Uganda to boycott ACC meeting in Lusaka

Archbishop Ntagali reports the Church of Uganda will not attend the April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council

The Church of Uganda will boycott the April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka. In a letter dated 23 Feb 2016 the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, said comments made by ACC chairman Dr. James Tengatenga — first reported by Anglican Ink — that the Americans could not be kept away from the meeting, and statements by Episcopal Church leaders that they would pay no heed to the primates’ call that their church withdraw from pan-Anglican bodies for three years had led inevitably to this outcome.

Distrust over the efficacy of American promises of good behavior were a long standing problem in the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Ntagali said. He cited the 2003 incident where Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold promised not to consecrate Gene Robinson, an undertaking given at the emergency primates meeting held at Lambeth Palace, and his decision shortly thereafter to serve as Robinson’s chief consecrator.

The primates “felt so betrayed. We wondered how the TEC Presiding Bishop could agree that their consecration should not proceed – how he could agree that if he presided at that consecration that it would tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level – and then immediately turn around and announce that he would do it anyway. It was a double betrayal – betraying the clear message of the Bible and betraying an agreement the Primates had made unanimously.

History appeared to be repeating itself, Archbishop Ntagali said. “Thirteen years later, the Primates of the Anglican Communion gathered last month in January 2016 in Canterbury to discuss what to do about the fact that not only had TEC torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level in 2003, but they have since changed the definition of marriage to no longer be a lifelong union between one man and one woman.”

There were new actors on the church scene — Justin Welby had succeeded Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury and Michael Curry had been elected presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. “ We were cautiously optimistic that the tear in the fabric of our communion could be repaired and betrayal healed.”

At the January meeting: “The overwhelming majority of Primates voted that there should be relational consequences for TEC because they are officially promoting false teaching. They should, therefore, not be allowed to represent the Anglican Communion in ecumenical and interfaith dialogues. Likewise, they should not be allowed to vote on matters of doctrine and polity within the Anglican Communion.”

He said this had been “an important, symbolic vote because it was a rebuke of TEC. It also enabled the Primates of the Anglican Communion to re-state their commitment to the doctrine of marriage as between one man and one woman.”

However, the January decision was “only a symbolic vote; it was not a substantive vote. Recent statements from TEC and other leaders in the Anglican Communion have since made this clear. Let me highlight two:”

  1. The Presiding Bishop of TEC (The Episcopal Church) stated during the Primates Meeting that TEC would not change its position on offering “marriage” to same-sex couples, and he has repeated TEC’s commitment to a definition of marriage the Bible does not recognize. In other words, the Primates decision will have no impact on TEC.

  2. TEC’s delegates to the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka have stated that they intend to go to the meeting, participate in the meeting, and vote during the meeting. The Chair of the ACC – former Malawi Bishop James Tengatenga – has announced that TEC will be part of the meeting and will vote during the meeting. He stated that the Primates do not have the authority to tell the ACC what to do. Since the ACC is governed by its own Articles of Association, it does not have to follow the resolution of the Primates Meeting.

The archbishop wrote: “Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is like we are back in 2003 where we continue to be betrayed by our leaders. The Primates voted to bring discipline to TEC and, yet, we now see that the leadership of the Anglican Communion does not have the will to follow through. This is another deep betrayal.

“As you know, I excused myself from the Meeting before the Primates voted. My sense of the meeting at the time was that the leadership was not serious about restoring godly order in the Communion. Even after the vote was taken, I confess I was not convinced that it would have any impact on the common life of the Anglican Communion and, therefore, would not restore Biblical faith and godly order in the Anglican Communion.

“Unfortunately, this is what we are seeing. A spirit of defiance against Biblical faith and order has infected the structures and leadership of the Anglican Communion. It is a very sad season in the life of our Anglican Communion.

“The 2008 GAFCON Jerusalem Statement observed that the Instruments of Communion themselves were broken and incapable of doing the needful. Even if the people in those positions of leadership were serious about restoring Biblical faith and order, the way the Provinces of the Anglican Communion relate to one another – the structures of our fellowship – are themselves broken. For this reason, GAFCON laid the foundation for a conciliar approach to global communion through the creation of a Primates Council for oversight and the legitimising of authentic expressions of Anglicanism around the world.

“As you know, the Church of Uganda’s Provincial Assembly has resolved that the Church of Uganda will not participate in meetings of the Anglican Communion until godly order is restored, including demonstrating that it is capable of restoring godly order. This has not yet happened. The Church of Uganda, therefore, will not be participating in the upcoming April meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in Lusaka,” Archbishop Ntagali said.

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