Skip to comments.Africans set to found rival Anglican church
Posted on 09/10/2005 8:29:40 PM PDT by sionnsar
[To the Traditional Anglican ping list: I do not know what to make of the following article. That the expressed attitudes exist is without question. But on more careful reading what looks like a looming split may be mere speculation on the part of the reporter, to wit: "A conference that could turn the Anglican community on its head..."(emphasis added) I will note the article also says: "Since then, Akinola has called for the suspension of the Church of England." Talk of "What happens to the Queen", etc., may well be premature. (Answer: she would still be queen and head of the Church of England. Unlike ECUSA, CofE is not defined in its constitution as a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as far as I know.) --sionnsar]
AFRICANS say they have had enough of the Church of England's endless discussions over the ordination of gay vicars and same-sex blessings. With help from their colleagues in Latin America, African primates, bishops, priests and laymen are getting ready to strike out on their own and establish a new Anglican Church based in Egypt.
A conference that could turn the Anglican community on its head takes place in Alexandria, Egypt, next month, organised by angry Africans and Latin Americans who say they are "sick and tired" of endless debate about same-sex blessings and the ordination of gay Christians. "We've had enough," the Archbishop of Central Africa, Bernard Malango, said last week.
The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) and the recently formed Council of Anglican Provinces of the Americas and Caribbean (CAPAC) will represent up to two-thirds of the world's 77 million Anglicans.
In a new African-based Anglican community they plan to replace the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams as their spiritual leader with the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Jasper Akinola, and exclude homosexuals from full church life.
A leading gay vicar - who asked not to be named - said: "I fear for Rowan Williams if he attends the Alexandria Conference. Anglican dissidents will publicly announce that Archbishop Akinola is their new spiritual leader and that there is no place for the present Archbishop of Canterbury in the new community based in Alexandria.
"I also hear that African Anglicans plan to place a throne in a conference room and ask Archbishop Akinola to sit in it - while Dr Williams is supposed to stand by and watch.
"Where will that leave the man, and where will that leave the Queen, who is head of the Church of England?"
CAPA's members include the Anglican dioceses of Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Egypt. It was formed in July at Nassau after Latin American Christians expressed their bitterness towards the Church of England, saying it was prevaricating on the subject of gay rights and same-sex blessings - 300 of which take place in England every year.
"We were inspired by CAPA," says Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies. He predicts "a shattering split in the entire worldwide Anglican community" following the Church of England's approval of the Civil Partnership Act that comes into force in December.
There are about 13,900 clergy in the Church of England, which is facing slumping attendance and widespread indifference - even though some 25 million people in the UK are nominal members.
Africans have been watching what seems to be growing tolerance by the Church of England towards gays with alarm and deep anger.
Anglicans in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Egypt say that when eight Church of England bishops supported the Civil Partnership Act in the House of Lords they flouted the rules of the worldwide Anglican community.
Since then, Akinola has called for the suspension of the Church of England. "I believe that the temporary suspension of the Church of England is the right course of action to take."
Akinola says that he is disappointed with the example that Williams is setting by appearing to condone the Civil Partnership Act and he advises Anglicans to steer clear of the leadership of Lambeth Palace.
"Lambeth Palace upholds our common historic faith and it will now lose that place of honour in the world."
In a pastoral statement issued in August, English bishops said that they would allow gay clergy to register their partnerships, as long as they abstained from sex.
Akinola asked: "Is the Church of England planning to install cameras in the bedrooms of its clergy?"
However, Richard Kirker, general secretary of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said: "Personally, I'd rather see a split within the ranks of the Anglican community than for people of principle to bow to the demands of homophobic Africans."
Some Anglican churches in Africa are turning away funds from US and Canadian churches because of their tolerance of active gays in the church.
And a vicar from London has been asked by Archbishop Malango to clarify his views before being consecrated as Bishop of Lake Malawi.
The Rev Nick Henderson has two parishes in west London and Malango asked him to confirm that he subscribes to the Creed, the Bible and the Thirty-Nine Articles and "fashions his own life and his household according to the doctrine of Christ".
Until recently, he was chairman of the Modern Churchpeople's Union, which is a leading liberal forum for "open and informed theological comment in the Church of England and the Anglican Communion".
Henderson is unmarried and shares his vicarage with a male lodger, who is organist at one of his churches. In a letter to Henderson, Malango said: "It has been reported that you currently live with a male lodger. Because of reports of your advocacy of the gay and lesbian movement, I am constrained to ask a very awkward question."
Henderson was asked if he believed sexual intimacy should be restricted to within the marriage of one man and one woman. "Is there anything I should know that would make my work difficult if you took up this position?" asked the archbishop.
Henderson was not available for comment and Lambeth Palace is - for the time being - keeping quiet about the seriousness of a looming split.
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