Uganda opts out of the next ACC Meeting

Church of Uganda
Archbishop Stanley Ntagali

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s attempt to heal divisions over homosexuality in the Anglican Communion is on the brink of failure after the Church of Uganda disclosed it is to boycott the next meeting of the communion’s central body.

Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali, who in common with most of his fellow Global South primates is strongly conservative, has openly condemned the “spirit of defiance against Biblical faith and order” that he says “has infected the structures and leadership” of the Anglican Communion.

In a passionate letter that makes clear his disappointment and hurt, he says he feels “betrayed” by Anglican leaders. Accusing the leadership of lacking the will to follow through on discipline, he describes it again as “another deep betrayal”.

He said that as a result, Uganda will not be at the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia in April.

This comes after the US Episcopal Church declared that in spite of “consequences” imposed by the primates in January as a result of its liberal policies on gay ordination and gay marriage, its delegates will attend and vote at the meeting.

In his Lenten letter posted on his website and reported also by George Conger at Anglican Ink, Archbishop Ntgali said he was greatly burdened in praying for his country which has been going through local and national elections. Uganda currently imposes heavy criminal penalties for homosexual activity.

But his second “burden in prayer” was for the Anglican Communion which he said had been “torn at its deepest level” in 2003 after openly gay Gene Robinson was consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire. He said the communion was “broken” and in need of a new constitution.

“We felt so betrayed,” he said, referring to the actions of The Episcopal Church at the time. “It was a double betrayal – betraying the clear message of the Bible and betraying an agreement the primates had made unanimously.”

Thirteen years later, with a new Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, in TEC and a new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Uganda was “cautiously optimistic” that the tear in the fabric of the communion could be repaired and betrayal healed, he continues.

“The overwhelming majority of primates voted that there should be relational consequences for TEC because they are officially promoting false teaching. They should, therefore, not be allowed to represent the Anglican Communion in ecumenical and interfaith dialogues. Likewise, they should not be allowed to vote on matters of doctrine and polity within the Anglican Communion,” he said.

This was an important, symbolic vote because it was a rebuke. It also enabled the primates to re-state their commitment to the doctrine of marriage as between one man and one woman, and in line with resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference.

Recent statements by TEC and others had made clear this was a “symbolic” and not a “substantive” vote.

Archbishop Ntgali, who was the only primate to leave the meeting before the vote, “Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is like we are back in 2003 where we continue to be betrayed by our leaders. The Primates voted to bring discipline to TEC and, yet, we now see that the leadership of the Anglican Communion does not have the will to follow through. This is another deep betrayal.”

He also explained he left the meeting early because he sensed that the leadership was “not serious” about restoring Biblical faith within the Communion.

“A spirit of defiance against Biblical faith and order has infected the structures and leadership of the Anglican Communion. It is a very sad season in the life of our Anglican Communion.”

He said the Church of Uganda’s Provincial Assembly has resolved that the Church of Uganda will not take in meetings of the Anglican Communion until “godly order” is restored. “This has not yet happened. The Church of Uganda, therefore, will not be participating in the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka.”

He and other primates will debate what they do next at the next meeting of the Gafcon Primates Council meeting in Chile in April.

_____________________________________________________

Having failed, at the January Anglican Communion Primates’ Conference at Canterbury, to get TEC (The US Episcopal Church) cast out of the Anglican Communion, for its pro-active stance on the inclusion of LGBTI people in its ministry and mission; the Anglican Primate of Uganda (a Province which backs local government criminalisation of LGBTI people and their supporters in Uganda), Archbishop Stanley Ntagali has pronounced his Province’s decision not to attend the next Meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia in April.

(It should be noted that, at the Primates Conference in Canterbury, the Archbishop of Uganda – in common with other Primates in the Communion whose churches condone homophobia and sexism – was warned that this behaviour was not acceptable to the majority of the Primates. No doubt this is one reason why Ntagali left the Meeting early, before the concluding communique was issued.)

Here is the basic import of Ntagali’s message to fellow Primates in the Anglican Communion, just reported in ‘Anglican Down Under’:

“A spirit of defiance against Biblical faith and order has infected the structures and leadership of the Anglican Communion. It is a very sad season in the life of our Anglican Communion.”

He said the Church of Uganda’s Provincial Assembly has resolved that the Church of Uganda will not take in meetings of the Anglican Communion until “godly order” is restored. “This has not yet happened. The Church of Uganda, therefore, will not be participating in the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka.”

The motivation for this refusal to meet with other Anglicans at the next ACC Meeting in Lusaka, would seem to be tied in with the Ugandan Primates membership of the GAFCON Primates group, which plans its own Primates’ Meeting in Chile, in April of this year.

Whether this will prompt other GAFCON Primates to follow suit, in boycotting the ACC Meeting in Lusaka, may depend on their willingness – or not – to go along with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s plan for Communion provinces to stay together – despite their differences on biblical and theological issues to do with gender and sexuality – a matter that would seem to have been settled by those Primates who remained to the end of the Canterbury Meeting. (It should be noted that Ntangali left before the conculsion of the meeting.)

Whether this tincture of dissent will prompt the Sydney diocese to refuse to send representatives to the ACC Meeting in Lusaka may yet be a moot point – bearing in mind their threatened refusal to attend local bishops’ meeting in Australia if other Australian Provinces do not agree to their prohibition of SSB in the Australian Church.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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