AP: U.S. priests getting ordained in Kenya say American Episcopal Church has lost its way

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The church is now trying to bless what God always said in the Scripture he wants to redeem," [Bill] Atwood said.

After Thursday's ceremony, Atwood and Murdoch will return home to minister to their congregations with Kenyan Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi as their spiritual adviser. Because they are no longer affiliated with the Episcopal Church, the men will have to find new church buildings and funding in the United States. Several U.S. churches whose priests have switched to a foreign diocese are embroiled in lawsuits over church property.

Nzimbi said 30 U.S. congregations have asked to become part of African dioceses in the last four years. Six other U.S. priests have been consecrated as bishops in the Rwandan church and one has also been consecrated in Nigeria. Another American priest is scheduled to be consecrated in Uganda on Sunday.

After Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola set up the Convocation of Anglicans in North America in 2005, some U.S. liberals accused African archbishops of breaching protocol by trying to create rival churches on their territory. Akinola administers his convocation from Nigeria.

The day before his consecration in Kenya, Murdoch said: "When American or British missionaries come to Africa currently it's missionary work, but when Africans come to the United States or Great Britain, it's boundary crossing," he said. "We ought to be clear that this is about the mission of the gospel."

Read it all.

Update: A (London) Times article is here which includes the following:

Today’s service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Kenya. It will be attended by ten primates – or their representatives – from the Global South coalition of conservative bishops.They were at pains to emphasise that the consecration of American bishops in Africa was a temporary measure.

Archbishop Greg Venables, of the Southern Cone, said: “The major struggle we are going through is how to resolve a conflict of this nature, where there is a group of people who want to go in a new direction while the rest of the Church is resisting that.”

Another update: A Reuters article is there in which we find this:

The two clerics to be consecrated on Thursday -- William Atwood and William Murdoch -- are among a growing number of conservative U.S. Anglicans pledging alliance to traditional African bishops who take a tough line against homosexuality.

The U.S. Church has accused Africans of invading their territory by consecrating Americans. But conservative Africans say they only want to provide refuge for orthodox believers who are at odds with liberal views.

"This is a missionary action brought to this point by four years of frustration," Murdoch told the news conference.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of KenyaEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts

Posted August 30, 2007 at 6:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. robroy wrote:

From the AP article above, we have the following quote from ABp Venables:

There are no official structures to resolve things, so part of the major struggle we are going through is to work out how we actually resolve a conflict of this nature.

I am sure the good ABp is well aware of the instruments of “unity”, the ABC, ACC, Lambeth Council and the primate’s meetings, yet we have the preceding statement.

I wrote the following over at Stand Firm but was deleted from the discussion of the Kenya ordination discussion for being off-topic (slightly edited):

Craig Uffman writes, “rightful discipline - rightful resistance - must be through the Instruments of Unity.” The main problem is that with this strategy, as the ABp of Sydney said and Bp Duncan echoed, is that two of the Instruments of Unity are lost as instruments of unity. I found it somewhat strange that Father Ephraim took such strong exception to this. The proposition seems irrefutable. Indeed, I have heard it from all sides round that the ABC and Lambeth council are more polarizing than unifying forces in the present. This is not to say they may not “be found” in the future, but for now we have the incontrovertible fact that when the ABC enters the room people move to separate corners and shout to the ABC, “Come over to our side”. A third instrument of unity is irrelevant (the ACC). To add to this miserable concoction, the ABC is openly subverting the will of the only functioning and relevant instrument of Unity, the primate’s council. Just thinking about being solely dependent on the dysfunctional instruments of Unity trying to solve the overarching problem at hand - something clearly out of the bounds of reality - brings despair.

But then I read about ABp Nzimbi ordaining the Revs Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch with ABp Orombi and Venables in attendance with the ordination of Rev Geurnsey next month, and not only is hope restored but hope soars. AMEN and ALLELUIA!

ABp Venables sees the Kenyan ordinations as working out a structure to help us out of this mess. Certainly, I do not see as well as ABp Venables how this is all going to play out. But reflection on the integrity of the people involved, certainly gives hope.

August 30, 8:06 am | [comment link]
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