UPDATED: 9 p.m.
The Church of Uganda has attempted to seat the Rev. J. Philip Ashey, chief operating officer of the schismatic American Anglican Council, as its clerical representative to the Anglican Consultative Council Meeting in Jamaica. The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting and the ACC has refused the request.
As Doug LeBlanc has reported, Ashey recently compared the role of the American Anglican Council to Special Forces of the U.S. military:
“Like Special Forces, we go behind the scenes and we blow up things,” he said, adding quickly that what the AAC blows up is principalities and powers.
Correspondence between the Church of Uganda and Canon Kenneth Kearon follow in parts one through five. Part six is a letter from Archbishop Henry Orombi, who, despite being a member of the Joint Standing Committee has never attended one of its meetings, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams.
A few things to note: In part one, the Church of Uganda notifies Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council that Ashey is to be their clerical representative, but list his mailing address in Kampala, thus disguising the fact that he lives in Atlanta. This letter is dated just eight days before the ACC meeting is to begin.
In part five, Canon Kearon writes:
The Joint Standing Committee has discussed this at length. We understand that the Revd Philip Ashey’s relationship with the Church of the Province of Uganda is as a result of a cross provincial intervention, and note that such interventions are contrary to the Windsor Report and other reports accepted by successive meetings of the Instruments of Communion, including Primates’ Meetings which you have attended.
In Part six, Archbishop Orombi writes:
The appointment of Rev. Philip Ashey to fill a vacancy at the last minute provides the Church of Uganda with a strong voice of a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Ruwenzori. It is also a voice for the almost 100,000 orthodox Anglicans in North America who have been persecuted by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, who will not be represented by their delegations to ACC-14, and who will not otherwise have voice or seat at the table of the ACC. It is important for the Communion to be reminded that there is a serious tear in the fabric of our communion; all is not well and there continues to be an urgent need to address the ongoing crisis before us.
Ruth Gledhill is developing this story in the context of a more comprehensive look at what is happening in Jamaica at her blog.
Click Read more to see the Church of Uganda's press release.
CHURCH OF UGANDA P.O. Box 14123, Kampala FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 4th May 2009 Anglican Consultative Council Refuses to Seat Ugandan Delegate On the first day of the ACC-14 meeting, the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council made an unconstitutional decision to refuse to seat the clergy delegate from the Church of Uganda. The Church of Uganda is entitled to three delegates – a Bishop, priest, and lay person. In an e-mail dated 24th April, Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, wrote the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, saying, “I’m grateful for the nomination of Rev. Philip Ashey as ACC Delegate…and I look forward to welcoming him to ACC.” Rev. Philip Ashey is a priest of Ruwenzori Diocese in the Church of Uganda, living and working in Atlanta, USA. During the first press briefing, Venerable Paul Feheley, the ACC’s Spokesperson, stated that each province appoints its own delegates to the ACC, as written in the constitution of the ACC.
In a surprising move, the Joint Standing Committee, meeting on 1st May, exceeded the limits of their authority, reversed Canon Kearon’s decision of 24th April, and determined that Rev. Ashey was not “qualified” to serve as a delegate, citing section 4(e) of the Constitution of the ACC. Their reason? Rev. Ashey is an American who was received into the Church of Uganda in 2005.
In a 2nd May letter appealing to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Orombi wrote,
“The appointment of delegates to the ACC from a Province is purely an internal matter and is not subject to review by any body within the ACC, including the Joint Standing Committee. That the Joint Standing Committee would assume such authority is a gross violation of our constitutional relationships, not to mention a further tearing of our bonds of affection. Our reasons for appointing one of our American priests to represent us as our clergy delegate are our reasons, and are not for the Joint Standing Committee to question. Section 4(e) does not give the Joint Standing Committee or the ACC the right to interfere in the appointing body’s determination of the “qualification” of a delegate. For the Joint Standing Committee to assume this power is nothing short of an imperialistic and colonial decision that violates the integrity of the Church of Uganda.”
When asked why he didn’t send a Ugandan priest to represent the Church of Uganda, Archbishop Orombi replied, “We had a last minute vacancy for our clergy delegate and couldn’t organize travel and visas for one of our Ugandan clergy to go. When we learned that our priest, Rev. Philip Ashey could go to Jamaica, we asked him to represent us.”
Orombi continued, “The appointment of Rev. Philip Ashey to fill a vacancy at the last minute provides the Church of Uganda with a strong voice of a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Ruwenzori. It is also a voice for the almost 100,000 orthodox Anglicans in North America who have been persecuted by TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, who will not be represented by their delegations to ACC-14, and who will not otherwise have voice or seat at the table of the ACC. It is important for the Communion to be reminded that there is a serious tear in the fabric of our communion; all is not well and there continues to be an urgent need to address the ongoing crisis before us.”
When asked why he was not present for the meeting, Archbishop Orombi said, “I am speaking at the New Wine conference in the north of England at the same time the ACC is meeting. This speaking engagement has been in my diary for a long time. It was an unavoidable conflict. I regret that my alternate to the Primates Standing Committee, Archbishop Justice Akrofi of West Africa, was also not able to attend.”
The Church of Uganda’s Bishop delegate was not able to attend the meeting because of a conflict with a previously scheduled trip to the UK.
The Church of Uganda will be represented only by its lay delegate, who protested the decision of the Joint Standing Committee to refuse to seat Uganda’s clergy delegate. Her protest was, nonetheless, overridden by other interests on the Joint Standing Committee.
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Correspondence related to this unfortunate incident is attached.
For interviews, please contact
Mr. Onesimus Asiimwe, Chaplain to the Archbishop of Uganda, at +256 717 111 222 (Uganda)
Rev. Philip Ashey at +1 876 282 3572 (Jamaica)
Church of Uganda
P.O. Box 14123
+256 782 321 027