Kunonga must go, say provincial leaders

(Continued from yesterday’s coverage, here.)

The Living Church Foundation reports that leaders of the Anglican Province of Central Africa have told Rt. Rev. Norbert Kunonga, the bishop of Harare, to relinquish control of diocesan assets or be sued. Kunonga previously announced that Harare had left the province over the issue of homosexuality, citing a statute that, according to the report, may not exist:

Bishop Kunonga said that Harare had quit the province over the issue of homosexuality, citing the Aug. 4 passage by the diocese of Pastoral Motion 8c which he said authorized secession.

However Harare diocesan chancellor Robert Stumbles told The Living Church no such resolution was adopted. Bishop Kunonga’s purported secession resolution “appeared after synod” and had “not been on the agenda.” At no time did the Harare synod give Bishop Kunonga “absolute authority to drag the diocese out of the province,” he said.

Bishop Kunonga’s actions were “tantamount to a schism,” Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana told TLC on Sept. 22.

“The next logical step is for the Bishop of Harare to resign,” he said. “The See of the Diocese of Harare will then be declared vacant and a new bishop elected to replace Bishop Kunonga. The schismatic group should not be under any illusion in thinking that they have title to the properties and various trusts legally vested in the Diocese of Harare.”

The article is here.

AllAfrica.com is alleging that it’s more than just a request for his resignation, heading its report with “Anglican Church Fires Kunonga – Declares Vacancy.” While the headline itself is somewhat misleading, the article clarifies that provincial dean Albert Chama sees Kunonga as having abdicated his responsibilities, saying he would soon appoint a vicar-general to head the diocese:

Chama told Kunonga … that his purported withdrawal of the diocese from the province was “unconstitutional and un-canonical” as it was tantamount to “altering the structure and the essence” of the church.

“Consequently the heading of your letter stating ‘formal withdrawal of the Diocese of Harare from the Province of Central Africa’ is unacceptable and misleading,” Chama wrote. “We, however, as the Dean of the Province of Central Africa accept and acknowledge that you and some of your supporters have by notice of your letter severed relationship with the Province of Central Africa.”

On September 21, Kunonga wrote to the former Archbishop of Central Africa, Bernard Malango, saying he was withdrawing the Diocese of Harare from the province.

“I declare that the See of Harare is with immediate effect vacant and in accordance with Canon 14 (1) I shall be appointing a vicar-general to hold office whilst the necessary steps are taken for the holding of an elective assembly to elect the next bishop of the Diocese of Harare,” Chama told Kunonga.

That report is here.

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