From Henry Orombi to Kenneth Kearon

30th April 2009

Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon

St. Andrew’s House

16 Tavistock Crescent

London, England W11 1AP

Dear Canon Kearon,

Thank you so much for your letter of 29th April 2009 seeking clarification about our appointment of Rev. Philip Ashey as our clergy delegate to the ACC from the Church of Uganda.

We have asked Rev. Ashey to relinquish his press credentials in order to eliminate any conflict of interest that may have been implied, and it is my understanding that he did relinquish those press credentials prior to your letter to me.

The appointment of delegates from each Province is, according to the Constitution of the ACC, a purely internal matter of each Province and not subject to review by any body within the ACC, including the Joint Standing Committee. Rev. Philip Ashey is a priest in good standing of Ruwenzori Diocese and has been appointed by me as the clergy delegate from the Church of Uganda. I trust that, with his relinquishment of his press credentials, you will accord to him every courtesy expected of any appointed delegate from any Province of the Anglican Communion. And, I further trust that this resolves the concern you may have.

Thank you for your good work, and we look forward to hearing about the fruitful deliberations of the ACC-14.

Yours, in Christ,

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA.

xc: The Most Rev. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Rev. Philip Ashey, Church of Uganda Clergy Delegate to the ACC
Mrs. Jolly Babirukamu, Church of Uganda Lay Delegate to the ACC
Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, Provincial Secretary

_____________

From Kenneth Kearon to Henry Orombi30 April 2009

The Most Revd Henry Luke Orombi
Archbishop of Church of Uganda
PO Box 14123
Kampala
Uganda

Via email address: abpcou@

Dear Archbishop Henry,

Thank you for your prompt response to my letter of 29 April.

The Joint Standing Committee has discussed this at length. We understand that the Revd Philip Ashey’s relationship with the Church of the Province of Uganda is as a result of a cross provincial intervention, and note that such interventions are contrary to the Windsor Report and other reports accepted by successive meetings of the Instruments of Communion, including Primates’ Meetings which you have attended.

Therefore we regret to inform you that Mr Ashey’s current status means that we cannot regard him as a ‘qualified’ member according to Section 4(e) of the current Constitution. We are content for him to resume his Press Accreditation, if he so wishes.

Yours sincerely,

The Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon

Secretary of the Anglican Communion

Cc: The President of ACC
The Chair of ACC
The Revd Philip Ashey – via email

_____________________

From Henry Orombi to Rowan Williams

2nd May 2009

The Most Reverend Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury and
Chair of the Primates Standing Committee
Lambeth Palace
London, England

Via e-mail

Your Grace,

I have received a letter from Reverend Canon Kenneth Kearon, dated 30th April, refusing to seat the Church of Uganda’s clergy delegate to the ACC, Rev. Philip Ashey. I assume you have seen a copy of his letter, and that you may have been part of the discussion of this matter in the meetings of the Joint Standing Committee.

Canon Kearon’s letter states that the Joint Standing Committee has determined that Rev. Philip Ashey is not ‘qualified’ under Section 4(e) of the ACC’s Constitution because we received him into the Church of Uganda in 2005 as part of our pastoral care to Anglican clergy and congregations in America who were being persecuted for upholding Lambeth 1.10 in the context of a Province that willfully violated and continues to violate it.

As I wrote in my first letter to Canon Kearon, appointment of delegates to the ACC from a Province is purely an internal matter and is not subject to review by any body within the ACC, including the Joint Standing Committee. That the Joint Standing Committee would assume such authority is a gross violation of our constitutional relationships, not to mention a further tearing of our bonds of affection. Our reasons for appointing one of our American priests to represent us as our clergy delegate are our reasons, and are not for the Joint Standing Committee to question.

The appointment of Rev. Philip Ashey to fill a vacancy at the last minute provides the Church of Uganda with a strong voice of a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Ruwenzori. It is also a voice for the almost 100,000 orthodox Anglicans in North America who have been persecuted by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, who will not be represented by their delegations to ACC-14, and who will not otherwise have voice or seat at the table of the ACC. It is important for the Communion to be reminded that there is a serious tear in the fabric of our communion; all is not well and there continues to be an urgent need to address the ongoing crisis before us.

Section 4(e) does not give the Joint Standing Committee or the ACC the right to interfere in the appointing body’s determination of the “qualification” of a delegate. For the Joint Standing Committee to assume this power is nothing short of an imperialistic and colonial decision that violates the integrity of the Church of Uganda.

I reiterate – Rev. Philip Ashey is a priest in good standing of Ruwenzori Diocese and has been appointed by me as clergy delegate from the Church of Uganda. This is sufficient and the Joint Standing Committee does not have a right to challenge it.

It is, furthermore, very dangerous for Canon Kearon’s letter to quote the Windsor Report and Communiqués of the Primates as the basis for refusing to seat Rev. Philip Ashey as our clergy delegate. None of these documents has authority to override the Constitution of the ACC. Furthermore, none of these documents ever suggested a moral equivalence between the pastoral care offered to persecuted clergy and congregations in North America and the violation of Biblical and historic Anglican teaching by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada on the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination as bishop of persons living in same-sex relationships.

At our Primates meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, we asked TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada to voluntarily withdraw from the Councils of the Church until the next Lambeth Conference. In Dar es Salaam, the Primates unanimously agreed that TEC should not be invited to Lambeth until they satisfactorily answered our questions, which most people know they did not do, your judgment notwithstanding. Yet, they have continued to be involved in all the Councils of the Church, and even with undue influence because of their wealth and command of English as their first language. There is a double standard at work here, and it favors the Western world and marginalizes Africa and others in the Global South.

We, therefore, appeal to you, in your capacity as Chair of the Primates Standing Committee and President of the ACC, to help the Joint Standing Committee understand the limits of their authority and to recognize the appointment of the Rev. Philip Ashey as clergy delegate to ACC-14 from the Church of Uganda, and to accord to him every courtesy expected of any delegate from any Province of the Anglican Communion. This is a matter of urgency, and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest opportunity.

If the Church of Uganda’s appointment of Rev. Philip Ashey is considered by you to be unacceptable, then we will be forced to take the steps necessary to bring this unbiblical, unjust and unconstitutional precedent to the attention of the rest of the Communion.

Yours in Christ,

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi

ARCHBISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF UGANDA.

xc: Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General, ACC
Rev. Philip Ashey, Clergy Delegate to ACC-14
Mrs. Jolly Babirukamu, Lay Delegate to ACC-14
Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, Provincial Secretary

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