A Beam in the Eye: Anglican Primates blinded by the vision of the Colonialists Wrong.

Several Anglican Primates from the so-called global south have written in the past week to make it clear to the world that they believe actions of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are wrong-headed and evil, that the Archbishop of Canterbury has allowed the bureaucracy of Lambeth and the Anglican Communion Office to usurp the powers of the Primates and that the ABC must convene the Primates immediately, but without the presence of the TEC or ACoC Primates. Those writing have made it clear that they hold to 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, and The Windsor Report. Some, but not all, have said they are for the Anglican Covenant.

None of them mention that Lambeth 1.10 included reference to a much more nuanced study of the subcommittee on Human Sexuality, a call to listen to homosexual persons and treat them with dignity, or even for that matter a call to support abstinence for those not married. None of them mention that the Windsor Report called for three moratoria, the only one of which was never followed, even for one day, being the moratoria on cross-boundary incursions.

But of course none of that matters. What does matter is that none of these worthies seems to believe there is any necessity to address the beam in the eye of those writing concerning miserable church life in some parts of the Anglican Global South.

This week we have read several reports of profoundly nasty happenings in various parts of the Communion, none boding well for the moral compass of the Global South, but none commented on by Primates Orombi, Ernest, or Anis.

We have this from Harare on the continuing scandal of the Anglican community in Zimbabwie "The Anglican’s St Luke Church in Rhodesville has been sealed off by riot police following violent clashes between a faction belonging to excommunicated Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga and the one belonging to the official Bishop of the Diocese Chad Gandiya.
" This involves a deposed Bishop and the continuing Anglican presence in Zimbabwe. Sound familiar?

We have this concerning the Province of the Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, "Former Bishop told to return £1 million." This involves a difficult set of charges and counter-charges between the Diocese in Jerusalem and it's former bishop. Things have reached an impasse. "At this stage, the matter must either proceed through the Israeli courts, unless settlement can be reached, Dr Mouneer said. “I understand that the Diocese of Jerusalem’s Standing Committee is insisting that Bishop Riah has the obligation to return Funds kept in his possession that rightly belong to the Diocese and the return of such funds is a condition to settling this most unfortunate matter. If Bishop Riah does not think that the claims of the Diocese of Jerusalem in regards to these funds are true, he should present the evidence of this.” That is, Bishop Anis Mouneer (also the Primate of the Province) is saying pay, negotiate with the Province, or end up in court.

And then there is the matter of the Diocese of Lake Malawi, which now seems to be in great financial difficulty following years of unrest and distrust. A news article on the matter may be found HERE. Some quotes:

"Financial crisis in the Diocese of Lake Malawi – troubles in the Malawian dioceses and Zimbabwe again – a continuing saga of poor episcopal oversight

The Diocese of Lake Malawi has a serious financial crisis. This has been expected for sometime. Disillusioned donors have increasingly withheld funding in response to what is perceived as a failure on the part of the Central African Provincial bishops to conduct free and fair elections to the vacant sees of the Dioceses of Upper Shire, Northern and Lake Malawi."

"Priests in the Diocese of Lake Malawi have been informed that they will not be paid this month and that there is great uncertainty about the future. ...

The problem of what are perceived to be inappropriate ‘elections’ contrived by the bishops to the dioceses have had outcomes as follows:

Upper Shire: Bishop Brighton Malasa who has the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s youngest Anglican Bishop is reported to be favouring young priests and sidelining older and more experienced clergy.

Northern Malawi: The consecration of The Rev’d Leslie Mtekateka elected in August last year has been further delayed due to allegations of serious personal misconduct.

Lake Malawi: The Court Injunction brought by an unprecedented number of objectors to the election of the Venerable Francis Kaulanda has now been lifted. Nevertheless, Kaulanda’s position is perceived to lack legitimacy after what was seen as an election forced by the Provincial Bishops."

The article goes on to list other matters that would lead to the conclusion that the Province of Central Africa is in a real mess, verging on disaster.

Nothing of all this is in any way brought forward by these Global South Primates who are quite glad to point out what they consider the moral failings of TEC and the ACoC in blessing committed relationships and electing faithful persons as bishops.

So, let's see: condemning TEC and ACoC for supporting vocations to commitment and to ministry is OK, but don't notice the rot in the corner of their house. It's OK to condemn TEC and ACoC for lawsuits, but never mind the need to do so elsewhere. Blast TEC for deposing bishops who have clearly disavowed the vows they took at their ordination, but God forbid that anyone should point out the ecclesial war in Harare.

These epistolary Primates are clear that those awful old colonialist western churches are wrong. Still, the righteousness suit doesn't seem to fit the new post-colonialist southern churches either.

But Primates Orombi, Anis and Ernest don't seem to see that. To bad about payback. The Beam in the eye is of more blinding than a lot of motes.


  1. One of the all-time most appauling behavior actions was delivered to the Anglican Communion by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, Primate of Uganda. +Henry actually organized a demonizing campaign/court review against retired Bishop, 50 years of service, Christopher Ssenyanjo for LISTENING and COUNSELING LGBT ANGLICANS (resolution Lambeth 1.10 apprently ignored) in Uganda.

    Henry blames Bishop Christophers outcasting on a HOB Bishops decision (why not Dr. Knoll and Alison Barfoot too?) who collectively insisted Bishop Ssenyanjo must be relieved of his hard earned pension because he LOVES THY NEIGHBOR, all of them apparently and the man is heterosexual! There are so many more examples of Anglican destructiveness and demoralization in the morally defective Anglican Province of Uganda...all to be layed at the feet of Bishop Henry the border crossing, bigshot and preacherman.

  2. Good summary, Mark. Depressing, but useful.

    Of course, we all know from American politics that, when things are a mess at home, the administration emphasizes foreign policy, which diverts attention from more pressing domestic issues.

    Global South primates may be hypocritical, but they’re not stupid.

  3. I'm glad you mentioned the subcommittee's report. It was indeed quite nuanced and accurately reported that the Communion was not of one mind regarding homosexuality. For a while at least, the report was on the Lambeth Conference website along with the resolutions. However, I noticed a couple of years ago that the subcommittee reports had mysteriously disappeared. Even large PDF's usually don't take up all that much room; so something tells me it didn't have anything to do with server space.

  4. The acting Dean of the Province of Central Africa is continuing with his plans for a forced election for another bishop in Diocese of Lake malawi africa.

  5. There is also the situation in the Church of South India where the former diocesan leader and her family members are charged by local authorities of stealing Episcopal Development and Relief funds.


  6. Sir, I guess the difference is that, for example, ++Anis has not been asked by the ABC and Primates not to sue for the money allegedly taken from his diocese......the problem is that TEC is going against the ABC and the Primates' calls in a couple of ways, but has still wanted, up to now, to be part of the AC nevertheless. But I think your PB is tired of the cost of that (in terms of integrity) and is moving on - I respect that..... she will not be part of a unanimous call from the Primates for someting not to happen and then preside at the same event, to her credit.

  7. I think the most interesting note from the Zimbabwe Telegraph follows:

    "South Malawi: Meanwhile Bishop James Tengatenga of South Malawi has embarked on his sabbatical study leave in the United States where in Dallas, Texas he has been speaking to representatives of the conservative (but not quite yet schismatic) Episcopal Diocese of North Texas. Quoting the singer Bob Dylan he said “The hour is getting late” and “Time for our games in running out” – it is not clear what exactly he meant by this but it could be a reflection on the current state of the Anglican Communion or perhaps on the unsettled situation he has left behind in his diocese?"

    At least this reporter seems to understand the irony of it all.

  8. Observer, neither the ABC nor the Primates are in a position now nor ever have been in a position to ask any province of the AC to abandon recovery of stolen assets. They have no authority in the AC. It is a communion of churches, not a church. And stolen assets they are, as the majority of court justices in the USA have and continue to determine.

    Also, for the record, the TEC Presiding Bishop has never been a part of any unanimous call from the Primates, by her own public testimony. You see, some New World Anglican provinces do not have prince bishops. Our polity is more democratic and involves folks from all orders of ministry. So in the case of TEC, the PB told the Primates that she would carry the message back to TEC, nothing more.

  9. In "Living Together in Church: Including our Differences" Canadian Bishop Terry Finlay described the reluctance of sub-section members to see a resolution such as I.10 passed at Lambeth 1998. They recognized that the differences of conviction about human sexuality were significant and thoght that a more conservative resolution than the one adopted in 1988 would not be helpful. I think they were right. I am sorrt that their report has disappeared from the Communion website, although I am sure someone has a copy on a computer. I don't think that I do, but I have the report in the printed official report of the conference.

  10. I'd have a little more respect for the Primates if they cleaned up their own houses while pointing out the dust bunnies in North America. I'd also have more respect for them if they unequivocally condemned border crossings by poaching bishops into North America, and official and unofficial oppression directed at LGBTs in central Africa. Instead, they are collaborators in both.

    I think the Communion must make a decision. What sort of a Communion does it want to be? Does it want to be a Protestant version of the Roman Catholic Church with a curia and a magisterium? Does it want to wage war on modernity, as does much of the Roman hierarchy and as do many charismatic fundamentalist leaders both Christian and Islamic? Or does it want to find a more constructive and critical way to engage the modernity (and the rising expectations that come with it) that the overwhelming majority of Christians must live in, willingly or unwillingly? Do we want to find our way through the world as independent partners, or as subjects in an autocracy?

  11. You call them hypocrites because there are discipline problems -- however well, poorly or intractible the problems -- when they object to the "discipline problem" of TEC? Is that the basis? You who propose a 'listening process,' have you listened to nothing the conservatives have said? The conservatives of the global south are not objecting to a discipline problem but a theology problem and a christology problem of the first order -- as a church calling sin holy. Jeesh, talk about missing the whole point. When will you wake up?


  12. David - exactly, ++Anis is not doing anything that the AC Primates have asked him not to do. But the Primates have asked TEC not to do certain things....whether you think they can ask or not, they have asked and the ABC is taking rejection of their requests seriously.

    You may want to check the record of the previous PB re being part of unanimous Primatial calls and presiding at events he and the rest of the Primates spoke against....but the current PB has not behaved like that this year, so she can preside without anybody saying she did......I can respect that, she is rejecting the Primates' call and does not seem afraid to take the consequences.

  13. "You who propose a 'listening process,' have you listened to nothing the conservatives have said?"

    "I hear you, I hear you! A deaf man could hear you!" -- Mel Brooks

    Apparently the right wing idea of the listening process (the process of listening to the experiences of gay folk instead of preaching at them) is "Shut up and listen you perverts!"

  14. The Mel Brooks quote is helpful.......maybe the AC has listened but the arguments have not persuaded enough of it to change its mind? Perhaps that explains the ABC's actions...even though he once argued for change himself. Hearing, listening does not necessarily lead to agreeing....and not agreeing does not necessarily mean that people have not listened very carefully and with open hearts.

  15. "Hearing, listening does not necessarily lead to agreeing....and not agreeing does not necessarily mean that people have not listened very carefully and with open hearts."

    No one has listened yet, and no one has heard anything.
    Advocating segregation in both church and the secular state, and closing down conversation by excommunication or intimidation is not listening. Just ask Davis Maciyalla about the listening processes in Africa.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.