31 August 2010

Interesting letter


This has been floating around the net for a couple days. As two larger blog efforts I consider pretty reliable have now published it, I think it is probably legitimate. There are several points worth making.
  1. This does not appear to be intended for publication. Rather it appears to be something the authors circulated at the CAPA conference.
  2. The image that the schism minded have worked so hard to portray, all of Africa ready to walk away from the communion because TEC and AC Canada are not ultra-conservative is false.
  3. It is clear that some in Africa see what I see -- North Americans willing to use Africans for their own gain.

IRD inter alia are about using Central African views on sex as a lever to move the Anglican Communion so they are in and the bad TEC / AC Canada are tossed out. They are not interested in the problems of Africa, they are interested in themselves.

African bishops are a pretty bright bunch. And as offended as they may be by the liberal North American positions, they are beginning it appears to discern who their real friends are and are not. So, while I am not sure about it, I hope the letter is legitimate.

The letter does not by the way let the liberals off the hook. These authors are not happy with TEC or ACCanada. That is OK, they do not have to agree with us. I am sure we can disagree and fight without the rancor and schism that fuels the ACNA folks. It is all about boundaries. If we agree that what we do in our space is open to discussion but that the boundaries remain, I think we can survive. They call that a communion.

TEXT OF LETTER
We are gathered here for the All Africa Bishops Conference, Entebbe, Uganda 23 -29 August 2010; at a critical time in the life of the Anglican Church in Africa and the wider Anglican Communion. We hold dear the gift of the Anglican Communion and its Institutions with the Archbishop of Canterbury as our head. We seek to preserve its traditions.

We are grateful to God for the theme of this Conference: Securing the Future: Unlocking our Potential (Hebrew 12: 1-2). The purpose of which is to be pro-active in addressing the ills that beset Africa such as poverty, wars, bad governance, HIV and AIDS, and, environmental issues. The focus of this Conference is therefore about making the Anglican Church in Africa relevant in this context.

We are mindful that the Anglican Communion is under severe strain because of certain actions taken by the Episcopal Church, TEC by their ordination of openly gay bishops.

TEC’s recent action of consecrating an openly lesbian person as a bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles against a moratorium in the Communion of consecrating openly gay bishops reflected a gross insensitivity to the feelings of the rest of the Communion.

We are therefore sympathetic to the deep hurt and pain and indeed anger that some Provinces in Africa have expressed. Notwithstanding, the impression being created at the Conference that all Provinces in Africa are of one mind to abandon our relationship with TEC is wrong. Painful as the action is it should not become the presenting issue to lead to the break- up of our legacy and this gift of God- the world wide Anglican Communion.

We recognize that all the Provinces and dioceses in Africa do not condone TEC’s action. However, Provinces differ in their relationships with TEC in light of their actions. Some Provinces continue to value their historical partnerships with TEC and its organs. To discard these relationships would be tantamount to abandoning our call of the gospel to struggle with each other’s failure as we journey with Christ in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation as we were passionately reminded by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, of the virtue of tolerance and to live with our rich diversity.

In pursuit of its objective to form a new “province” in North America, ACNA has been successful in bringing together most of the splinter groups within the Anglican tradition. We recognize that the common factor that holds all the coalition partners of ACNA is TEC. We do not support ACNA’s position for legitimacy through the elimination of TEC.

Three of the Instruments of Unity have already stated their position on the matter and we believe they represent the mind of the vast majority of the Communion including CAPA.

The majority of the African Provinces at this Conference are being ambushed by an agenda that is contrary to the beliefs and practices of our various Provinces. We have come to this Conference to share ideas on critical issues in the development of our continent and provide spiritual and moral leadership for our people.

Any thought of abandoning our Communion with any member of the body will hurt; for when one part of the body is injured the whole suffers. CAPA must not be used as a pawn in battles it is not party too. CAPA as you all know is not an organ of the Anglican Communion but a fellowship of Provinces of Africa. Therefore, issues of doctrine are better addressed as it has always been by individual provinces.

Note especially:
In pursuit of its objective to form a new “province” in North America, ACNA has been successful in bringing together most of the splinter groups within the Anglican tradition. We recognize that the common factor that holds all the coalition partners of ACNA is TEC. We do not support ACNA’s position for legitimacy through the elimination of TEC.
These are sophisticated political folks, in Africa as in the North one does not become a bishop without being political. They understand ACNA's problem, that is it has no reason to stay together without TEC and ACCanada to despise and no program that can unite it unless it takes over the TEC / ACCanada places at the Anglican table.

The tragedy is that the people who launched the schism really do not even care. They started the schism not to make a better or even purer church but to deny TEC its voice in the public square. To them some of the pawns wear miters.

FWIW
jimB

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

what if they really think they are trying to save the world?

Jim said...

People who are trying to save the world have 3 issues. First they would not lie cheat and steal. Second they would not be focused on their own positions. Third, been done -- some dude named "Jesus" already saved it. No Christian can therefore put herself forward to save it.

FWIW
jimB

Christal said...

It is amazing to me how people will take aforementioned actions in the name of rightneousness. They believe they will be blessed for it, I think.

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