Blog Template Theology of the Body: Anglican Bishops Keeping it all in Perspective in Kigali

Friday, September 22, 2006

Anglican Bishops Keeping it all in Perspective in Kigali

As many of you know, archbishops of the "Global South" of the international Anglican Communion have been meeting in Kigali at my favorite Hotel de Milles Collines (of Hotel Rwanda fame, pictured affectionately above) to discuss the way forward as a community of orthodox faith and practice. I am so pleased to see that they have not neglected the harsh realities of their immediate context in their considerations: Africa is hurting. And every time Christ's Church messes up, Africa seems to hurt even more. The sanctity of Christ's Church will bless the nations in which she resides; conversely, her decadence will lead to the nation's corruption, disease, and despair.

Excerpts of the bishop's communique follow below. Read the whole thing here.

"We have gathered in Rwanda twelve years after the genocide that tragically engulfed this nation and even its churches. During this time Rwanda was abandoned to its fate by the world. Our first action was to visit the Kigali Genocide Museum at Gisozi for a time of prayer and reflection. We were chastened by this experience and commit ourselves not to abandon the poor or the persecuted wherever they may be and in whatever circumstances. We add our voices to theirs and we say, “Never Again!”

...As we prayed and wept at the mass grave of 250,000 helpless victims we confronted the utter depravity and inhumanity to which we are all subject outside of the transforming grace of God. We were reminded again that faith in Jesus Christ must be an active, whole-hearted faith if we are to stand against the evil and violence that threaten to consume our world. We were sobered by the reality that several of our Provinces are presently in the middle of dangerous conflicts. We commit ourselves to intercession for them.

...We are very aware of the agonizing situation in the Sudan. We appreciate and commend the terms of the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and the South. We dare not, however, close our eyes to the devastating situation in Darfur. We are conscious of the complexities but there must be no continuation of the slaughter. We invite people from all of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion and the entire international community to stand in solidarity with the men, women and children in Darfur, Sudan."

... these were events which, in many ways, are directly related to this:

"We deeply regret that, at its most recent General Convention, The Episcopal Church gave no clear embrace of the minimal recommendations of the Windsor Report. We observe that a number of the resolutions adopted by the Convention were actually contrary to the Windsor Report. We are further dismayed to note that their newly elected Presiding Bishop also holds to a position on human sexuality – not to mention other controversial views – in direct contradiction of Lambeth 1.10 and the historic teaching of the Church. The actions and decisions of the General Convention raise profound questions on the nature of Anglican identity across the entire Communion."


"We are, however, greatly encouraged by the continued faithfulness of the Network Dioceses and all of the other congregations and communities of faithful Anglicans in North America. In addition, we commend the members of the Anglican Network in Canada for their commitment to historic, biblical faith and practice. We value their courage and consistent witness. We are also pleased by the emergence of a wider circle of ‘Windsor Dioceses’ and urge all of them to walk more closely together and deliberately work towards the unity that Christ enjoins. We are aware that a growing number of congregations are receiving oversight from dioceses in the Global South and in recent days we have received requests to provide Alternative Primatial Oversight for a number of dioceses. This is an unprecedented situation in our Communion that has not been helped by the slow response from the Panel of Reference. After a great deal of prayer and deliberation, and in order to support these faithful Anglican dioceses and parishes, we have come to agreement on the following actions:...


"At the next meeting of the Primates in February 2007 some of us will not be able to recognize Katharine Jefferts Schori as a Primate at the table with us. Others will be in impaired communion with her as a representative of The Episcopal Church. Since she cannot represent those dioceses and congregations who are abiding by the teaching of the Communion we propose that another bishop, chosen by these dioceses, be present at the meeting so that we might listen to their voices during our deliberations.

We are convinced that the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA. We have asked the Global South Steering Committee to develop such a proposal in consultation with the appropriate instruments of unity of the Communion. We understand the serious implications of this determination. We believe that we would be failing in our apostolic witness if we do not make this provision for those who hold firmly to a commitment to historic Anglican faith."