Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Conviction, not bruised feelings, behind Lambeth boycotts

Theological convictions, not bruised feelings, will prevent at least three provinces from attending the 2008 Lambeth Conference, the Primate of the West Indies has said.

In an interview with the Nassau Guardian yesterday, West Indian Archbishop Drexel Gomez stated “there are at least four provinces in Africa that have either said they will not attend or are still considering if they will attend, but there are three who said they will definitely not be attending.”

Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda had announced they will not be attending the conference as it is currently organized. Sources in the Anglican Church of Kenya tell us that the Church was to have made a decision at its House of Bishops meeting scheduled for this week. However, the post-election violence has postponed the meeting to April when a decision will be taken.

Archbishop Gomez has urged all of the Global South provinces to attend Lambeth. “It is too difficult to say if there will be any headway at this upcoming conference but what will happen is it will be the first time that the vast majority of Bishops as leaders of the church will be in one place and be able to talk about these issues.”

“So far we have just had small meetings and regional meetings but this will be the first international meeting at which most of the churches will be represented,” Archbishop Gomez told the Nassau newspaper.

The decision not to attend Lambeth was not predicated solely upon Dr Williams’ snub of the African-appointed American bishops of Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, one Global South leader explained. Dr Williams’ approach to the crisis, while appropriate for common room academic debates, was na├»ve and inappropriate when dealing with the realities of church life, he said.

“His worldview is the problem,” the African bishop said. Dr Williams’ maintains an “academic worldview that ideas don’t have consequences.” This “won’t work” in Africa, he said. Source
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