Living Church—Primate of Uganda: Episcopal Bishops Were Coached

06 October 2007 - Print Version

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s participation in the evaluation of the House of Bishops’ response to the primates was a “gross conflict of interest,” according to Archbishop Henry Orombi, Primate of Uganda.

The archbishop said the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates inserted themselves uninvited into a process the primates originally devised.

“Our Dar es Salaam communiqué did not envision interference from the Communion in the American House of Bishops while they were considering our requests,” Archbishop Orombi said in a written statement provided to a reporter for The Living Church. “Yet, members of the Joint Standing Committee met with Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori in the course of the preparation of their House of Bishops’ statement in order to suggest certain words, which, if included in the statement, would assure endorsement by the Joint Standing Committee.”

At their meeting in Texas in March, the House of Bishops adopted a resolution inviting Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the members of the primates’ standing committee to attend the House of Bishops’ meeting in New Orleans. It is unclear at what point or how the members of the ACC standing committee were included.

Archbishop Orombi and Bishop Jefferts Schori are two of the five primates on the joint standing committee. Archbishop Orombi said he was suspicious that the joint standing committee presence would prevent an honest response from the Episcopal bishops, and therefore he declined to attend.

The joint standing committee report was released this week without endorsement from four of the 13 members who attended. Bishop Mouneer Anis, Primate of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, has subsequently issued a minority report, objecting to the process by which the report was developed and its conclusion that the bishops’ response was acceptable.

“The report is severely compromised and further tears the existing tear in the fabric of our beloved Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Orombi wrote. “It is gravely lamentable that our Instruments of Communion have missed the opportunity in this moment to begin the healing that is so necessary for our future.”

Archbishop Orombi said the primates never asked the House of Bishops to make new policy for The Episcopal Church. Given that General Convention would not meet again for three years, he said the primates wanted the Episcopal bishops to clarify parts of two General Convention resolutions which the primates believed could be interpreted several different ways.

“TEC has lost the right to give assurances of their direction as a church through more words and statements,” Archbishop Orombi said. “They write one thing and do another. We therefore cannot know what they mean by their words until we see their meaning demonstrated by their actions.”

Steve Waring

1 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Father Ron Smith Says:

    It would seem, from the above statement attributed to Archbishop Orombi of Uganda, that he, like Archbishop Mouneer of Egypt, decided not to take part in the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, of which they are members. On this ground alone, they failed to conribute their particular views to the meeting. To then consider the majority view expressed by those who did attend the meeting of the Standing Committee to be invalid is to be naive in the extreme.

    The ‘Minority Report’ subsequently published by Archbishop Mouneer has to be considered in its own right as just that - a minority report - not binding upon the offical outcome of the report of the Standing Committee. To think otherwise would be to have the ‘tail wagging the dog’ as is the idiom attributed to such thinking.

    To say that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Standing Committee of the ACC went to America with the intent of advising the House of Bishops precisely how to respond to the ‘demands’ of Tanzania, is to impugn the integrity of those concerned.

    Meanwhile, the integrity of Archbishop Orombi has been severely compromised by his continuing insistence on ordaining clergy to infiltrate the territory of ECUSA’s diocesan structure. Is this the action of a truly responsible Primate of the historic world-wide Anglican Communion?