The stand taken by the Church of Uganda to keep away from Lambeth, the apex body of the Anglican Communion, has been welcomed by evangelical Anglican Christians meeting in Jerusalem.
Archbishop Stanley Ntagali on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 told 2,000 delegates at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) that the House of Bishops meeting in Kampala on May 30, resolved that Uganda would not be part of Lambeth, as long as Godly order had not been restored to the Communion, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
“As soon as The Episcopal Church (TEC, the Anglican Church in USA) took the decision to consecrate an openly gay person as bishop in 2003, the Ugandan House of Bishops cut communion with TEC and Canada and all the provinces and dioceses that would follow suit.
“In 2010, the Ugandan Provincial Assembly gave a moratorium that unless things change and Godly order is returned to the Anglican Communion, we shall not attend any meetings organized by Canterbury,” Ntagali said.
He also announced that unless Canterbury recognizes the newly formed Province of Brazil and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the revivalist wing birthed by GAFCON from congregations that left TEC, then Uganda would have nothing to do with Canterbury.
Uganda’s stand brought tears of joy and whoops of delight from many of the delegates representing 50 countries from Oceania, Asia, Europe, Middle East, America and Africa.
One delegate, Nancy-Page Lowenfield, an American student at the Oxford University in the UK, could not contain her emotions for what she sees as Uganda’s great sacrifice in standing for biblical orthodoxy. In 2000, her family in Texas, USA took the painful decision to leave TEC when decisions counter to Christianity were being taken by sections of the church in the US. “The then Bishop of the Diocese of Texas told my father: ‘Christians wrote the Bible. We can re-write the Bible for our context’, she says.
A few years later, Gene Robinson became the first openly gay bishop in the modern history of Christianity. “It felt incredibly personal for me. When I heard Ntagali make the pronouncement, I saw how seriously the leadership of GAFCON takes the Gospel; the willingness to sacrifice financial relationships. I see that these leaders — Peter Jensen (former Archbishop of Australia) and Peter Akinola (former Archbishop of Nigeria) — and their successors are still making sacrifices for us,” an emotional Lowenfield said, tears streaming down her face.
Another delegate, Bishop Aloysius Agbo of the Diocese of Nsukka in Eastern Nigeria, was equally moved by Ntagali’s address: “The boldness in challenging the revisionists (of the Bible) is very impressive.
He is giving GAFCON the needed leadership. He is supporting Archbishop Okoh (the Nigerian chairman of GAFCON) to give the movement strong foundations in Africa.”
GAFCON was launched 10 years ago, to stand for faithfulness to what the Bible teaches on a range of issues, including biblical authority, the true Gospel, mission, marriage and sexuality.
This story was first published in New Vision (Ugandan News Paper) of 21 June 2018