Comments: African Anglicans meet together

Dare I suggest that the African churches would be much better and more effective if they directed their concerns to the manifest ills and problems of their own continent rather than tell western Christians how to live their lives.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 16 August 2016 at 7:00pm BST

@Richard Ashby: Actually, that is pretty much the message of Archbishop Idowu-Fearon's address.

Posted by Bill Ghrist at Tuesday, 16 August 2016 at 8:42pm BST

Fr. Mark Harris' piece, on the ACC Sec.General's CAPA Address is pretty insightful and not over-critical of the S.G.'s seeming critical assessment of the Western Churches' current influence on African Churches.

Bishop Idowu-Fearon is addressing Africans from a uniquely African point of view, while yet doing his best to represent the whole Anglican Communion.

Regardless of the colonial (British) emergence of Christianity in Africa, there is, undoubtedly, some strong influence now being exercised there by, primarily, American Right Wing conservative interests, that are aiming to consolidate the Victorian values system brought by the early missionaries.

It is this new situation - aided and abetted by people like the former Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen - with his initiation of GAFCON andf FOCA links - that has helped bring about Africa's stand-off from the rest of the A.C.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 12:08am BST

The man says one thing then its exact opposite to different audiences. Whatever happened to 'let your yes be yes and no, no?

Posted by Lorenzo at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 8:05am BST

Lorenzo seems to be right - different messages to different groups all in the name of institutional unity.... What or who will you sacrifice for that idol?

Posted by S Cooper at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 9:44am BST

The other way to look at it is: he has now had time to see North America first hand and up close.

As I noted elsewhere the odd thing is his being invited to speak to CAPA at all, given his previous tensions with Nigeria.

So we may not be seeing 'saying different things to different audiences' but rather tracing out a learning curve.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 10:39am BST

Spot on Fr Ron. The American right has a lot to answer for in Africa and they've got the money to do it.

Posted by Nicholas Henderson at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 12:18pm BST

I would like to ask a very simple question about same-sex marriage of conservative African bishops, and those that give them credibility.

"What do you want, and do you think it is likely?"

I presume that what they want is same-sex marriage criminalised. But that isn't going to happen in the USA without a constitutional amendment (the Supreme Court have ruled, and as I understand US law neither the legislature nor the executive can alter that) and it isn't going to happen in the UK (ie, the repeal of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013) in any imaginable political world. Would they settle for Anglican Churches embarking on a full-scale kulturkampf? But there aren't actually many Anglicans in the US or the UK for whom it's a big issue: some might disapprove of same-sex marriage in a general sense, but it's hardly #1 on their list. Do they think that an appropriately conservative ABC can compel Anglicans to become wild-eyed campaigners? What?

If they don't want to do business with countries which offer same-sex marriage, and with churches which have a large constituent part that wants to offer those marriages in church and certain is happy to recognise such marriages, then they should say so and break away from the US and UK completely. They are simply not going to get what they want.

Posted by Interested Observer at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 2:02pm BST

"I presume that what they want is same-sex marriage criminalized."

I think you are gravely mistaken.

Can you listen to an alternative take?

1. They do not believe that marriage can happen between two members of the same gender;
2. They believe that marriage is what scripture and tradition have held it to be in rite and in law;
3. They may well come to a view that sex outside of these realms ought not to be criminalized, including sexual relations between two men or between two women.

But to say "I presume that what they want is same-sex marriage criminalized" is a dramatic way to make a point that may well be irrelevant.

If that matters, then it does not advance any understanding.

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 6:27pm BST

Idowu-Fearon's strictures against western decadence, headlined in another report as saying that African Christians would never accept same sex relationships are countered the next day by moves in the South African church to do exactly that. Well well.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 7:40pm BST

"They may well come to a view that sex outside of these realms ought not to be criminalized"

I didn't actually say that they did.

Posted by Interested Observer at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 9:23pm BST

I believe the only thing that will change the views of the African churches toward sexual non-conformists is the experience of their own children and the work of their own scholars. That is what it has taken in every other "christian" nation. Unfortunately, it means that many lives will continue to be sacrificed. But our attempting to intervene more strenuously will not change that anyway--in fact, may make it worse, driving the price even higher than if we butt out and leave them to themselves and their own.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Wednesday, 17 August 2016 at 11:06pm BST

As it has been pointed out, this was a CAPA meeting, for CAPA members.
Overall, I think archbishop Fearon is doing what is right. And the good Lord knows that I so disagree with his over generalizations and false equivalences. But still.

Posted by Leonel Abaroa Bolona at Saturday, 20 August 2016 at 5:39pm BST

There are some rather broad generalisations here about the various Churches of the African continent and about the rest of the Anglican Communion, and about who do and do not support the traditional understanding of marriage (myself among those who support it, although a very liberal Anglican in many respects). There are other Churches of the Communion that support it and individuals within all its Churches, and I think the Australian General Synod - that meets only every four years - may do the same. And of course most of the Anglican Churches not formally in communion with Canterbury.

Regarding the latter, my own Diocese of Sydney recognises the emerging Anglican Church in North America, and, for example,the Reformed Episcopal Church,though narrower than the Church of England, seems to me to be truly Anglican. I see no reason why more parallel Anglican Churches should not be recognised within a broader "Anglican Communion" which after all is a quite informal body.

And the reference to the "Victorian values" of the early missionaries in Africa is also fairly sweeping. We could well learn a good deal more about what they taught and what they endured and suffered for the faith. Think of the costlt Christian witness in the then barbaric Uganda, or Bishop Colenso's fearless defence of the Zulu people who suffered so greatly from "western Christians". There are innumerable examples.

Those "Victorian values" - Christian values - transformed much of Africa and laid the foundation for Churches that in many places are thriving today.

Posted by John Bunyan at Tuesday, 23 August 2016 at 9:39am BST
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