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Archbishop of Kenya to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Kenya to the Archbishop of Canterbury

The Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya, has written to the Archbishop laying out why he will not be sending representatives to the upcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.  His essential beef is that whatever it is the Primates thought they were doing isn’t coming to pass and not only are the Americans not being punished or brought to repentance, but that the entire apparatus of the Communion is being used as a cudgel to compel his other like-minded churches to tolerate LGBT persons and see them as anything other than despicable sinners.
You can find the whole thing here, and we have reprinted it in its entirety below.

Your Grace,


Greetings in the precious name of our Lord Jesus!


Thank you for your letter of 16th March and your good wishes. We do indeed rejoice in the Saviour who by his death has overcome death and it is my prayer that we may all count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in the Risen Christ.


I note the urgency of your appeal for representation at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka next month and, as one of those Primates who have decided that I cannot authorise attendance, I feel I must respond.  It was my hope that our decision taken in Canterbury to limit the participation of the Episcopal Church of the United States (TEC) would be the first step in recovering godly order and that ‘enhanced responsibility’ of the Primates Meeting, as affirmed in Lambeth 1998 Resolution III.6, to which you refer.


But now there has been a strong rejection of our moral authority by the Chairman of the ACC, Bishop Tengatenga, who has said that the ‘primates think they are more important than anyone else’ and has affirmed in clear terms that TEC will participate fully and without restriction.


This is a symptom of the problem set out so clearly by Archbishop Okoh in his statement of 15th March explaining why Nigeria also would not be participating in the Lusaka meeting. The Communion ‘Instruments’ are not being used so much as instruments of unity but as instruments to cajole orthodox Global South provinces of the Communion into acquiescence with the secular sexual culture which has made such inroads into the Anglican Churches of the West.


You rightly refer to the need for repentance and confession, which was such a feature of the East African Revival, but there does not seem to be any recognition that homosexual activity is a matter for repentance by those speaking on behalf of the London based Anglican Communion authorities. Instead there are only calls to repent of ‘homophobia’, a term which is seriously compromised by the way homosexual activists have used it to include any opposition to their agenda.


This inability to recognise that the acceptance of homosexual practice calls for repentance is now entrenched by the ‘Continuing Indaba’ programme being promoted by the Anglican Communion Office. Because it is based on the assumption that the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality and marriage is not clear, despite two thousand years of Christian teaching and tradition that it is, it becomes impossible to talk about repentance.


Instead we have to focus on processes which respect different interpretations and cultural sensibilities. I can only assume it is for this reason that you were so anxious to speak of our resolution agreed in Canterbury in terms of consequences rather than discipline or sanction.  If we are truly to walk together, we must walk in the light of God’s Word. May I urge that we return to the clear standard of Scripture as affirmed by Lambeth 1998 Resolution III.5 which ‘in agreement with the Lambeth Quadrilateral, and in solidarity with the Lambeth Conference of 1888’ affirmed that the ‘Holy Scriptures contain ‘all things necessary to salvation’ and are for us the ‘rule and ultimate standard’ of faith and practice’.


In a time of widespread confusion on issues of sexuality and gender, an important test of our faithfulness to the Scriptural standard must therefore be upholding historic Anglican doctrine and teaching on marriage and sexuality as affirmed by the whole of the Lambeth 1998 Resolution I.10, including ‘rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’ and the Conference’s rejection of the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions and the ordination of those involved in such unions.


TEC, the Anglican Church of Canada, and a number of other provinces which are following their example, have rejected these standards yet we are expected to walk together with them. If they can disregard Scripture and the collegial mind of the Communion with impunity, I wonder what meaning there can be to what you refer to as ‘the acceptable limits of diversity’?  In these circumstances, some of us have been forced to the conclusion that the best way to make our voices heard is by absence rather than presence. We have no wish to interfere in the juridical authority of other provinces, but we do have a responsibility to ensure that our recognition of one another in the Anglican family is based on a common submission to the authority of God’s Word, not simply a shared history.


I am grieved to be writing to you in such terms, but this letter comes with my best wishes for a blessed Holy Week and Easter and let me assure you of my continued prayers and affection, trusting that as we are steadfast in the work of the Risen Lord, our labour will not be in vain.



The Most Reverend Dr Eliud Wabukala,

Archbishop of Kenya and Bishop, All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi.

CC The Primates of the Anglican Communion


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Paul Woodrum

Ms Marshall, are you suggesting gay Kenyans alone produced 100,000 children before dying of AIDS? The AIDS part I understand, but the production part has me somewhat confused. Please explain further.

Martin Reynolds

I have heard this concern about English law mentioned before.
I am not sure what specific concerns there are around this matter.
As I understand it the articles of the charity comply with aspects of law relating to equality legislation from which the UK churches are exempt. It seems like a red herring to me.

Prof Christopher Seitz

If true that is reassuring.

Martin Reynolds

Can you be more specific?

christopher seitz

I believe the question is whether it is possible to undertake at the ACC level what the Primates declared without being charged with discrimination. But I suspect I am repeating myself.

Easter blessings.

Martin Reynolds

But, there are laws now in place that would make the infamous Akinola obscenities about being “lower than the animals” and suchlike much more likely to see the perpetrator arrested.
Is it the area of “hate speech” that concerns these men?

Martin Reynolds

It seems clear from these letters and from a letter Welby sent some time ago reminding Primates of their signature on the Dromantine Communique, that he was determined to nail the homophobia that has masqueraded as “protecting marriage” etc.
My understanding back in 2005 was that Sydney and others had their hooks so firmly into Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda that they were already all but lost to the Communion.
Some of these have changed their canon law to weaken their relationship with the Communion instruments. So, while Welby may have spun the meeting to seem as if all agreed that put the onus on these three to declare OUT and that is what careful diplomacy is all about.
In Dar Es Salaam the reliable evidence suggests there were 16 threatening to walk away, so things have (seemingly) got better. These are early days and we should not underestimate the influence of Jensen and his allies.

Jeremy Bates

“[I]f Welby has succeeded in isolating them from their Gafcon allies, he has done much more than I expected of him.”

I seriously doubt this was Welby’s intention. With his talk of unanimity, he was trying to mask the fact that several primates had left.

Martin Reynolds

You weren’t correcting my punctuation. …….. Surely ?

Martin Reynolds

For those interested in the development of the Communion this letter and the others from Uganda and Nigeria are important documents in understanding how things are moving.
It seems the dynamic for a further or “enhanced” role for the Primates has reached its limit and there has been some pull back.
The latest offering from that ill named Anglican Communion Institute is worth a read, if only to refresh oneself on just how much Ephraim Radner dislikes TEC. Radner is correct to say that there is a perverse almost Trumpesque isolationist view articulated which seems to ignore the development of closer communion ties over the past four decades and the key role played in that by PECUSA both theologically and financially.
These were the key years of ecumenism, it would have been a nonsense to look for a deeper relationship with other denominations without the search for a deeper unity and more whole Anglican Communion.
Part of that plan was the development of the Primates meeting and Radner lays out the motions from three Lambeth Conferences pushing that forward. What does not happen and what is also called for is any real Communion wide debate about “authority” and what the responses to the reception of the Covenant demonstrated was that many member churches have yet to develop robust or even flimsy ways of considering Communion matters. The family is a few decades away from the capacity to work together in a way envisaged by those who would like to see greater intimacy or common understanding of how authority might be dispersed and exercised.
Radner is angry at the conspiracy to defeat the drive for evangelism, I see his point but he fails to grasp that it only recently, in my priestly lifetime, that Africa, South America and the East stopped being an adjunct of the British Embassy and fertile ground for those who didn’t go to Eaton or Harrow to seek an episcopal appointment. Even at home we were in a comfortable sophistication that saw other churches supplying us with members when the convert needed more than the thin veneer of spirituality they found elsewhere. We were class riden often racist.
We were more a club than a church., and that was not a new thing. And even now amongst the best evangelical congregations these symptoms survive and flourish. So it was with PECUSA. My first experience of her was in the early 70s at the invitation of Bp Gray Temple of South Carolina, ( a great man ) the diocese was warm and generous thoroughly racist and completely inward looking.
Otherwise Radner seems to miss completely the extraordinary lengths TEC has gone to to support the Communion and to see itself humiliated at Notingham and BO33 and The meeting Rowan Williams in New Orleans.
The extraordinary silence of the Presiding Bishops and the merciless personal attacks and hateful abuse piled on them, even to their consent to Primates Meeting statements that I would see as abusive. I see a steady and constant desire and presence – even when one of their number was not invited to Lambeth, they came.
There is far more, but all of it is a testimony not to the “screw them all” school of though often present in commentators here, but a genuine testimony of grace and commitment to the Communion TEC had been the key player in shaping and forming
What is missing from Radner ‘ s vituperative analysis is any recognition of the extraordinary lengths TEC went to, and it seems is still willing to endure, for the benefit of the Communion.
What is missing from Radner’s piece is the acknowledgment that rule by Primates has past, he is now behind the curve.
Radner published on March 8th just before the flurry of letters that reveals how the inner workings have now changed.
In fact the Primates overreached themselves at Dar Es Salaam and that was due almost entirely to a small group of white men in a nearby hotel trying to organise a coup.
My own view, is that had this small group of men not been so proactive, if the conservatives had stayed within TEC and not all been consecrated, we might have a Covenant and rule by Primates as established practice.
Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda were identified way back in 2005 as the three that needed to “be cut off”, if Welby has succeeded in isolating them from their Gafcon allies, he has done much more than I expected of him.
Only time will tell.

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