Abp. Orombi criticizes the New Orleans report

The Primate of Uganda, Henry Orombi, has spoken out on the reasons that he chose not to attend the Joint Standing Committee's meeting with the House of Bishop's in New Orleans. He is a member of the JSC, as is the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

In addition Archbishop Orombi critiques the "coaching" of the American House of Bishops as they made their response to the Dar es Salaam Communiqué.

"[He] said he was suspicious that the joint standing committee presence would prevent an honest response from the Episcopal bishops, and therefore he declined to attend.

The joint standing committee report was released this week without endorsement from four of the 13 members who attended. Bishop Mouneer Anis, Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, has subsequently issued a minority report, objecting to the process by which the report was developed and its conclusion that the bishops’ response was acceptable.

‘The report is severely compromised and further tears the existing tear in the fabric of our beloved Anglican Communion,’ Archbishop Orombi wrote. ‘It is gravely lamentable that our Instruments of Communion have missed the opportunity in this moment to begin the healing that is so necessary for our future.’"

There have been allegations of interference in the work of the Instruments of Unity before this particular meeting.

Read the rest of the article at the Living Church

Comments (3)

This guy at t19 says it pretty well: http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/6584/#122846

"It is perplexing to read complaints about process from folks who were silent after the bizarre shenanigans at Dromantine and Dar es Salaam, to hear questions of authorship coming from supporters of the Global South Primates who have a habit of affixing people’s signatures to documents which they have not read, and to read calls for recusal from people who were silent about Drexel Gomez’s participation at the consecration of Atwood, et al. while serving as chair of the covenant design group."

Stephen Bates had several choice contributions at the time of DeS
Archbishop Akinola absented himself several times from the meeting during the day to consult with the British and American evangelicals, including Bishop Minns, who have been lobbying the meeting. He failed to accompany other primates on Sunday for a trip to celebrate a service at the cathedral in nearby Zanzibar, pleading that he had a bad back, but he appeared to be moving freely as he visited the lobbyists yesterday.


At first it seemed Akinola's faction, largely consisting of other equatorial African primates, would object to the admission to the meeting of the new US presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman ever to head a Christian denomination. There was even some consideration, apparently, of giving her the cold shoulder. This was abandoned as a tactic, however, with the evangelicals fearing it would not play well even with their own supporters, some of whom know women. Instead they settled for attempting the disciplining of the American church: setting it rules and timescales for meeting the rest of the communion's demands that it should row back on the consecration of any more gay bishops or the adoption of blessing services for gay couples - something the Americans had already basically accepted to do. The tactic was thrown into some disarray when a working party, led by Dr Williams, produced an unexpectedly favourable report on the Episcopal Church's attempt to fall into line. This scarcely gave the conservatives the ammunition they had been anticipating and the report produced howls of outrage on the chattering blogsites of America. Hence Akinola's hurried consultations in the hotel. His lobbyists eventually produced their own draft communique of demands which in itself did not go down terribly well with the other African archbishops who had expected to be consulted before being asked to support it.

(My bold.)


At the Dromantine Catholic seminary in Northern Ireland, at their last meeting two years ago, the lobbying was surreptitious: the Americans provided the developing world archbishops with free mobile phones so they could keep in touch, and one American conservative bishop turned up complete with diamond-patterned jersey claiming to be on a golfing holiday in nearby Newry, in February. This time, all pretence was dropped. The conservative faction moved en masse into the next door hotel for two days in advance to discuss their demands and the strategies they needed to achieve them.


Religious correspondents are not generally used to the old tabloid trick of doorstepping, but that is how we spent our time, albeit occasionally observing the comings and goings from the hotel swimming pool. When Nigeria's Archbishop Peter Akinola, the leader of the conservative faction of developing world primates, emerged from the ring of steel, inconspicuously dressed in full tribal costume complete with headdress, to consult his American advisers he found himself pursued by journalists with microphones and at least one elderly reporter in swimming trunks trying desperately to cover himself with a towel as he trotted after His Grace shouting questions.

The most amusing development in the wake of the New Orleans meeting is the cry of "political manipulation" arising from the domestic and international right. The folks who baptized the Strom Thurmond-Lee Atwater playbook--and tapped many of Atwater's financial supporters--want us to believe that they are alarmed to find that politics has broken out. What actually alarms them is that in this one, perhaps fleeting instance, they have been politically outmaneuvered.

We have been moving in a politically charged milieu at least since the Ekklesia Society (the one in Texas, not the one in England) began raising money from the American right to finance its attempt to oust the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion. To take Archbishop Orombi's remarks seriously (whether they originate with him or his American allies Alison Barfoot and Stephen Noll--and whether they were drafted before or after the JSC report was actually released) one has to believe in a moral calculus that deems the maneuverings that marred the Lambeth Conference in 1998 and the Primates meetings at Dromantine and Dar es Salaam as good, but the consultations that went on in New Orleans as bad.

Does it surprise anyone that our bishops, in their desire to maintain or membership in the Communion asked the Joint Standing Committee's guidance on what it thought was required to do so? Does it strike anyone as odd that as they prepared themselves to pay the price for alienating their usual allies, bishops of the right and left wanted some sense that the compromise they offered the Communion would receive a respectful hearing?

The Anglican right is so used to issuing ultimatums that it goes tachycardic when negation takes place. It is so accustomed to getting its own way when the instruments of unity convene that it hasn't learned how to behave when it doesn’t. The result has been a series of disingenuous temper tantrums, and bizarre lamentations about “process.”

Yes, rather than having leaders of the bishops of the Episcopal Church and the Joint Standing Committee communicate with one another, let’s lock 38 people into a room, allow partisans of only one side to communicate with them electronically, and keep them there until they produce a document which everyone will agree to and then interpret differently when the meeting is over. That, after all has been a template for good government dating at least the Federalist Papers.

The common theme in statements from Orombi and his allies, dating at least to the Robinson consecration, is that any development of which they do not approve "tears the fabric of the Communion." Rendered honestly, that phrase means “we plan to use this event as a pretext to tear the fabric of the Communion, a plan we agreed on in 2003, and have pursued with varying degrees of duplicity ever since.”

(A later clarification: In mentioning Strom Thurmond and Lee Atwater, I am not refering specifically to their use of race as a wedge issue, but to their use of wedge issues in general.)

Orombi has issued a statement,
including this sentence: "[The Episcopal Church], in fact, have decided to walk apart, and we are distressed that they are trying to take the rest of the Anglican Communion with them."

The only way that prediction will become true is if people's hearts and minds are changed. Is that a bad thing? If the Americans are teaching false doctrine don't adopt it.

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