Was CAPA a pawn, or just a wee bit over the top?

The Church Times reports that the the "Primtes' document" at the close of the All Africa Bishops Conference of CAPA , was "agreed upon by the primates and the representatives of primates who were not able to attend." It turns out that that is not true. The Communique lists the Province of Central Africa as a signatory. It is not.

The Church Times reports:

"The Province of Central Africa is listed as a signatory to the Primates’ document, which is declared to have been “agreed upon by the primates and the representatives of primates who were not able to attend”. It was confirmed on Wednesday, however, that Central Africa had not signed.

Central Africa and Southern Africa issued a statement that acknowledged that the ordination in the Episcopal Church in the United States of openly gay bishops had caused “severe strain” in the Com­munion; and that Canon Glasspool’s consecration had re­flected “a gross insensitivity to the feelings of the rest of the Com­munion”. The statement continued: “Not­withstanding, the impression being created at the Conference that all Provinces in Africa are of one mind to abandon our relationship with TEC [the Episcopal Church in the US] is wrong. Painful as the action is, it should not become the present­ing issue to lead to the break-up of our legacy and this gift of God — the worldwide Anglican Com­munion.”

The two provinces make clear their opposition to ACNA: “ACNA has been successful in bringing together most of the splinter groups within the Anglican tradition. . . We do not support ACNA’s position for legitimacy through the elimination of TEC.”

They declare: “The majority of the African Provinces at this Con­fer­­ence are being ambushed by an agenda that is contrary to the beliefs and practices of our various prov­inces.”

The Global South community of Churches has been overly generous before in incorrectly including signatures.  The flap by itself is nothing much to write home about. It was a mistake and corrected. But what does seem clear is that the management of the issuing of communiques is in the hands of folk who want to continually have overwhelming numbers on their side. So we are constantly told that the Bishops Conference represents roughly one half of all the world's Anglican bishops, that it represents the leadership of a large majority of the world's Anglicans, that the Global South (Africa division) is one and without significant minority voice on various issued that it addresses.

Were the CAPA primates just a wee bit over the top, or pawns in the hands of those who are working the agenda of a dedicated few in the Global South community? 

Who manages these things?  Perhaps the same people who put together the "agenda that is contrary to the beliefs and practices of our various provinces."  Perhaps by the same people who ambushed the sexuality report at Lambeth 1998, whose chair was an African prelate, and replaced it with the now infamous Lambeth 1998, Resolution 1.10.  Perhaps by the same people who persistently appear in the background, and now increasingly in the foreground - Bishop Martyn Minns in particular.

Bishop Minns, then a priest, was part of the meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2003 at which time the idea of a Network was floated. He and other notables of the American Anglican Council and the Network have been consistently in the mix at a wide range of meetings in which the agenda of the Global South leadership was advanced. 

Bishop Minns was at the All Africa Bishops meeting, presumably by virtue of being a bishop in the Church of Nigeria.  He wrote an article on the Conference for the Church of England Newspaper. In it he reported, "In keeping with African tradition the tea breaks were generous and it seemed that much of the real work of the conference took place as leaders from across Africa met, drank tea, shared experiences and prayed together." 

I have no doubt they prayed together and shared experiences.  But we might ask what else went on?  Perhaps some additional encouragement and agenda building - the agenda that "ambushed" the majority of the Provinces of the conference? 

Bishop Minns is signed off on the Church of England Newspaper as, "The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns,
Missionary Bishop CANA, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)."  BabyBlue felt it important to expand on this a bit. She reports him out as "...a Missionary Bishop for CANA, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and a member of the Anglican Church in North America College of Bishops."

Bishop Minns is part of the Church of Nigeria. He is working in the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church. His being part of the ACNA College of Bishops seems of secondary importance.  The primary placing of his membership in a Province seems to be in Nigeria.  If so there is no question at all that Nigeria is in violation of the moratoria of Windsor (few actually believe otherwise). 

Nicely, too, Bishop Minns as part of the Church of Nigeria has every business being at the All Africa Bishops meeting.  It makes it very convenient for him to further an agenda that ambushes other African Provinces.  One day there may be a surprise in store for him. He may discover that his advice is seen by his Nigerian superiors as perhaps, let us say, ambushing of their interests as well.


  1. When I was director of a county commission on homelessness, I was very careful in writing reports and grant applications to avoid overstating. Expressions like "reports suggest" were frequently found in my reports. I think our brothers in CAPA would do well to adopt a similar approach. "Most African Primates signing on" is statement enough.

  2. "Was CAPA a pawn or just a wee bit over the top?"

  3. This news is absolutely true and what is most remarkable is that Central Africa refused to sign up...but thereagian Central Africa does have two remarkable bishops. James Tengatenga of South Malawi who just happens to be Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council and Trevor Mwamba of Botswana who got 'sacked' as Dean of the Province by the then Archbishop Bernard Malango.

    Malango was a keen 'Global South' activist but never quite able to deliver the Province into the hands of the American dissidents, although he did manage (after a four year struggle) to prevent the liberal London vicar Dr. Nicholas Henderson becoming the Bishop of Lake Malawi after his election to the post.

    There is a lot of sensible comment about this on the Anglican-Information website which was also picked up by Episcopal Cafe, the Lead.


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.