Fixating on poverty

Reuters has a report from the first day of meeting of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA). Its president, Peter Akinola, emphasized that the council devoted its energies to Africa’s most serious problems. An extract of the report:

QUATRE BORNES, Mauritius, Oct 4 (Reuters) – African Anglican archbishops ducked homosexuality, the issue dividing the worldwide Communion, on Thursday and instead drew attention to the poorest continent’s problems.

Last month Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, one of the Church’s fiercest critics of gay rights, blasted bishops from the U.S. Episcopal Church for “ignoring” pleas to take a clear stand against consecrating gay clergy or blessing gay unions.

Chairing a meeting of African archbishops in Mauritius, Akinola was at pains to avoid the topic.

“I’m trying to avoid dragging us into unnecessary controversy when there are more profitable things to talk about,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting.

“This is Africa, and we would rather focus on those important things that affect us Africans.”

The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa said in a statement it was distressed by drought and floods, Zimbabwe’s political oppression, the Darfur conflict, and HIV/AIDS.

The Caf&eacute gets results? Perhaps, but more likely Akinola is responding to the desire of the membership to focus on Africa’s problems – poverty, disease and injustice. Leadership of CAPA is determined by election by the membership.

Last year’s CAPA meeting did focus on homosexuality. Stephen Noll participated in the drafting of “The Road to Lambeth.”

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  1. This is excellent news, not only because the focus is worthy, but because it indicates that the African bishops have let Akinola know that they are tired of being used as pawns in his efforts to punish the Episcopal Church, and that if he wants to retain his presidency he is going to have to devote himself to more pressing issues. His effort to make it seem as though it is he who is trying to steer a wilfull meeting away from the issue of homosexuality is hooey, but nonetheless, the news is good.

  2. John B. Chilton

    My link in the sentence “Cafe gets results” points to the statement by the (UK) Church Society of a few days ago encouraging CAPA to stay fixated on homosexuality.

    It seems the Church Society has misread the mood in CAPA.

    See also this Ekklesia article, “White Anglicans accused of pressuring African churches on anti-gay agenda”

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