I have been somewhat critical of the stance of some in the global south that they will boycott Lambeth. In a way, it seems almost like snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. However, despite my criticisms, I think some very real spiritual concerns underly these statements. And I agree with them–we really need to deal with these issues before Lambeth, so that it can be a fruitful conference. How can we restore communion before hand? Obviously I think repentance is needed all around, but I think this is especially the case for those of us in the Episcopal Church. We acted arrogantly and self-righteously and the rest of these events have unfolded as a result of what we have done–and we can’t say we weren’t warned.
People forget that Akinola was one of the harshest critics of Archbishops Yong and Kolini when they formed the AMiA–the actions of the American Episcopal Church persuaded him that intervention was a justified option. Archbishop Akinola, so demonized in the west, has written a good summary of his thinking on the current issues in the Guardian.
Like a joke, they thought that as Africans, we don’t know what we are doing; particularly, the Americans and you know they always have their ways politically and economically. So, we have been dragging it since 1998 and Africans and some of our other colleagues in America, England and South Asian, we have maintained our stand that we will not continue with any of our church that ignore what the bible says. We have had several conferences and several meetings, attended several commissions to see how we could reconcile the western people with the so-called conservatives, all to no avail. In fact when America tried to ordain a practising homosexual as bishop, many conservatives broke communion with them. So today, we are in a state of a broken communion in the Anglican Church wordwide. This is critical and fundamental because when we say we are in a state of a broken communion, it means that the other group has been ex-communicated as it were or orstracised and you are not in fellowship with them anymore until that communion is restored.
As I said, we have made several efforts in Lambeth Palace, and other places, at reconciliation, but it hasn’t work so far and we in Africa are saying that until we resolve the issue and until we restore communion we can’t come together. What is the point of coming together? Let me give you a clear illustration of what I’m saying:
In Lambeth Palace, we met as Primates, we could not share in the Lord’s Supper. It is as that bad. As Primates and Archbishops, we could not share in the Lord’s Supper – the highest and most important service in our church. So, what is left of the church then? It happened in two other places like that again and again, because the faith once delivered to the saints has been abandoned as far as we are concerned. All we are saying is that, look you don’t have a monopoly of homosexuals in your community. They are in Africa, they are in Abuja here and everywhere, but we don’t celebrate it for God’s sake. Our duty is to counsel people that are involve in it. To pray with them guide and advise them until they will come back to their senses. Many who have this problem have been healed world over. It is an acquired syndrome. But they say no, it is not an acquired syndrome, it is the way they are made. But we say no to that. God did not make a mistake in creation. God did not make a mistake in creating a man and a woman and they cannot re-create what God has already created.
So, when our brother, Rowan Williams, a man I admire so much, a man I respect so much for his intellectual ability, spirituality – and he knows that I love and respect him a great deal- but when it comes to this, his position is baffling and we cannot sweep it under the carpet. Communion must be restored first. We cannot go to Lambeth Conference to go and restore communion. We must do this before we can meet at the Lord’s table.