We've just received a first-hand report from Alice C. Linsley (host of the Just Genesis blog on our "Useful Links"). She is reporting from a meeting with Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda, visiting Anglicans in Kentucky. We have his sermon, followed by some Q&A:
Henry Orombi Meets with Kentucky Anglicans
Alice C. Linsley
Archbishop Henry Orombi, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda, spoke to Anglican clergy and lay leaders at Apostles Anglican Church in Lexington, Kentucky on Tuesday, September 25. The event was well attended with representatives from all the newly formed Anglican churches in Kentucky. Also present were representatives from a missionary agency working in Uganda and a representative from the American Anglican Council.
His Grace preached from the 21st chapter of John’s gospel. Here we read that Peter has essentially aborted the mission of Jesus Christ. Discouraged and disillusioned, he tells the others “I’m going fishing.” He has decided to return to the only work he knows, the business of fish. After a long and unproductive night of fishing, Peter and his comrades hear someone call to them from the shore: “Have you caught anything, friends?”
Archbishop Orombi pointed out that Jesus calls those who had abandoned him, “friends”, revealing His gentleness toward those He has called into fellowship with Him.
The Lord then tells the fishermen to cast their net on the starboard of the boat and upon doing so they took in a huge catch of fish. John then says to Peter, “It is the Lord,” and Peter knows this is true because this miracle duplicates the miracle that attended Peter’s calling on that day when the Lord said, “Follow me. I will make you fishers of men.”
Peter immediately jumps into the water and comes to shore. There he finds fish already cooking on a charcoal fire. Jesus tells him to bring some of the fish they have just caught and the men sit down to eat breakfast with the Risen Lord. Archbishop Orombi pointed out that Jesus had anticipated his friends’ needs and was ready to satisfy their hunger.
This then becomes the backdrop for Jesus’ three questions to Peter. Jesus addresses Peter as “Simon” which means “reed”, recognizing that he is weak. He is not Peter, rock, but Simon, weak reed. Leaders are often weak, but Christ makes us steadily stronger.
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” His Grace helped us to imagine Jesus gesturing toward the boats, nets, and fish; in other words, the only business Peter knows. Simon answers, “Yes, Lord you know I love you.” Jesus says, “Feed my lambs.” Feed the little ones who need milk and special nourishment in order to mature.
Again Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon answers, “Yes, Lord you know I love you.” Jesus tells him, “Care for my sheep.” Mend their broken bones, heal their wounds, and keep them safe.
A third time Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” and Simon says, “Lord, you know everything: you know I love you.” To which Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.” Proclaim the Gospel in season and out. By word and deed nourish the flock of Christ. This is the work to which leaders are called and it is a work given not to clergy only, but to all Christians. Doing this work is how we express our love for Jesus Christ, and His calling upon us should be so evident that people wonder about our lives, what makes us different?
After the preaching, His Grace took questions. Here are some points that he addressed:
Rowan Williams does not have authority to change the deadline for TEC’s response to the Communiqué because the Primates set that date in Dar es Salaam.
Rowan Williams regards many in TEC as being so long without Christian teaching that “they don’t know their right hand from their left.” (Here Orombi is quoting Williams.)
Archbishop Orombi and Archbishop Akinola are in the USA at a time that coincides with the HOB meeting to strengthen Anglicans in preparation for TEC’s anticipated rejection of the Primates’ requests to cease ordination/consecration of active homosexuals and same-sex blessings in the Episcopal churches.
Archbishop Orombi consecrated John Guernsey so that there would be an Anglican bishop in close proximity to deal with emergencies. As he expressed it: “It took me 16 hours to arrive in Virginia. If you need a fire truck to come all the way from Uganda, what would be left of the building?”
His Grace expressed gratitude for the Common Cause Partners and asked for prayer that there might be unity among them. “They must come together as brothers, taking each other’s hands,” he said. “They must stand together, all holding hands.”
When asked about the importance of Canterbury, the Archbishop responded, “Anglican identity is not tied to Canterbury.” While Anglicans recognize Canterbury as one of the oldest sees, “there are other significant sees.” In this matter His Grace follows Church tradition in recognizing the authority of older sees such as Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome and Antioch.