|ECUSA Delegation rebuffed by African Churches|
from The Church of England Newspaper
Attempts to rebuild the American Episcopal Church’s shattered relations with the overseas Church were rebuffed this month when a delegation returned home empty-handed from a visit to East Africa.
Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi told the delegation that Kenya was in “impaired communion” with the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church would have to apologise for consecrating a partnered homosexual as bishop of New Hampshire, and would have to take affirmative steps to remedy the situation for there to be any reconciliation, sources at the meeting told The Church of England Newspaper.
Leading the delegation, Bishop John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida said he was making the journey to heal “the growing divisions” that have arisen because “our decisions and actions in the United States have created a situation in which we struggle with what it means to live in strained or impaired communion with many of those who have been our partners in mission.”
Though not an official delegation from the Episcopal Church Center, the trip was taken “with the full knowledge and support of our presiding bishop,” Bishop Lipscomb said, with the plane fares and some expenses paid by the National Church. Dean Titus Presler, of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, and Assistant Bishop Theodore Daniels of Texas, were also members of the delegation.
In their visit to Rwanda, they were met by Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini and Archbishop Yong Ping Chung who was visiting the province at the time. According to a spokesman for Rwanda informal meetings took place which were cordial but did not change Rwanda’s declaration of broken communion with ECUSA.
The group then moved on to Burundi and held meetings with Archbishop Samuel Ndayisenga and his bishops. Then in Nairobi a ‘pleasant’ but unproductive series of meetings with Archbishop Nzimbi of Kenya and five other Kenyan bishops. A source in Nairobi told us the “Bishops stepped into a buzz saw.”
Though Bishops Daniels and Lipscomb had voted against the confirmation of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire at the 74th General Convention, the ECUSA representatives were told that an apology needed to be accompanied by action. In addition, the delegation was told that the American Church’s actions were responsible for the state of broken communion.
Kenya did, however, consider itself in full communion with the bishops and diocese of the Anglican Communion Network.
In a statement released upon their return to the United States, the delegation acknowledged the deep divisions between the US and African Churches but stated they felt “the personal meetings with church leaders at this sensitive time were helpful, that good relationships were formed, and that the conversations were fruitful.”