LAMBETH: Two Global South Archbishops Lash Out at Williams and Lambeth Conference
By David W. Virtue
Two high level Global South Archbishops have lashed out at Dr. Rowan Williams and the Lambeth Conference with Ugandan Primate, the Most Rev. Henry Orombi accusing the Archbishop of Canterbury of "betrayal" and holding an office "remnant of British colonialism".
In a letter released yesterday from his headquarters in Kampala, the Ugandan Archbishop said "those who violate biblical teaching must show repentance and regret before we can share communion with them," a point blank aim at the U.S. Episcopal Church.
Neither Orombi nor his fellow bishops are at Lambeth and said their absence was the only way their voice would be heard. "For more than ten years we have been speaking and have not been heard. So maybe our absence will speak louder than our words."
The African Primate accused former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold of "a deep betrayal" for saying that he would not consecrate an openly homosexual priest and then did so a scant two weeks later.
"Since that meeting there have been numerous other "betrayals" to the extent that it is now hard to believe that the leadership in the American Church means what it says. They say that they are not authorising blessings of same-sex unions, yet we read newspaper reports of them. Two American bishops have even presided at such services of blessings. Bishops have written diocesan policies on the blessings of same-sex unions. It is simply untrue to say they have not been authorised."
"That such blessings continue and seem to be increasing hardly demonstrates "regret", let alone repentance, on the part of the American Church. So, when the Archbishop of Canterbury invited these American bishops to participate in the Lambeth Conference, against the recommendations of the Windsor Report and the Primates' Meeting, and in the face of the unrelenting commitment of the American Church to bless sinful behaviour, we were stunned. Further betrayal."
Orombi then blasted the four Instruments of the Communion saying they have "failed us."
When VirtueOnline asked Canon Gregory Cameron, of the Anglican Communion Office, at a press conference what he thought of those remarks, Cameron said Orombi's words must be taken seriously, "I am saddened and disappointed by Orombi at the moment."
Orombi said Anglicans may say there are four "Instruments of Communion," (the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Lambeth Conference; the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates' Meeting). But de facto, there is only one - the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The peculiar thing is that this one man, who is at the centre of the communion's structures, is not even elected by his peers. Even the Pope is elected by his peers. What Anglicans have is a man appointed by a secular government. "Over the past five years, we have come to see this as a remnant of British colonialism, and it is not serving us well. The spiritual leadership of a global communion of independent and autonomous provinces should not be reduced to one man appointed by a secular government."
Orombi said the Episcopal Church, is acting contrary to God's word and the consensus of the communion. "Who in the Anglican Communion has the authority to discipline that erring province, he asked?"
KENYAN Primate, the Most Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi also weighed in on the debate saying in response to the third Windsor Continuation Report that interventions by African Archbishops would continue, despite personal calls by the Archbishop of Canterbury to cease such boundary crossing.
We will not halt such "cross border interventions" he said in Nairobi recently. "We won't stop going to America to preach the Gospel. We are going to preach the Gospel. We are going to tell the good news to the people," Nzimbi said in Nairobi while addressing journalists before being installed as the president of Church Army Africa, a society of Anglican evangelists.
A document presented to the Lambeth Conference by a working group set up by Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, calls for the "complete cessation" of "cross border interventions" by Anglican churches. It also calls for a moratorium on rites of blessing for same-gender unions, and a halt to the consecration of bishops living in openly gay relationships.
Nzimbi suggested that any promise to halt such consecrations could be a "play of words." He noted that the last Lambeth Conference in 1998 had declared "homosexual practice" to be "incompatible with Scripture," but the Episcopal Church has continued to violate Resolution 1:10 of the Lambeth Conference.
"I know one of the things they [the Lambeth Conference] have said is that they are going to stop ordaining gay bishops. This is not new; this has been said before even in the previous Lambeth [Conferences]," said Nzimbi. "We talked about marriage and said no marriage of the same sex, but still they went ahead and consecrated somebody who was gay."
The Kenyan primate said that Anglican leaders boycotting the conference needed to hear repentance from the churches that have contravened the 1998 Lambeth decision.
The two provinces, Uganda and Kenya, have some 14 million church going Anglicans between them, two of the largest provinces in the Anglican Communion
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