Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: ARCHBISHOP OF UGANDA SPEAKS TO ANGLICANS IN THE U.S.

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.

5 comments:

Kevin said...

"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?”

Yeah, we just had a bishop from our sister diocese come over for an ordination (shhh!) and our parish admin was a tad up against it:

"The bishop keeps calling, [Mater of Fact tone] now when I see his number come up, I refuse to take the call ... [defensive tones] I don't have and answers for him."

Reading this, I had to laugh. No worries everything worked out but the poor lady was very stressed that last week.

NORTHERN PLAINS ANGLICANS said...

Kevin - thanks for that. A little "normal" church levity is good medicine in these crazy times.

One of the reasons that traditional clergy want to realign is that bishops ARE important in our identity. We want to be excited and to rally our people when the bishop is scheduled to visit. Can't do that if the bishop is coming to teach them falsehood.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Today as I listened to Archbishop Orombi, I felt an intense gratitude for what he and other Global South Primates are doing to try to rescue the starving flock in North America. I also felt an intense sadness because I realized that for some souls the aid is coming too late. TEC's false shepherds have much to account for before the Lord.

Matthew J. Perkins said...

I am so glad to have Orombi as Archbishop in this tough time. I hope that the primates will see through the bishop's politics.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Matthew, I'm sure that they see through them very well and are not being distracted by TEC's non-response to the Tanzania Communique.

This crisi highlights the need to re-think the authority structure of Anglicanism, which more like the collegiality of the Orthodox, than the imperial papacy of Rome. This is probably what Archbishop Orombi had in mind when he was speaking of other significant sees. Orthodoxy regards the 5 original Patriarchites: Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome and Constantinople to have a collegial structure. The Orthodox also regard Rome has having symbolic primacy, but this does not mean Rome is free to innovate or to impose unilateral decisions on the other jurisdictions. Decisions of the Church must be made by the Church, not by a single jurisdiction of the Church.

As Young Joe, a commenter at Stand Firm has written: Anglicanism needs “a semi-patriarchal system much closer to Orthodoxy where we would have several super-provincial 'sees' that have principal oversight responsibilities for their regions of the world. They would also function as courts of appeal and dispute resolution on critical and Communion-affecting issues of doctrine and authority. This would include consultation with the ABC, continuing as primus inter pares, who would be what the Anglican tradition has always believed him to be, but now based on a real sharing of authority, and not just the power of persuasion. His role would be to help structure the process of dealing with the matter and fact-gathering, and he would have a vote on any structure or process questions. However, the final dogmatic decision would be left to the super-provincial Archbishop (as judge) and the bishops of the province where the issue exists (as jury). The decision could be appealed to the Primates or to the Lambeth conference. This special super-provincial role could be rotated among the various historic sees in any region. I do not find it coincidental that the Archbishop of Egypt (Alexandria) has just powerfully offered his credentials for one of these roles. There is substantial evidence that the great Celtic missionaries of the 6th - 7th centuries were heavily influenced by the Desert fathers of Egypt.”

Perhaps this is something that will emerge. TEC has been sliding toward an imperial primacy because it has regarded ++Rowan as being friendly to TEC's gay activism. But what if the primus inter pares were Archbishop Anis? TEC would be out on a limb with her innovations (as she is now, though doesn't realize it.)