The All African Bishops meeting has begun in Uganda. Many are proclaiming it historic, especially if it addresses the issues of corruption, poverty, and disease. The Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)reports:
The Bishop in Egypt, Dr Mouneer Anis told bishops from more than 400 dioceses at the 2nd All Africa Bishops Conference that this was an historic moment for Africa’s Christian community.
“There is no doubt that history is going to record what happens at this conference for future generations,” he said at today’s opening service in Entebbe, Uganda. “This is no ordinary conference because it’s happening in an extraordinary context.”
He explained that although “Africa groans” under the weight of conflicts, epidemics and poverty the African church was growing in an extraordinary way. It was predicted, he said, to become a continent of 673 million Christians by 2025.
Archbishop of Uganda Henry Orombi2 the Primate of the country hosting the CAPA3 – run conference, said now was the time for African Anglicanism to “rise up”, that it was time for representatives of the continent to be able to go to other places in the Communion with “fresh wine from new wine skins”.
In his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams – who described the conference as “deeply significant” said, “It has been said that this is going to be the African century of the Christian Church in terms of energy and growth and vision. God raises up different countries and cultures in different seasons to bear witness to his purpose in a specially marked way, and it may be that this is indeed his will for Africa in the years ahead.
This theme of unlocking the potential of the Anglican Communion in Africa also ran through the speech of Chairman of CAPA, Archbishop Ian Earnest, the Primate of Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, who after thanking the bishops for making the conference a top priority, celebrated the fact that Africa had “come of age”. He spoke passionately about how genuine engagement in the conference could help mobilise the church leadership of the Anglican Communion in Africa to tackle those things that “hinder our ministry as a church” such a poverty, disease and corruption.
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From Daily Nation, a Kenyan paper:
“Today, the West is lacking obedience to the word of God,” Reverend Ian Ernest of Mauritius, the head of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, told journalists.
“It is for us (Africans) to redress the situation,” he said, adding that he has severed all ties to the Episcopalian churches in Canada and the US that have allowed gays to enter the clergy.
Williams delivered a sermon Tuesday during the opening of the meeting, the first of its kind since 2004.
While he did not mention homosexuality, he said it was the duty of all bishops to be open minded on contentious issues.
“We must learn to listen to those we lead and serve to find out what their hopes and needs and confusions are. We must love them and attend to their humanity in all its diversity,” he said.
“We cannot assume we always know better and that we always have the right answer to any specific question.”
Archbishop Williams’ address to CAPA meeting is here