Africa / Faith and religion

Dissent weakens anti-gay coalition in Anglican Communion

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of the Anglican Church of Kenya is the chairman of anti-gay GAFCON. (Photo courtesy of WestFM.co.ke)

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of the Anglican Church of Kenya. (Photo courtesy of WestFM.co.ke)

Cracks are showing in the formerly united front of anti-gay Anglicans who oppose steps toward acceptance of LGBTI people within the Anglican Communion of churches descended from the Church of England.

Kenyan members of a high-level Anglican Communion council have reportedly rejected an appeal to boycott a council meeting in Zambia on the grounds that representatives of the LGBTI-friendly U.S.-based Episcopal Church will also attend that meeting. The council meeting is scheduled for April 8 to 16 in Lusaka, Zambia.

The anti-gay Anglican Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, appealed to his colleagues not to attend and expressed regret that they were not following his advice.

“It is a matter of regret that this Church’s delegation to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka has been encouraged to disregard my spiritual counsel and attend this meeting. …

“Despite my public statement and my personal direction to them, the Kenyan delegation has informed me of their intention to be present, with air tickets purchased for them and assignments already given.”

The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga (Photo courtesy of Anglican Communion Office)

The Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga (Photo courtesy of Anglican Communion Office)

Archbishops and other leaders, called primates, of the Anglican Communion voted in January to  discipline the Episcopal Church for accepting same-sex marriage, but those leaders do not have authority to demand compliance with their instructions.  In particular, the Rt. Rev. James Tengatenga, chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council, decided that delegates from the Episcopal Church have the “right and responsibility” to vote at the next council meeting.

Wabukala protested:

“The provisions of this resolution, and the Primates’ authority to make it, have been rejected by Bishop Tengatenga, the Chairman of the ACC. As a result, the Provinces of Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and most recently Jerusalem and the Middle East announced that they could not attend. …

“It seems that the rejection of the moral and spiritual authority of the Primates by the ACC Chairman, without public rebuke from the Archbishop of Canterbury, has become infectious and is encouraging further breakdown of godly order in the Communion.”

Nigerian Anglicans have remained firm in their rejection of attendance at a meeting that involves inclusive Episcopalians. As Anglo-Nigerian LGBTI activist Davis Mac-Iyalla explains:

Sadly the Nigerian delegates are threatened with excommunication if they ever attend. Someday, the bondage of unfairness of the Anglican Church in Africa will be broken to enable Equality and Unity for all people.

The Rev. Colin Coward, founder of Changing Attitude, which seeks full acceptance of LGBTI people in the Anglican Communion, stated:

The Rev. Colin Coward (Photo courtesy of The Independent)

The Rev. Colin Coward (Photo courtesy of The Independent)

“So the Kenyan members of the Anglican Consultative Council are rejecting the leadership and advice of their Primate and are attending the ACC 16 meeting in Lusaka. I have for many years reported that those who claim to represent the majority in the Anglican Communion as being against the direction of travel initiated by the Episcopal Churches in the USA and Canada do not ‘represent’ any majority but are simply those with the most aggressive voices who, contrary to the pattern of Jesus, use and abuse their authority and power to control and abuse others.

“The Kenyan ACC members show that there is radical dissent from the stance of their Primate in the Church of Kenya and enough confidence to act in a way that undermines his authority and teaching. Dr Eliud Wabukala is chair of the [conservative anti-gay] GAFCON movement and writes as if there is an undivided common mind in GAFCON towards schisms in the Communion and the place of LGBTI people. I know from my visit to Kenya and meetings with Kenyan bishops and the retired former Primate that this isn’t true. The Kenyan delegates reveal this truth publicly. Every other GAFCON Province is similarly compromised, though the dissent might be greatest in Kenya and least in Nigeria.

Logo of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. The design of the logo is mirrors the shape of the roof of Lusaka Cathedral. A cathedral built on the top of a hill whose roof can be seen from around the city of Lusaka. The colours used in the image are all the colours in the flags of Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia - the countries of the dioceses that make up the Province of Central Africa who invited the ACC to Lusaka.

Logo of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia. The design of the logo mirrors the shape of the roof of Lusaka Cathedral and the cross there. The colors are from the flags of Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia — the countries of the dioceses that make up the Province of Central Africa who invited the ACC to Lusaka.

“Will any other delegations from GAFCON Provinces where their Archbishop is refusing to attend also break ranks and go to Lusaka?

“The GAFCON axis, and its associates in the Church of England, are a small group of, primarily, men, whose minds are closed to God’s unconditional, infinite, intimate love revealed most intensely and gently in the life of Jesus Christ. Their false Gospel leads them into attitudes and practices in which women and LGBTI people are demeaned and abused.

“Wabukala demeans women in the Kenyan Church by refusing to allow a women to become a bishop, despite the Church having agreed this decades ago. GAFCON is split on the place of women in the Church. It is not the monolithic, faithfully Christian block it would like the rest of the Communion to believe.”

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2 thoughts on “Dissent weakens anti-gay coalition in Anglican Communion

  1. Pingback: Don’t cry over Anglicans who lost the power to oppress | 76 CRIMES

  2. Pingback: Archbishop to Mugabe: Anti-gay laws are wrong | 76 CRIMES

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