The deposed bishop of Harare, Bishop Kunonga, was the subject of a post by Preludium on January 15th, in which I said, "The real problem is not that Bishop Kunonga is not a nice man, or even a decent one, but that he is deranged. He has made assumptions about his own power that are way out of line with the realities of life in Christian community."
At the time I wrote that I had not had the benefit of Ruth Gledhill's essay in the Times and her blog essay, both written the same day. In her blog essay she also pointed us all to a wonderful YouTube video of Silent Night, which, as she suggested brought tears and also the sad reality of silence regarding AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa. You can see that video HERE.
The derangement of Bishop Kunonga is even more evident in a report from AllAfrica.com.
"As more information filters through on the dramatic clashes within the Anglican Church last weekend, it turns out that ousted Bishop Nolbert Kunonga personally resorted to violence, in order to disrupt one of many services in the capital. According to a report by the Zimbabwe Independent a service in Greendale was interrupted when Kunonga, his wife and a number of bodyguards entered the church before the 8am start time. The paper quoted a parishioner saying, 'as our front servers prepared for mass and as we waited for Bishop Bakare and our rector to emerge from the vestry, Kunonga unashamedly, and in full view of the congregation, walked to the altar, grabbed the wine, cups and wafers, threw them on the ground, grabbed a chair, placed it right in front of the altar and sat cross-legged, defiantly gazing at the stunned congregation."
The now retired Archbishop of Central Africa, Archbishop Bernard Malango, backed Bishop Kunonga when he was charged in church court with inciting militants to kill Kunonga's critics.
Kunonga wove a fabric of charges - that his enemies were advancing the homosexual agenda, that his diocese along with several others were withdrawing from the Province of Central Africa in order to retain orthodox values and keep the Province from critical intervention in the affairs of an autonomous church in Zimbabwe supporting the government of Zimbabwe, and finding enemies in his own court who he then threw out, charging them with being disloyal to him.
The Archbishop of Canterbury refused to invite Bishop Kunonga to Lambeth mostly because at the time it was apparent that Bishop Kunonga was in increasingly bad standing in the Province and had too close a relationship with the government of Zimbabwe and its President. Now the Archbishop has easier reasons: (i) Kunonga is no longer bishop of Harare, by decision of the Province which has placed Bishop Sabastian Bikare in his stead. (ii) Bishop Kunonga is increasingly unstable and his behavior has reached the point where he is mentally unbalanced.
There are indeed reasons not to invite particular bishops to Lambeth, and actually the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn't have to have any. It's his party. Still, if one needs reasons it would appear that being deposed in one's own province or being mad will do.