News for Week Ending 8/30/2010
Conference of African bishops concludesAs we reported here last week, the second All African Bishops Conference (AABC), organized by the Council of African Provinces of Africa (CAPA), met in Entebbe, Uganda, August 23–29, 2010. Nearly 400 African bishops attended, as well as notable guests, including the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; Archbishop John Chew, primate of South East Asia and Global South chairman; and Archbishop Robert Duncan, primate of the independent Anglican Church in North America.
Two public statements were issued at the end of the AABC, and they reflect a certain bifurcation of the conference agenda. The CAPA primates issued a communiqué lamenting the “alien and cultural arrogance which undermines the moral fiber of our societies” and attacking departures from the “standard teaching of the Anglican Communion” by The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Church of England. The primates declared that “it is obligatory of all Provinces to observe the agreed decisions and recommendations of the Windsor Report and the various communiqués of the past three Primates Meetings, especially Dar es Salaam in 2007.” (We have provided a link to the statement on Thinking Anglicans, as AABC Web site has not kept pace with conference developments.)
A separate and longer statement was issued over the signatures of the CAPA chairman and vice-chairman. It calls for the protection of “Anglican orthodoxy,” a “Biblical standard” of the family, and a stronger Anglican covenant. It does not, however, attack specific Anglican Communion churches. Much of the document is devoted to specifically African problems—inadequate medical care, food insecurity, abuse and slavery, poverty, climate change, and political concerns. Anglican Communion News Service reported on the statement here. Episcopal News Service’s wrap-up on AABC can be found here. Thinking Anglicans covered the conference extensively beginning here.
VirtueOnline has posted a story suggesting that African bishops are not of one mind regarding The Episcopal Church. In a story dated August 29, 2010, David Virtue quotes from a letter from two African Anglican Provinces—Central Africa and Southern Africa—to the effect that those provinces do not agree with attempts to marginalize The Episcopal Church. Whereas the letter does not condone actions of The Episcopal Church that have angered Global South bishops, it says that to abandon “relationships [with The Episcopal Church] 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 and to live with our rich diversity.” The letter also rejects the idea of replacing The Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion with the Anglican Church of North America.