Anglican bishops warn rift with U.S. church remains

Anglican archbishops from Africa, Asia and Latin America meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on 28 January said that an apology from the U.S. Episcopal Church did not go far enough to heal the rift among Anglicans over the consecration of the denomination’s first openly gay bishop. In Nairobi, church leaders were circumspect about their views on the recommendations of the recently-published Windsor report, saying they did not want to pre-empt the meeting of Anglican archbishops in Ireland in late February.

Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola noted that U.S. bishops had apologized to individual church members in a letter issued earlier this month that expressed “sincere regret” for consecrating Robinson without fully considering other Anglicans’ objections. But Akinola told journalists that the U.S. prelates had failed to repent for an act he said was contrary to their faith. Archbishop Bernard Malango of Malawi said “That gives us a very big question mark whether we are together or not.” Akinola spoke after the weeklong meeting to discuss recommendations by an Anglican commission to resolve discord within the communion over homosexuality.

Some African bishops, including South African Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, have questioned why the communion is spending so much time on the issue of homosexuality when there are pressing issues such as war, AIDS and poverty to be addressed on the continent. Akinola said it was a question of faith. “I didn’t create poverty. This church didn’t create poverty,” he said. “These are two separate things.”

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