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Ugandan Primate demands “godly order” be restored to Communion

Ugandan Primate demands “godly order” be restored to Communion

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, of the Anglican Church of Uganda has released a pastoral letter to his Church where he addresses his expectations for the upcoming gathering of Primates and the Anglican Communion’s future.  Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, his pastoral letter is merely cover for his extortionate demands that those churches open to full inclusion of LGBT members (especially TEC) be anathematized.

He writes:

The Provincial Assembly of the Church of Uganda has resolved to not participate in any official meetings of the Anglican Communion until godly order is restored. What do we mean by “godly order?” And, has it been restored? Let me give you some background.

Since 2003 the fabric of the Anglican Communion has been torn at its deepest level. The event that triggered this serious situation was the Episcopal Church USA’s consecration as bishop of a divorced father of two children, then living in a gay relationship.

Equally concerning was the sustained inability of the structures of the Anglican Communion – including the Archbishop of Canterbury himself – to discipline the Episcopal Church and restore godly order to the Anglican Communion.

After five years of endless meetings, conversations, commissions, and reports, several of the Primates from the Global South of the Anglican Communion came together to seek a way forward. We called our Provinces to come together in Jerusalem in 2008, along with faithful, Bible-believing, orthodox brethren from America, Canada, UK, and other Western countries. This was the beginning of GAFCON – the Global Anglican Future!

The obvious takeaway here is that Archbishop Ntagali at least, if not all of his GAFCON peers sees little value in continued conversation or in seeking the spirit of truth, unity or concord.  He goes on to say;

While we rejoice in the birth and celebrate the growth of GAFCON as a global fellowship, the structures within the Anglican Communion have continued to disappoint us by their inability to restore Biblical faith and order to the Anglican Communion.

The Primates Meeting in 2007 in Dar es Salaam laid out a plan to bring discipline and restore order, and was unanimously supported by all 38 Primates of the Anglican Communion. Sadly, the Archbishop of Canterbury later unilaterally overruled it and did not implement it. This further breach of trust deepened the tear in the fabric of the Anglican Communion.

And then the Archbishop makes clear that though he is willing to go to a “gathering” of Primates, he will not participate in a “Primates Meeting” that includes TEC and ACoC (or Scotland??)

As GAFCON Primates, we have since met with the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, and explained our position – we are not in communion with the Episcopal Church USA or the Anglican Church of Canada (for similar reasons). We, therefore, cannot participate in meetings to which they are invited because that would mean there were no problems in the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion has, in fact, experienced a serious rupture and the wound is still deep.

Godly order has not yet been restored in the Anglican Communion and, therefore, as Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, I am constrained by the resolutions of our Provincial Assembly to not participate in a Primates Meeting.

At the same time, the Archbishop of Canterbury contacted me personally, along with every Primate of the Anglican Communion, and invited us to come together for a “gathering” to consider if there was a way forward for the Anglican Communion.

Together with the other GAFCON Primates, we have agreed to be part of a “gathering” of Primates in Canterbury to discuss the future of the Anglican Communion, keeping in mind Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

If the Archbishop is to be taken at his word and if his GAFCON peers are similarly minded, then perhaps this gathering truly is the break point or at least a departure into an uncharted territory for global Anglicanism.  Though, in fairness, it has not come to that point yet despite appearing to come very close before.

As GAFCON, we have a clear vision of the future of global Anglicanism and have been moving forward with that vision since Jerusalem in 2008. The Archbishop of Canterbury understands that the first topic of conversation in the “gathering” of Primates is the restoration of godly order in the Anglican Communion. This is the unfinished business from the non-implemented, but unanimously agreed, Communique from the 2007 Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam.

If such discipline is implemented and godly order restored during the “gathering” of Primates, then I will be free to join any subsequent Primates Meeting that may be convened immediately thereafter in Canterbury. If such discipline and godly order is not restored, then I will uphold the Provincial Assembly’s resolution and withdraw from the meeting.

This is a serious moment for the Anglican Communion. I earnestly ask your prayers for the Primates to seek the mind of Christ and to take seriously their call to guard the unity and faith of the Church. Please pray for continued unity among the GAFCON Primates. Finally, I ask you to please pray for me, as I carry on my shoulders the convictions of the Church of Uganda and represent you in Canterbury.

As we prepare for this gathering, our own Presiding Bishop has also asked prayers.  The question at the heart seems to be what do we want from the Communion and is it the truly the best vehicle for fulfilling our Christly mission or is its power primarily symbolic and sentimental?




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Emily Windosr

The topic is “Godly orders,” as in, commandments that we must adhere to, as in Matthew 5:16-21.

We’re not talking about hierarchy here. Hierarchy is not godly, it’s strictly human conjecture and head-tripping.

Likewise, our behaviors in relationship are subject to God’s approval or disapproval. We are accountable for what we do. Can we please agree that God wants us to be healthy and whole, first, and >then< we can argue over policies and procedures . . . ?

Cynthia Katsarelis

Emily, I would agree that we should work on our behaviours, like loving our neighbors as ourselves. But plenty of gay people are indeed as healthy and whole as humanly possible. Many are very faithful Christians.

So yes, let’s love one another first, and then work out the polity that supports loving one another as Christ loves us, all of us.

Prof Christopher Seitz

When did I say a word about the high moral ground of Gafcon?

I have been speaking about the Primates tout court.

If you read the press releases you will see clearly the call from conservative Primates like +Mouneer Anis of the need to stand by decisions of the last Lambeth Conferences and Primates Meeting. He is not in Gafcon.

There seems to be an awful lot of confusion at this blog.

John Chilton

Interesting why he’s not in Gafcon,

From 2008,

… the Most Rev. Mouneer Anis, Presiding Bishop of the Middle East and Jerusalem, has written that he will not be attending GAFCON. This means that the Primate in whose province the meeting is being held is not coming, and Bishop Suheil Dawani of Jerusalem, in whose diocese it is being held, wishes it would go away.

Anis has concerns about the dominance of “Northern personalities” in the organization of GAFCON and the direction of the Global South.

From his letter:….

Prof Christopher Seitz

And this remains a concern of the GS. They prefer to try to organize themselves as loyal members of the AC, and have not contemplated something like a separate confessional life as has Gafcon.

What happens in the course of this week’s meeting will test that position. +Mouneer did not attend Dromantine, for example, as others from the GS did not attend as well.

Dan Ennis

This thread actually made me re-read the Dar El Salaam Communiqué. I don’t think the GAFCON Primates have the moral high ground Dr. Seitz grants them.

1. Dar reaffirms the Windsor call to “to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals.” Yet soon after 2007 many of the GAFCON primates endorsed laws imprisoning homosexuals.

2. Dar calls for a moratorium on “interventions by some of our number and by bishops of some Provinces, against the explicit recommendations of the Windsor Report.” Yet those interventions didn’t cease after 2007, and in fact accelerated.

3. Dar reminded the Communion that “that the Presiding Bishop [of TEC] has been duly elected in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, which must be respected.” Yet many GAFCON primates chose not to respect TEC’s right to choose its own primate, shutting out our PB at every turn and raising up alternative pseudo-primates.

And, yes, I can go through the DAR document and enumerate all the ways TEC didn’t embrace it in spirit or enforce it in practice.

The legacy of Dar appears to be that not one primate was willing to let a “communiqué” (a carefully chosen word that is not the same as a “law” or “directive” or “canon” — even Mouneer Anis called it a “recommendation”) trump closely-held beliefs about what was right.

Rowan Williams did his best, but his authority was exhausted just getting folks to the table. He could not make Dar binding.

Dr. Seitz’s question is already answered: “What is the consequence of this independent mind?”

Canterbury could not discipline the GAFCON primates for violating Dar by advocating the imprisonment of homosexuals. He could not discipline TEC for ignoring Dar by blessing same-sex marriages.

This “gathering” of the Primates is just the death rattle of a communion long since broken. Good riddance.

Prof Christopher Seitz

That’s because it is very doubtful that you can show anything like a substantive bloc who voted against this.

Even Dar es Salaam was signed by every Primate.

Jeremy Bates

Doubtless because everyone knew it was only precatory.

Prof Christopher Seitz

Can you show this to be factual from 1978 onward?

How quickly a modern agenda flattens all historical range into one monochrome surface.

And that is what worries so many of us.

The ‘New World’ belief in return to the Garden of Eden through human effort. History as past rubbish. Every day in every way we are getting better and better. Read the Book of Kings and show the ‘arc of justice’ or for that matter any substantive history of any nation. Keats and Belloc and Auden are far more perceptive witnesses, or just the last pages of The Great Gatsby.

Prayers for a healthful Meeting beginning this week.

Prof Christopher Seitz

It would be very good of you to establish that the resolutions passed by Lambeth Conference in respect of the enhanced responsibility of the Primates Meeting were voted AGAINST by TEC bishops from 1978 and on.

For you point to make sense, it would have to be true that as a Province TEC Bishops were opposed to these resolutions and voted against them.

David Allen

I asked you that very issue above and you just sloughed it off and couldn’t be bothered.

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