Orombi quits ? Primates group (that he never attended) in a huff



Update: Never mind. Apparently Orombi has not resigned according to a clarification from his office by Alison Barfoot (she of the Barfoot memo). See the first comment to this post.


Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi has resigned from the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting and Anglican Consultative Council, two of the ‘instruments of unity’ of the Anglican Communion. He never came to any of the meeting of the group. That doesn’t prevent him from having an opinion as to why the group, in his view, does not work. He is also very clear about whom to blame.

It is clear in his letter, published in full by Ruth Gledhill, that for Orombi one only meets with people one agrees with. To meet with a person with whom you disagree is to show weakness. Thus, in his own words, he did not come to New Orleans because, as he writes, “For me to participate in a meeting in New Orleans before the 30th September deadline would have violated our hard-won agreement in Dar es Salaam and would have been another case of undermining our instruments of communion.”

Furthermore, in Orombi’s view, one never converses with those who anger you. So when the Episcopal Church was going to be represented at the later meetings, he had no choice but to absent himself.

Subsequent meetings of the Joint Standing Committee have included the Primate of the Episcopal Church (TEC) and other members of TEC, who are the very ones who have pushed the Anglican Communion into this sustained crisis.

But the last straw appears to have been those pesky clergy and laypeople. While he was absent, the process changed he says. And, reading this, one would think that Orombi has suddenly become a Primate who respects the constitutional and canonical authority of other Anglican provinces.

Suddenly, though, after the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam, the Primates no longer had a role to play in the very process they had begun. The process was mysteriously transferred to the Anglican Consultative Council and, more particularly, to the Joint Standing Committee. The Joint Standing Committee has now evolved into the “Standing Committee.” Some suggest that it is the Standing Committee “of the Anglican Communion.”

There is, however, no “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” The Standing Committee has never been approved in its present form by the Primates Meeting or the Lambeth Conference. Rather, it was adopted by itself, with your approval and the approval of the ACC. The fact that five Primates are included in no way represents our Anglican understanding of the role of Primates as metropolitan bishops of their provinces.

Theology and teaching, Orombi thinks, only belongs to the Primates. While he finally recognizes that the Windsor Report was nothing more than a report (how long have we been saying that?) he thinks that the actions and recommendations that flow out of it can only come from the Primates and no one else.

And now suddenly he is concerned that there is insufficient input from the various synods? Suddenly, he is worried that the Anglican Communion is taking too much power to itself? Be clear: it is okay for the Communion to have central power when the Primates exercise it and only when the Primates agree with him.

Any pretensions to respect provincial authority goes out the window when he insists that the Archbishop of Canterbury convene a Primates Meeting, specifically to condemn the Episcopal Church for the upcoming consecration of the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool as Bishop Suffragan of Los Angeles, and that the Primates come down hard on the US…again. It almost as if Orombi missed what happened among the Bishops at Lambeth. Oh, right, he missed that meeting, too.

So Orombi is angry that a process he was elected to, but absented himself from has gone on without him. He is angry that it has reached conclusions in his absence that he cannot support. And he is angry that without his input the group has come to include clergy and laity, has worked within the boundaries and polities of the members churches. His absence may have been out of principle, but what good did his absence do for what he says he believes in?

With his resignation, perhaps another Primate from Africa can step up and do the hard work of dialogue, prayer and communion.

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11 Responses to "Orombi quits ? Primates group (that he never attended) in a huff"
  1. According to a missive received by Greg at SF, it appears that Abp. Orombi may not have resigned but simply stands with his brother archbishop who has resigned.

    From The Rev. Canon Alison Barfoot, Asst. to the Archbishop for International Relations:

    "Archbishop Henry supports Bishop Mouneer in resigning from the JSC, but Archbishop Henry has not himself resigned. 'I stand with my brother Primate' means he supports his decision."

    My apologies for the confusion.

    June Butler

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  2. Thanks, Grandmère Mimi.

    Andrew's points, of course, apply a fortiori.

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  3. John, yes, indeed, with respect to Andrew's points.

    Also, the letter appears to have been written by a person with an excellent command of English, perhaps even a person whose first language is English. Curious.

    June Butler

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  4. "According to a missive". One of the disappointing things about the way we discuss things in the Anglican blogosphere is is our use of language. Would it make any difference to the force the point being made if Greg Griffiths had simply "posted a note" to his blog?

    When someone is reported "angry" rather than "disappointed" or simply "asserting" something it is an infallible pointer to the fact that whoever is doing the discribing disagrees with the one being described.

    This applies to comments from both the "progressive" and "conservative" sides in this debate.

    Oh and when someone says something that is not liked they are often a "mouthpiece". That one crops up on both sides, too. I have seen your Presiding Bishop described that way. I am sure you find that offensive - so do I and I do not agree with her point of view on a number of things!

    Now, it adds not a whit to the my personal credibility to say "calm the rhetoric". but please calm the rhetoric.

    John Sandeman

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  5. Mr. Sandeman, could you provide us with a dozen or so links where you have made these same statements on the Orthodite blogs? Please?

    Because I can well fish out at least a dozen or so where you continually concern troll this statement on progressive blogs.

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  6. Ah, heres a few from standfirm finally. In one you will see I attack the dean of sydney for intemperate speech.


    if you wish Ruth Gledhill to report evangelical groups like Anglican Mainstream, you might like to consider whether your comments in an earlier thread would help or hinder that. You have restated your difficulties with Ruth in more dignified and restrained language on this thread. Why could you not have used this sort of language the first time around?

    I take the point that many of the liberal bloggers go overboard with their language. All the more reason for theological conservatives to take more care. Please.

    John Sandeman

    Standfirm Posted by obadiahslope on 05-01-2009 at 07:25 PM


    I will leave it to the reders of this blog to decide whether calling Ruth Gledhill an “instrument of evil” was an attack on her. You don’t think it was, other readers might disagree.

    Posted by obadiahslope on 05-03-2009 at 03:57 PM

    (two out of many on that thread)

    My special needs daughter would like me to point out that the “r” word is offensive.

    Posted by obadiahslope on 10-20-2009 at 04:50 PM

    Yes, Yes you don’t like some of David Marr’s adjectives. But can you spot any actual errors of fact? After several days of comment, the forum n sydneyanglicans.net focussed on whther davis’s comment that single men “cannot expect” to get a parish was because of the Archbishop or whether parishes preferred married men. (David had not offered an opinion on why…)

    So any real errors? Feel free to object to David Marr’s prose, but It would be good to have something more substantive.

    obadiahslope | 06.12.08 - 3:21 pm | Defending a gay journalist)

    It is an extremely polemical piece of writing. Sydney diocese also contains many strong speakers who make their points by saying things in an extreme way. I don’t think we are in a position to decry strong rhetoric.

    Neither is “Standfirm” by the way.

    I am a supporter of the right to put forward one’s case in a vigorous rigorous way. But I think we should reserve outrage (as distinct from mere rebuttal) for when someone gets their facts wrong, though.

    It is the outrage that I think has been overplayed here. We need not fear mere opinion however expressed. We want our position to be debated in society.

    One poster above used the term “Big fat whopper lie alert! ” Actually what he pointed to was the way something was expressed, not an error of fact. But it is an assertion of falsehood.

    In turn I ask “Don’t you agree”.

    Posted by obadiahslope on 06-12-2008 at 07:08 PM


    I can see the attraction of a just stick to the facts approach. We should note that David Marr’s story was a magazine feature, not a news story though.

    So applying the facts not polemic approach lets consider one statement from an otherwise excellent speech by the dean of Sydney. Dean Phillip jensen said “to those bishops who go to Lambeth knowing that unrepentant homosexual activity is wrong - your profession of evangelical credential will always be tarnished”.

    http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/images/uploads/mp3/Lambeth/Limits of Fellowship.pdf

    While I personally belive bishops should go to Gafcon rather than Lambeth, is that a fair description of those like Bishop Duncan, Archbishop Mouneer and Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina, who will be a Lambeth?

    Is it fact or polemic? I would suggest the second.

    [20] Posted by obadiahslope on 06-12-2008 at 10:49 PM (having a go at the dean of Sydney)

    John Sandeman

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  7. Obviously the "mouthpiece" suspicion arises from the famous metadata incident in which it was shown that a letter from Abp. Peter Akinola was actually authored by Martyn Minns. While clearly Uganda is not Nigeria, political letters from African primates will now ever be similarly suspect.

    Paul Ambos

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