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UGANDA: CAPA Bishops Conference: From My Ear to Yours

UGANDA: CAPA Bishops Conference: From My Ear to Yours

By David W. Virtue in Entebbe
www.virtueonline.org
August 24, 2010

If placing means anything then you will be interested to learn that in the line up on the top platform at today's opening CAPA Eucharist where the Archbishop of Canterbury preached, the placing went like this. From left to right: Bob Duncan (ACNA), Archbishop Ian Ernest (Indian Ocean), Archbishop Rowan Williams (ABC), and Archbishop Henry Orombi (Uganda). Duncan's presence was publicly recognized by Archbishop Orombi.

The message was clear. Archbishop Robert Duncan, leader of the Anglican Church in North America, is a player whether Williams or the Anglican Consultative Council ever recognizes him or not. No such invitation was extended to Katharine Jefferts Schori who would have felt decidedly uncomfortable among 400 Evangelical African Anglican bishops who have a very different gospel from hers.

Duncan also shared in the distribution of Holy Communion. "The Anglican Church is expanding everywhere in Africa. There are now some 400 dioceses spread across the continent. As Archbishop I am here to learn and to stand in solidarity with this vigorous gospel mission," said Archbishop Duncan.

While Archbishop Williams told the gathered bishops that the 21st Century may well be the "African Century", he was met with only polite applause from the Africans who believe he has sided with Western pansexualists and does not hold fast to a biblical view of Christian morality.

He was afforded no special place at the African table, treated as primus inter pares. Later the Primates council met in private with Williams to go head to head with him over the issues. The closed-door session may yield something, we do not know. But what will be on the table is the call for Council (like Nicea 325), but the real question is will all the primates be on board?

Following GAFCON, Williams snubbed their Primates Council's request to see him so this might be payback time. These African leaders are unfailingly polite, but they are also sticking to their guns about homosexuality - they will have none of it. It is a non starter, dead on arrival and to reinforce that point, the Prime Minister of Uganda made a brief appearance today and poured cold water on any legal changes to make homosexual behavior acceptable to Ugandans. It ain't gonna happen.

Furthermore with the church growing by leaps and bounds (it is expected to hit 633 million by 2025) why would anybody give Colin Coward of Changing Attitude the time of day bearing in mind that he is about to "marry" a young black man from Nigeria less than half his age and saying he has no intention of being celibate. Coward is 64, the Nigerian is 25.

While there is still no talk of formal schism, it is schism in all but name. Archbishop Orombi said the North American churches (U.S. and Canada) have "walked apart". He sees no sign of reconciliation (read repentance) by these provinces. It is possible that, in time, the Anglican Communion will simply devolve into provinces doing their own thing, crossing boundaries at will, with the North American provinces adding to the whole area of litigation till the last orthodox parish and diocese has fled.

Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia and Archbishop Mouneer Anis of the Middle East are also here to sit with the primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) during their meetings.

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Word has it that Trinity Wall Street's check for $25,000, given to help defray CAPA costs, was politely returned to them. The Province of Uganda said they would pick up the tab for this event.

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I traveled with a CMS (Nigerian) bishop from Amsterdam to Entebbe. He wondered out loud to me how it is that a bishop like Charles Bennison could possibly be reinstated after all that the diocese has suffered at his hands both spiritually, financially and for covering his brother's sexual exploits.

So I asked him what would happen in Nigeria if a bishop like Bennison erupted in one of their dioceses. Simple, he said. If and when the laity rose up and said they wanted their bishop gone, he would be gone. He would be made to step down and that would be the end of it. The laity are the people of God and if they are unhappy, the diocese is unhappy, the churches are unhappy and people leave. The archbishop would find that intolerable and the bishop in question would be made to go. No drawn out lawsuits, no reference to canons, no meeting out of tens of thousands of dollars to a man in temporary exile. He would have to go. The bishop said it had happened twice in his province, the bishop was told to leave and as a result the diocese suffered very little. "I think your diocese will now go into serious decline. People will not stay with a leader like that."

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The agenda for this CAPA conference has a strong social justice thread running through it, but today's meetings showed that speakers were not afraid to touch hot button issues. Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean all but called for an end to Anglican hostilities saying it is time to move on. I will post his full lecture as soon as I can obtain it. The truth is these African bishops are simply fed up with the West. As far as they are concerned, the only thing left to do apart from formally splitting is to send evangelists westward to re-evangelize the whole messy post-modern, secular west that has virtually dumped the gospel for feel good Christianity.

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Chatted with a bishop from Nigeria who spent time at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut where he undertook Christian/Islamic studies. He told me how he was invited to preach at an Episcopal parish one Sunday, but when he learned there were activist homosexuals and lesbians in the parish he turned them down. He said he couldn't preach or take communion with people who were deliberately flouting the Moral Law of God on sexual behavior. From then on his life was made a living hell at the seminary and he was dubbed "Fundamentalist John". He took it all in good spirits, got his Master's degree and returned to Africa a wiser man.

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Philip Groves, facilitator of the Listening Process is here button-holing bishops with his message that being gay is okay, but we do want to hear your point of view even if it happens to be different from the accepted Western Anglican zeitgeist of one percent of homosexuals in provinces with ASA of less than a million, not to mention Scripture. No one is buying it. The Listening Process is, of course, not about "listening". It is about desensitizing bishops into believing that if you listen to the whine of Anglican pansexualists long enough, you will just roll over and accept the fiction that God made them that way.

*****

Tonight we all enjoyed a wonderful program of African music and dance put on by our hosts. A stand-up comedian took deposed and now deceased former "King of Scotland" president Idi Amin apart in a number of skits. It was a truly memorable evening that was recorded by Kevin Kallsen of Anglican-TV. When the videos become available, VOL will let you know.

END

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