GLOBAL SOUTH LEADERS RIP NORTH AMERICANS OVER HOMOSEXUALITY
By David W. Virtue
NOTTINGHAM (6/24/2005)--Leaders of four Anglican Communion provinces ripped the Episcopal and Canadian churches today and said in no uncertain terms that the actions by two North American provinces "embracing unholy sexual practices" was hurting evangelism, promoted ostracism and was a salvation issue.
Bishop Gerard E. Mpango of the Anglican Church of Tanzania, speaking on behalf of his Primate Archbishop Donald Metelemele said that while all people are loved by God we reject homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture.
"This continues to be our position of radical holiness. In this context I am personally disappointed at the presentations of ECUSA and Canada that we must embrace unholy sexual practices when a significant part of the ECUSA stands firmly with the rest of the Communion. Where was their voice why did we not hear their stories," he asked.
"Only experience is what they talked about. Any notion of transformation was treated in a dismissive manner and this is the heart of the issue. God's love can transform us or we are saying that sexual issues are outside God's reach. It is not just a pastoral concern but a salvation issue."
Mpango said he prayed that we would listen to ALL voices in our communion as we understand the radical nature of man. Citing the Apostle Paul he said, "If any man or woman is in Christ they are a new creation the old order has passed way."
The Rev. Andres Lenton from the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone said that ecumenical relations in Peru are the worst he has ever known as a result of what the American Episcopal Church did in consecrating V. Gene Robinson.
Lenton likened the adulteries of Henry VIII with Robinson's consecration. "This confirms all our worst fears and justifies prejudice. Robinson's consecration confirmed our readers worst fears that a church started by an immoral king with few morals and no discipline is now divided and in disarray by a gay bishop. Our church is in disorder and disarray."
"Robinson is seen as a universal decision so we are all tarred with the same brush. The real position of the Anglican Communion clarified by the Windsor Report was not newsworthy in Peru and an injustice was done to the Anglican Church and it is not worth correction by [the media]. It has been a body blow for our province."
"Stop and look what it is doing to us, but then in the Third World one gets used to one's voice being unheard. What does it matter to ECUSA when one insignificant church is wounded in Peru. A good number of individuals have left because of Robinson's consecration. They have found Christ in the Anglican Church [but] in the end they felt they had to leave. Too much clergy time has been given to say it was worth staying in the Anglican fold," he said. "People are so suspicious of us they are sending their children to other schools."
Clergy have suffered and mission has been gravely impaired, he said The consequences of [Robinson's consecration] have wounded our communion around the world.
Bishop Sampson Mwaluda of Kenya echoed other speakers saying, "We have been disappointed and betrayed. After the passage of Resolution of 1.10 we breathed a sigh of relief, homosexual practice was declared incompatible with scripture and we could not legitimize same sex relations or ordain a homosexual person and then it happens".
"We are shaken by ECUSA and Canada's actions they went in the opposite direction of the Anglican Communion. When I was in a hospital in Mombassa people turned around and away from me and whispered mockery".
Bishop Sampson said we have been listening but we have not been listened too. "The Anglican Church of has not been heard on the ground. Many falsely believe homosexuality is God created and therefore they do not expect to be transformed by God."
He said the position of Kenya was to stand by the Lambeth resolution, endorse the actions of the Primate at Dromantine and that provinces that have taken officials action have in fact, by their actions chosen a different path from that of the Anglican Communion and have broken their fellowship until such time as they reconsider their stand and repent.
John Stuart from Scotland said the Scottish province was not of a common mind but a working party including gay and lesbian Christians had been set up to implement a listening process. Citing the Bishop of Glasgow, Stuart said they had "unsurprisingly came to no very clear conclusions. We have mutual respect while we disagree. There is no ban on anyone in a committed same sex relationship."
Stuart acknowledged that 12 congregations of the Evangelical Fellowship of the Scottish Anglican Network had been established as a result.
The Bishop of the Congo, the Rt. Rev. Henri Isingoma did not address the prevailing issue in the Communion and said his country was experiencing much pain and suffering including the death of his primate while en route to Hong Kong for an ACC meeting.
He said the Congolese people had experience many humiliations but the Christian Faith continued to grow. Out of population of 60 million, 80 percent were Christians, with the Roman catholic Church the biggest. Protestant and Anglicans made up 35 percent of the population with a small minority of Muslims "The Anglican church has 250,000 members and is growing rapidly and is being rooted deeply in the Christian faith."
Bishop Kumara Llangasinghe, of the diocese of Kurunagala in Sri Lanka, gave a report on the effects of the Tsunami and said while 40,000 lives were lost and 300,000 displaced with thousands having lost jobs with much devastation, people of all faiths were affected.
"Reconstruction will go on for years, Fisherman have lost their boats, but rebuilding is going on with new construction. I have hope for the future, he said.
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