January 7, 2016

Ugandan bishop to shun Anglican meeting until ‘godly order’ is restored

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Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda said that unless "godly order," is restored he cannot participate in any official meeting of the communion. Photo courtesy of the Church of Uganda

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda said that unless "godly order," is restored he cannot participate in any official meeting of the communion. Photo courtesy of the Church of Uganda

Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Wabukala of Kenya walk together at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. Welby visited Kenya before the GAFCON II meeting in Nairobi. RNS photo by Fredrick Nzwili

Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Wabukala of Kenya walk together at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi in 2013. Welby visited Kenya before the GAFCON II meeting in Nairobi. RNS photo by Fredrick Nzwili

NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) On the eve of a pivotal summit to explore the future of the Anglican Communion, cracks are emerging with a Uganda archbishop indicating he will not participate in a primates meeting unless “godly order” is restored.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of Anglicans across the world, has invited the church’s primates to Canterbury, England, to explore how its 38 national churches can stay together while going their separate ways when dealing with the issues of gays and women’s ordination.

The Jan. 11-16 meeting is being viewed as the last chance for the communion to avoid a schism.


RELATED STORY: Vatican relics headed to Anglican cathedral for display as pivotal summit nears


But Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda said that unless “godly order,” is restored he cannot participate in any official meeting of the communion.

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda said that unless "godly order," is restored he cannot participate in any official meeting of the communion. Photo courtesy of the Church of Uganda

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda said that unless “godly order” is restored he cannot participate in any official meeting of the Anglican Communion. Photo courtesy of the Church of Uganda

“If godly order is 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,” the archbishop said. “If such godly order is not restored, then I will … withdraw from the meeting.”

Bishops that are part of the Global Anglican Future Conference or GAFCON, a group of conservative bishops, explained to Welby that they are not in communion with the Episcopal Church in the U.S. or the Anglican Church of Canada, Ntagali said.

“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,” Ntagali said.

The problems were triggered in 2003, when the Episcopal Church consecrated the Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of New Hampshire.

Ntagali said he would travel to England for the initial gathering but may not attend the official meeting that follows.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury … 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,’” he said.

In a Christmas message, GAFCON chairperson Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya said he and many others long to see the communion united and the divisions healed, but in a way that honors God.

Wabukala plans to attend the gathering.

(Fredrick Nzwili is an RNS correspondent based in Nairobi)

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  • Jay

    I hope that the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada has ceased sending money to the corrupt and bigoted church led by this Ugandan archbishop.

  • Will Berger

    agreed

  • agreed!! We can have diverse opinions but still understand that we are still a family.

  • Margaret Sjoholm-Franks

    I suspect the “godly order” the bishop talks about includes some bishops and male priests from African dioceses having several wives and practicing polygamy covertly and making those women pass for “assistants” or secretaries or sisters of the official wife…it also includes looking the other way when gays and lesbians get murdered just for being who they are

  • Billysees

    ” If godly order is restored… he says”

    That means everybody should once again adhere to the same old antique hatreds and methods found in scripture.

    He should be reminded that Paul wrote we should — forget the things that are behind and look forward to the good things that lie ahead…….Philippians 3:13

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  • Thom Forde

    I hope that Archbishop Ntagali has stopped accepting money from corrupt and bigoted Americans.

  • Thom Forde

    Do you have proof or are you a mean gossip?

  • The gay issue seems to be succeeding in dividing the Church across the world. This results from failure to understand Christian principles.

    To start with, homosexuality is not the most abominable sin among what grips humanity, as living in flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Self-righteous people feel good when displaying their animosity against gays. But, in the name of True Christianity, how does self-righteousness put one on the path of deliverance?

    There is only one datum that seems to elude most Christians: Jesus came to identify with sinners, when He Himself was not a sinner (Philippians 2:5-8). Paul perfectly understood this datum where he stated being everything to everyone (1 Corinthians 9: 19-23).

    The legendary problem among Christian religion is that Christianity is taken as a badge of honour, instead of it being a badge of disgrace. Here is an interesting question: Is going through the cross honourable or disgraceful?

    An honest answer will expose all hypocrisy found in…

  • Margaret Sjoholm-Franks

    It is not gossip, it has been common talk during past Lambeth conferences, African bishops attending with an entourage of women passing for their secretaries, personal assistants, sisters-in-law, some African delegates had the gall to say that it was part of their local culture therefore it had to be tolerated. I have visited Anglican dioceses in Rwanda, Burundi and Nigeria and have seen it as well

  • Ben in oakland

    Google Christian polygamy inAfrica. Quite an eye opener. Or you can look up the role of so-called Christians in not only criminalizing gay people for their sins, but ignoring everything that is happening in Africa– Nigeria and Uganda are great examples– in favor of going after gay people with the most draconian laws available.

    Meanwhile, have you ever seen a priest going hungry, lacking clean water to drink?

    I can think of a number of ways that some people might see godly order restored, but it wouldn’t include a black man wearing a bishops robes.

  • Ben in oakland

    Great observation, Mr. mAsuku.

    Prop. 1: it should be of no surprise to anyone that this isn’t about sincere religious belief, not really, but about an ancient and durable prejudice which has long been disguised as belief.

    Prop. 2: in the last 35-40 years, conservative Christianity has defined itself by anti-gay, making being antigay central to being a True Christian (TM). You see it here all of the time. How did this little sin become The One Sin? There was a lot of power, money, self-righteousness, and good ol’ prejudice, plus a lot of self-hating homosexuals anxious to deflect attention.

    Having staked everything on the antigay, having made it central to Christianity, and failing to understand that the closet is failing as an enforcement mechanism, they are in danger of losing everything, as they are losing even young evangelicals today on this subject.

    Power, money, influence, wholly imaginary superiority, and camouflage– all lost.

  • Frank Schlossberg

    The “godly order” for many African bishops means collaborating with the killing of other Christians just because they did not belong to the same tribe, just look at what happened in Rwanda, Archbishop Augustin Nshamihigo and Bishop Jonathan Ruhumuliza of the Anglican Church of Rwanda who cooperated with the slaughtering of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus…pure and sheer Christian godly and brotherly love

  • larry, the atheist one

    Why would he do that? They are his biggest supporters. Who do you think wants him to split with the main church over such matters. American evangelical efforts to promote bigotry is well documented. Their efforts to enact legalized pogrons based on their hatred makes the news on a semi regularly basis.