Saturday, 17 May 2008

Episcopal Life Online: Uganda archbishop responds to Presiding Bishop's objection to his 'incursion' into Georgia

Archbishop of Uganda Henry Orombi has responded to a May 12 letter to him from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, saying that he is visiting a congregation in Savannah, Georgia, because it is now "part of the Church of Uganda."

Jefferts Schori criticized Orombi's planned May 14 visit to the historic Christ Church because he had not sought the invitation of Episcopal Bishop of Georgia Henry Louttit. These actions, she said in her letter, "violate the spirit and letter of the work of the Windsor Report, and only lead to heightened tensions."

Orombi met May 14 with clergy and laity who voted in October 2007 to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church. The group continues to occupy historic Christ Church, Savannah, while the continuing Episcopal congregation meets at Savannah's Church of St. Michael and All Angels. Christ Church dates from 1733.

"I am not visiting a church in the Diocese of Georgia," Orombi said in a May 14 letter addressed to Jefferts Schori, which her office confirmed had been received. "Were I to visit a congregation within [The Episcopal Church], I would certainly observe the courtesy of contacting the local bishop. Since, however, I am visiting a congregation that is part of the Church of Uganda, I feel very free to visit them and encourage them through the Word of God."

Jefferts Schori told Orombi that "we are more than willing to receive you for conversation, dialogue, and reconciliation, yet you continue to act without speaking with us. I hope and pray that you might respond to our invitation and meet with representatives of this Church."

But noting that Orombi's planned visit comes without Louttit's invitation, "I must protest this unwarranted incursion into The Episcopal Church," Jefferts Schori wrote in her letter.

Orombi has been one of the Anglican Communion's leading critics of the Episcopal Church and some of its recent actions, and he reiterated that criticism in his letter.

"The reason this congregation separated from TEC and is now part of the Church of Uganda is that the actions of TEC's General Convention and statements of duly elected TEC leaders and representatives indicate that TEC has abandoned the historic Christian faith," he wrote. "Furthermore, as predicted by the Primates of the Anglican Communion in October 2003, TEC's actions have, in fact, torn the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level." Read more
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