STATEMENT FROM THE PRIMATES AND STANDING COMMITTEE OF CAPA IN NAIROBI, SEPTEMBER 3RD AND 4TH 2008
We met as Primates of Africa together with the Standing Committee of CAPA at the ACK Guest House on the 3rd and 4th of September 2008. This meeting provided the opportunity to reflect on our journey since our last Council Meeting in Mauritius in October 2007 and also on our experiences of life in the Anglican Communion; particularly in relation to the two great events of Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and the Lambeth Conference.
We felt a deep sense of warmth and fellowship with each other and expressed gratitude to God for his faithfulness. We were however saddened by the absence of our colleagues namely Archbishop Ian Ernest our Chairman who was ill; Archbishops Peter Akinola and Mouneer Anis, who had difficulties with flight connections. We were glad to welcome Bishop Jo Seoka, who represented Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. We welcomed Rev Canon Grace Kaiso our new General Secretary and his Commissioning at All Saints Cathedral was one of the highlights our meeting.
We reflected and agonized about the pain that had characterized our efforts to uphold the Anglican Communion in good stead; the events of Lambeth 1998, the Primates meeting of Dromantine 2005 and Dar-es-Salaam 2007. We thanked God for sustaining us with courage to stand up for the historic and apostolic Christian faith as revealed in the Scriptures. We were particularly thankful for the organs that have mobilized us and kept us focused and engaged around the issues that have plagued the Anglican Communion.
CAPA and the Global South were appreciated and Archbishop John Chew who was at the meeting was recognized with deep warmth of Christian love. He warmed up the meeting with the presentation of copies of the Catechism, a product of the Global South. The commitment of the Global South to resource the Communion was underlined by Archbishop Chew and applauded by the meeting. His call for sustained engagement by the Global South with the process of the Anglican Covenant was supported. We further shared our experiences of both GAFCON and Lambeth; and the statements emanating from the two meetings were shared.
Those at Lambeth shared how the absence of some of the CAPA Members was acutely felt. They commended the Indaba framework, it provided space for intense and deep conversations guided by Scriptural readings, and they were particularly encouraged by confessions of discomfort by some Bishops from USA and Canada with the persistent undermining of the authority of Scripture by some of their colleagues. Participants from the CAPA family also appreciated the opportunity for fellowship and witness at the Lambeth; the Archbishop of Sudan was particularly commended for his statement. The Lambeth Conference Walk of Witness, which symbolized the Church’s commitment to improving the quality of life of God’s people through the MDGs’ framework and the multicultural worship that permeated the meeting were noted as some of the highlights at Lambeth. The Lambeth Conference, it was highlighted, did not make any resolutions but offered the Anglican Covenant as one the means forward.
The GAFCON, it was reported, was a great time of fellowship and spiritual blessings. The Jerusalem venue and the excursions were appreciated by participants as they deepened the reflections, ‘It was like walking through the Bible Events physically’. The participants shared the Conference Statement which underlines the commitment to Biblical Orthodoxy and that GAFCON would be a movement for renewal within the communion and not a break-away faction. A Council of Primates had been formed and it was taking steps to seek audience with the Archbishop of Canterbury. As we reflected on the two meetings, we realized the danger of:
- Defining each other’s spirituality in light of the choices made to attend either of the two meetings;
- Not appreciating that homosexuality and lesbianism are not only issues in the West, but that they are actually at our door-steps;
- Overlooking the seriousness of the challenges related to the human sexuality debate and if we attempt to address them in a fragmented manner;
- Getting preoccupied with issues of human sexuality and ignoring other issues that deprive God’s people of their dignity prevalent in our Provinces and when we fail to care and support each other within the CAPA family to respond to those pressing challenges;
- Not taking advantage of every space available to engage on the issues affecting the communion as running away gives the space to the devil and eventually will damage us. Being discouraged is not a Christian virtue;
- Failing to build our economic capacity as this leaves us vulnerable to diverse interests.
Consequently we resolved that on unity and Ministry of CAPA Provinces, CAPA be the space for fellowship, mutual support, encouragement, inspiration and capacity building. We will all work hard at nurturing fellowship and unity of purpose while recognizing that we may not agree on each and every issue, but will endeavor to remain together on ‘major issues’ that is the essentials that make us who we are. We shall endeavor to find practical ways through which we will get to know each others context sufficiently well and to reach out to each other more meaningfully; in this regard
- We will support the CAPA Secretariat to operationalize the linkages of Dioceses as agreed upon at the All Africa Bishops Conference in Lagos;
- We shall rotate all CAPA events including meetings;
- We shall respond to each others needs to the extent that we are able;
- We shall establish strategies that will make CAPA economically independent and able to support Provinces in the same direction; this will involve among other things - Sharing good investment practices - Working towards establishing a micro-finance bank
- We shall develop pastoral strategies in our respective Provinces to reach out to those who are struggling with their sexual orientation and sensitize the populations against those de-humanizing tendencies/practices;
- We shall use all available resources including the catechism, to equip and disciple our flock into the faith and enable them to understand their privileges and responsibilities placed on them in their choice to follow Christ;
- That the new Strategic Plan and ongoing constitutional review process pick up those concerns and aspirations. On matters concerning the Anglican Communion GAFCON is encouraged to maintain its commitment to being a renewing fellowship within the Anglican Communion.
- We remain engaged on issues concerning the Anglican Communion, and in this regard Primates will respond positively to the invitation by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2009.
- Encourage the Global South to speed up the preparations for the 4th Trumpet and mandate them to continue to give us the lead in the on-going dialogue regarding the proposed Covenant.
The Most Rev Emmanuel Kolini
CAPA VICE CHAIRMAN