Saturday, 17 April 2004

Full text of CAPA statement

Below is the full text of the CAPA statement issued in Nairobi on 16 April 2004.

The press release said:

Primates resolve to multiply efforts of fortifying CAPA and African Theology
By Justus Waimiri

Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) Primates met in Nairobi on Wednesday and Thursday this week, and agreed to strengthen the financial position of the African Provinces and CAPA secretariat.

A statement issued at the end of the meeting that went late into Wednesday night and Thursday morning, said the Primates were encouraged by the outcome of the meeting, in which they affirmed the role of CAPA in uniting African Provinces.

They agreed to develop the available economic and organisational resources, and to increase their commitment to CAPA.

The Primates also deliberated on the development of an African Theological and Doctrinal Commission, and agreed to forge ahead with the initiative.

The meeting was attended by Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who is also CAPA Chairman, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda, Archbishop Fidele Dirokpa of Congo, Archbishop Joseph Marona of Sudan and Archbishop Bernard Malango of Central Africa.

Others were The Rt Revd Nicodemus Okille of Uganda, Rt Revd Dinis Sengulane of Southern Africa, Rt Revd Mouneer Anis of Egypt, and Rt Revd Jean Claude of Indian Ocean.

Regarding the controversial sexuality issues, the CAPA Primates affirmed the Lambeth resolution of 1998 and the previous CAPA Primates meeting of September last year, that opposed appointment of openly gay people to church ministry.

However, the Primates expressed faith and “prayerful support” to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Lambeth Commission established by him to study the appropriate measures to take after the controversial consecration of Gene Robinson as the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church of United States (ECUSA), New Hempshire.

The Primates and Bishops also discussed the stalemate that followed the retirement of Archbishop Robert Okine of West Africa, and expressed hope that the issue would be resolved soon. They said they would avail themselves as CAPA if called upon to mediate any contentious issues.

The meeting said it was encouraged by the peace process in the Sudan, and thanked the Government of Kenya for its role in bringing the warring factions together. A special message will be delivered to Kenya’s President, Mwai Kibaki.

On Rwanda, the Primates congratulated the reconciliation going on in the country, and pledged their support.

Below is a full text the CAPA Primates Statement:


We CAPA Primates meeting in Nairobi on 14th April had a very constructive discussion of the issues that concern our church in Africa. We are encouraged by the outcome of the meeting in which we affirmed the importance of the ownership of CAPA and furthering its development. We therefore recommended the following steps;

a) To work hard to develop our economic and organisational resources.

b) To increase the financial contribution to CAPA.

c) To develop our African theological training programme that would equip our ministers with the African spirituality that is based on the scripture.

In regard to the sexuality issues,
We continue to affirm Lambeth resolution 1.10 of 1998 and our statement of the last CAPA meeting as well as the Primates statement of October 2003.

We are committed to prayerful support for the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan William and his leadership to the Communion in this very difficult time. We also pray and support Lambeth Commission set by him to study the appropriate actions towards those in ECUSA who ignored the Primates’ warnings and violated the historical faith and order of the Church by consecrating a non-celibate open homosexual Priest as Bishop.

We appeal to the Commission to consider the serious implications of not taking a strong disciplinary action against ECUSA, which will definitely tear the Communion apart and will badly affect our ecumenical and interfaith relations as a Communion.

The Primates of CAPA reaffirm the statement that was issued in September last year.

We note that some Provinces have already taken action in declaring a broken Communion with ECUSA as an institution, while maintaining communion with individuals who have stayed away from the official position of ECUSA.

Some Provinces have impaired communion with ECUSA.

The Commission is requested to call ECUSA to repentance giving it a three -months period to show signs of such repentance. Failing that, discipline should be applied.

As CAPA Primates we stand firm to what we have decided that if there is no sign of repentance on the part of ECUSA, the consequences will determine the next line of our action.

The question of the enthronement of the Primate that did not take place was received with sadness and asked the secretariat to write to the Dean of the Church of West Africa assuring them of our prayers and expressed the availability of CAPA if there will be need for consultation with them.

We congratulate and rejoice with the people and government of Rwanda on the efforts being made at reconciliation.

We support the Primate of Rwanda, the Council of Churches and the Government of Rwanda in their reconciliatory efforts..

Emphasis on the catechistical teaching of the sanctity of human life and the ministry of healing of memories are of great importance for this situation.

The Primates are encouraged by the progress that was made in the peace process in Sudan. We hope and pray that both the government of Sudan and SPLA would reach the final peace agreement.

The CAPA Primates are saddened by the continuing violence in the Holy Land and appeal to the international community to intervene to achieve peace for both the Palestinians and the Israeli people.

Our hope is that Iraqi people resume their peace and develop their country under Iraqi government.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 17 April 2004 at 9:04 PM GMT | TrackBack
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“The Commission is requested to call ECUSA to repentance giving it a three -months period to show signs of such repentance. Failing that, discipline should be applied.”

Leaving aside how any church “repents” it should be noted that all the bishops in the world cannot change anything about The Episcopal Church (or, IIRC the Church of England.)

Changes in The Episcopal Curch require the consent of the laity (The House of Deputies) and again IIRC changes in the Church of England require an Act of Parliament and the Royal Assent.

While these might be thought to be pro forma, they still have to happen before anything happens.

Many of the Anglican churches seem to be governed by decrees from Bishops with no consultation or waiting periods.

The so called “repentance” metioned above is thus simply a public relations exercise by the CAPA Primates, as I suspect they’re aware of church polity, and they know nothiing can happen in three months.

Not that the British and American churches are going to start practicing invidious discrimination and prejudice even with these warnings.

We learned to quit doing that quite some time ago.

Posted by: Tim Stewart at April 18, 2004 03:23 AM

Tim—The primate have said previously that what they mean by “repentance” is for each bishop that voted for VGR to formally apologize and repudiate their votes.

Also, I would hardly call someone who does not qualify as an amoralist someone who practices “invidious discrimination and prejudice”. Within the church and before God, as everywhere else, there are rules. You break the rules, you face the consequences. When in the context of approaching God and living in holiness, these rules take the form of Christian morality, as laid out in Scripture—and unless you are illiterate or trapped in some sort of dreamland, it is very hard not to understand what the Bible very clearly says on the issue of sin—including homosexual acts, among other things. No one is advocating that anyone be discrimated against, but rather that someone in a leadership position fulfill the requirements for it, which within the Church includes moral living and repentance for sins. The problem is not that Western churches have stopped practicing prejudice, but rather that they have stopped practicing Christianity—and yes, unfortunately, we did learn to do that quite some time ago.

Posted by: mtk at April 18, 2004 06:49 PM