Though the media makes much of antagonism between The Episcopal Church and Anglicans in Africa, the reality is far more nuanced, as the participation of a number of Episcopalians in this week’s conference of African bishops makes clear.
Matthew Davies of ENS has the full story. Here is an excerpt:
The Rev. Canon Petero Sabune is among the attendees from the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, which has longstanding partnerships with most of the Anglican provinces in Africa. Sabune, the Episcopal Church’s Africa partnerships officer, told ENS that Jefferts Schori’s message sums up why he is attending the conference.
“CAPA can be the church for the 21st century,” he said. “This gathering is a clarion call to reach out with the power of the Gospel, using the new tools of technology.”
Sabune noted that in 1900, there were 10 million Christians in Africa, but by 2000 that number had grown to 360 million. “Christ is doing new things,” he said. “The continent with the most ancient Christian community is exploding at the seams with new life in Jesus.”
Sabune said he will bring “good news of great joy from the Episcopal Church that those in prison are being visited, the hungry are fed and the homeless have homes. Jesus is proclaimed as Lord and Savior in small rural churches and in large urban cathedrals. The Episcopal Church is low church evangelical and high church Anglo-catholic.”
Episcopal Relief & Development is represented by six staff members, who are attending the gathering as observers and to connect with partners in Anglican dioceses and provinces throughout Africa. They include Rob Radtke, president; Malaika Kamunanwire, senior director of marketing and communications; Nagulan Nesiah and Danielle Tirello, program officers; and Shaun Walsh and Kellie McDaniel of the NetsforLife program, a partnership that has benefited 18 million people by implementing integrated malaria-prevention programs in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Trinity Church, Wall Street, which through its grants program supports projects throughout Africa, also will be represented at the gathering. Representatives also are expected from the Anglican Communion Office, Lambeth Palace, United Nations bodies and the African Union.