Zimbabwe: Homosexuality Breaks Up Anglican Province

Posted by Kendall Harmon

THE Anglican Province of Central Africa broke up yesterday following the withdrawal of Harare Diocese and expressions of intent to pull out by other dioceses that accused the province of failing to censure some bishops dabbling in homosexuality.

The Diocese of Manicaland also expressed its intention to quit the province along with one other Zimbabwean diocese.

Its bishop said he needed to report to his diocese first before going public, making it three out of Zimbabwe's five dioceses.

According to the Standing Orders of the Province of Central Africa, once one diocese withdraws, the province becomes null and void and will have to be reconstituted under a new name and structure.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Central AfricaSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings

24 Comments
Posted September 10, 2007 at 8:53 am

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/5721/



1. Bob from Boone wrote:

Well, this is an interesting development. If anyone still persists in believing that the GS is of one mind on the same-sex issue, this ought to dispel it: a province has broken up over the issue.

Now what happens? How and in what shape and form will the province be reconstituted? Who will become the primate and how?Will secular governments have a hand in these issues (look at Rwanda and Zimbabwe)? What will be the mechanism for recognizing the new province as a part of the Anglican Communion? Will all of the Instruments have to agree? I assume that all of these bishops have been invited to Lambeth and all are free to accept or reject the invitations as they choose. Perhaps they do not have to go as representatives of a province, simply of their dioceses. Stay tuned, folks.

September 10, 9:26 am | [comment link]
2. Sarah1 wrote:

Good to see that the African bishops are crystal aware of the attempts at buy-off and the propagation of the whole gay activist agenda in African Provinces.

I wonder who tipped them off that this was happening?

September 10, 9:30 am | [comment link]
3. Sarah1 wrote:

Why, who on earth is lobbying “with donations”?  Who could it be?  I’m so fuddled, I can’t imagine!  ; > )

“It is believed and well known that one of the bishops in Zimbabwe - and we will not mention names here—is also practicing homosexuality and received donations from outside. Those donations are believed to be coming from a man who was expelled or fired by previous bishops in Harare who has come back and is giving donations on behalf of the gay movement.

“There is also another bishop in Zambia receiving donations, issues of Lake Malawi, the accommodation of Rev Emmanuel Seruwada of the Episcopal Church of the United States of America to address synod, and Rt Rev Michael Doe (General Secretary) of USPG (United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) to secretly lobby with donations. That is why we think it is becoming a cancer and has been happening a great deal.”

In their addresses, Rev Seruwada and Bishop Doe had implored the synod to drop the issue of homosexuals from the agenda in exchange of funding for church projects.”

September 10, 9:34 am | [comment link]
4. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

There are good reasons to doubt the trustworthiness of this report, and no reasons to have confidence in the characterizations that the reporter makes about these ‘facts’, even if they prove to be true. Let us watch for further developments, either in corroboration or refutation.

The Rabbit.

September 10, 9:41 am | [comment link]
5. James Manley wrote:

bishops dabbling in homosexuality

I know I shouldn’t have laughed.

September 10, 9:54 am | [comment link]
6. AnglicanFirst wrote:

This may end up as a an ‘assay’ or ‘test’ separating those whose belief is so shallow that they can be ‘bought off’ from those who adhere to the “faith once given.”

September 10, 10:18 am | [comment link]
7. azusa wrote:

Kunonga is a despicable scuzzball, a disgrace to the Church and the ministry. He is hardly to be trusted. If Williams had any spine (as Carey had with Rwanda), he would have declared him deposed from the ministry.
http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/kunonga.htm

September 10, 10:31 am | [comment link]
8. Terry Tee wrote:

Readers of this site, PLEASE be aware of two things:  (1)  The Herald is a government-run paper and is as full of truth as, say, Pravda during the Kruschev era;  (2)  Bishop Nolbert Kunonga is a supporter of President Mugabe and has been implicated in some very seedy goings-on.  An attempt to have him tried in a church court collapsed.  However he has the dubious distinction of being one of the bishops not invited to Lambeth Conference.  Indeed, he is on the list of those prohibited from entering the US or the EU, precisely because of his associations with Mugabe.  Frankly, this whole episode is simply making mischief - an attempt to divert attention from Zimbabwe’s collapse into cruel dictatorship and impending mass starvation, by implying that the West is to blame for more or less everything.  Sad, sad, sad, that such wicked people should find a role for themselves in exploiting what the situation.  It is for their own benefit and not for any good.

September 10, 10:41 am | [comment link]
9. Dale Rye wrote:

As I suggested several times below, this is much more about support or non-support for the Mugabe regime than about American attitudes to homosexuality. The province has up to this point played along with the theme that everything wrong with Zimbabwe could be blamed on Western racism and neo-colonialism. Evidently a significant number of bishops in the province finally had enough of this palpable lie, so the pro-Mugabe faction have decided to take their toys and go home. They are trying—-and trying quite successfully, I note with alarm—-to dupe American reasserters into seeing this as a dispute about toleration for homosexuals, rather than about toleration for a mass murderer. To the extent that those fleeing TEC appear to be apologists for dictatorship, they are harming their own cause.

September 10, 11:02 am | [comment link]
10. EmilyH wrote:

If I am an African and believe that the focus of my church should be HIV/Aids, Malaria, starvation and the Gospel is focused on those concerns not sexual preference and I accept “donations” from a EU, Canadian or American Anglican partner, have I accepted a “bribe”.  This is what the author of this article more than implies.  He is stating quite directly that Americans are buying off African bishops to accomplish their gay agenda and they are accepting.  How is this different than smearing a reasserter bishop in the US by saying that he has “bribed” an African bishop to give his clergy “cover” by offering “donations” of a new diocesan center, university or hospital?  Is it possible that the “donations” made by the reasserter is because he genuinely believe that he is forwarding the gospel message by his African partners?  Then,  is the author of this article to be believed?  If he has proof that the bishops in question have been “bribed”, he should provide it.  He has not.  Because he is not open to the possibility that his fellow Africans would see the issue of homosexuality as 1. not abomination or 2. not crucial to the faith of Africa, he, like one on autopilot, assumes that anyone who might assert something different has been bought.

September 10, 11:28 am | [comment link]
11. Terry Tee wrote:

I agree with Dale Rye in # 9.  Also I believe that there is more than meets the eye in this new development.  Specifically:
1)  Robert Mugabe always craves respect despite his brutalities.  As a nominal Catholic, he was always assured of respect from the late RC Archbishop of Harare, Patrick Chakaipa.
2)  The new RC Abp of Harare, Robert Ndlovu, is made of sterner stuff.  He and all the other bishops issued a pastoral letter condemning Mugabe and his fellow kleptocrats.  It was called God Hears the Cry of the Poor.  Mugabe was stung, and furious.  He tried to prevent its distribution via thuggery, with some success in rural areas.
3)  In the Anglican Province of Central Africa, the title of archbishop is held by whichever bishop is elected, who thereby becomes Archbishop of Central Africa and continues as bishop of his own diocese.
4)  The dissolution of the provice will enable a new province of Zimbabwe, and voila, Harare can become an Anglican archdiocese and Nolbert Kunonga can be Archbishop of Harare, thus giving Mugabe a traditional African praise-singer as well as giving one in the eye to those annoying Catholics with their blather about injustice, oppression etc.
Traditional, orthodox Christians in the US should be very careful about associating with this development.  In fact, events in Zim would ring a bell with them.  For example, the ease with which the electoral processes within the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe have been captured by a small manipulative elite, and any dissent silenced or forced out.  Hardly the kind of company you should want to keep.

September 10, 11:47 am | [comment link]
12. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “If I am an African and believe that the focus of my church should be HIV/Aids, Malaria, starvation and the Gospel is focused on those concerns not sexual preference and I accept “donations” from a EU, Canadian or American Anglican partner, have I accepted a “bribe”.”

Not certain why EmilyH introduces the word “bribe” into the comment thread.  Donations is a far cry from “bribe”.

Strange.

September 10, 11:56 am | [comment link]
13. Nadine Kwong wrote:

Robert Mugabe, decades ago, resorted to accusations of homosexual activity as a weapon against his political enemies, most prominently against another Zimbabwean independence hero, the first president of Zimbabwe, Canaan Banana, who btw was also a Methodist minister.  (Similar was done by Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad of Malaysia in bringing sodomy allegations against his former protege’, Anwar Ibrahim.)

The political use of such accusations (including now, within the Church of the Province of Central Africa) is both detestable and highly suspect (i.e., as to whether true or not, or just a fabrication used as a weapon), and the orthodox ought rightly be extremely wary of rushing to get into bed with the likes of Mugabe, Kunonga, and others.  Even ++Malango has disappointed in his seeming to side with and protect Kunonga.

Merely because a prelate is orthodox does not mean he might not be “morally challenged” in other ways.  I pray that considerable caution is exercised before taking either side’s assertions of “facts” as Gospel truth.

September 10, 12:27 pm | [comment link]
14. TonyinCNY wrote:

Whether this report is true or not, don’t we have enough evidence in North America to the destructive power of the homosexual agenda?

Banned by the Head Totalitarian at Stand Firm in Faith

September 10, 1:07 pm | [comment link]
15. Bob from Boone wrote:

The fact that Mugabe and others have used accusations of homosexuality against political enemies may have a particular African dimension to it, but historically this approach is hardly new. The example that comes right to mind is the accusations of homosexuality among the Knights Templar by the Pope and the King of France (I believe it was Philip the Fair) in the 14th century in their campaign to destroy the Templars as an independent order. Like Mugabe, they used these accusations in a power play.

If Mugabe and his Anglican archbishop succeed in creating an “Anglican Province of Zimbabwe,” then the Instruments of Communion should refuse to recognize it as long as the two are in power.

September 10, 1:30 pm | [comment link]
16. Nadine Kwong wrote:

“The fact that Mugabe and others have used accusations of homosexuality against political enemies may have a particular African dimension to it, but historically this approach is hardly new.”  (#15)

True (and it’s not just African; see my parenthetical above about Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia), and there is also at least one hoary Anglican precedent:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Atherton

September 10, 1:46 pm | [comment link]
17. John B. Chilton wrote:

I find it interesting that the articles says, “Archbishop Malango, however, failed to save the situation after he botched condemning the homosexual lobby….” By most accounts Malango is firmly in the conservative camp, and receives praise from American reasserters.

I blog at: New Virginia Church Man, Emirates Economist

September 10, 1:48 pm | [comment link]
18. Bob from Boone wrote:

I recently read that within the past year there has been a large and significant exodus of Anglican priests from Zimbabwe, priests fleeing from the terrible conditions to which the country and the church have been subjected to by its dictatorial president and this Anglican bishop. It is likely that any new ordinands will be required to swear an oath of allegiance to Mugabe as well as to Christ. If there has been a sharp decline in the pastors of congregations, then it would not be surprising if the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe were eventually to implode along with the nation.

September 10, 1:49 pm | [comment link]
19. Craig Goodrich wrote:

My comment over on SF, before seeing Terry’s illuminating #8 above:

From the story:

The withdrawal of Harare Diocese is the second time a leading diocese has severed ties with the province following what the now Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Rev Peter Akinola, did years back when he dumped the Province, again over the issue of homosexuality.

This history appears questionable, at least.  The Church of Nigeria describes the events this way:

These sixteen dioceses [of the Province of West Africa] in Nigeria soon began to   sense a growing need for contextualization of their Christian witness. The   opportunity eventually came at an Episcopal Synod at Ado-Ekiti on the 31st of January, 1974. There they   resolved to set in motion the process of becoming an autonomous Province   within the Anglican Communion. This was closely followed by the Standing   Committee of the Church of Province of West Africa, which gave it their   blessing and referred it to the Synod, which held on the Campus of the University of Lagos on the 14th of August 1975 and passed the   resolution that the machinery for the actualization of this desire be set in   motion.

        Known then as the   Association of Anglican Dioceses in Nigeria (AADN), a Constitution Drafting   Committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Sir Louis Mbanefo (of blessed memory). The Anglican Consultative   Council meeting in Trinidad (23rd   March – 2nd April 1976) considered the draft   to be “in order”and adopted it as “Resolution 34 on the proposed Province of Nigeria.”
        Finally, a meeting   of the Standing Committee of the Province of West Africa held in Benin City on the 13th of August 1977, the resolution   was adopted for the Church of the Province of Nigeria to be inaugurated   in the month of February 1979.

        With the election of   The Rt. Revd. Timothy Omotayo   Olufosoye, DD, the Bishop of   Ibadan to take the lead, he was presented at the Cathedral Church of Christ,  Marina as the Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan of the Province, which was   designated as “The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion”. The Church of Nigeria was inaugurated   on St. Matthias Day, 24th   February, 1979.

According to the same page, ++Akinola took office in March 2000, about 21 years after the Province’s independence.  He was born in January 1944, which would have made him about 35 in ‘79—the same year he was ordained to the priesthood.  I’m not sure what the author of this article means to imply, but this paragraph at the very least casts doubt on the accuracy of his sources.

<hr width=30%><font size=-2>“May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.”
—G. Washington, Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, August 1790</font>

September 10, 1:55 pm | [comment link]
20. Conchúr wrote:

The example that comes right to mind is the accusations of homosexuality among the Knights Templar by the Pope and the King of France (I believe it was Philip the Fair) in the 14th century in their campaign to destroy the Templars as an independent order. Like Mugabe, they used these accusations in a power play

This is an unfair characterisation. The suppression of the Templars occurred during the “Babylonian Captivity” of the Church at Avignon. The Pope was effectively under the thumb of Philip, who owing the Templars an enormous amount of money, decided to get out of his debt by destroying the order. Also the Templars had by this time strayed into some questionable practices as a result of their mission against the Muslims eg. Bible desecration during mock interogations of brothers to prepare them for what they might face should they be captured.

“The age of chivalry is gone.—That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever”
Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

September 10, 2:18 pm | [comment link]
21. Alli B wrote:

EmilyH, why would the Africans not think homosexuality is an abomination when the Bible specifically labels it as such?

September 10, 2:35 pm | [comment link]
22. Rob Eaton+ wrote:

Yeah, the line about Malango’s failure to contain broke the flow of the article at that point for me, too, but I didn’t see the rest of it.  Thanks for all the comments above.  I’m looking forward to Malango’s personal comments on what happened and why.
I don’t think, either, that this is the demise of the Central Africa province.  It will just take on a new name, and be minus some Zimbabwe dioceses.  There’s no guarantee that Kunonga will be able to position himself “in charge” of a whole new province of his making, either.

RGEaton

September 10, 4:07 pm | [comment link]
23. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

It will just take on a new name, and be minus some Zimbabwe dioceses.

RGE, I’m afraid you may be giving too much credence to this newspaper article from the government camp. We don’t know that anything like that is actually going to happen. I’m holding my peace until the mainline news media or the church itself weighs in on this piece.

The Rabbit.

September 10, 4:27 pm | [comment link]
24. Rob Eaton+ wrote:

Brother, you are right.  I should have made it clearer that I intended a big, bolded “IF” this is true, and IF it should go that way..etc.

RGEaton

September 10, 4:59 pm | [comment link]


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