CAPE TOWN: Ugandan Archbishop says Congress Recognizes Anglican Contribution to Global Evangelization Anglican Communion is irretrievably divided, says evangelical archbishop

An Exclusive Interview with Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi

By David W. Virtue in Cape Town   October 18, 2010

VOL: What are your expectations for this Global Evangelical Congress?

OROMBI: This congress is going to be the impetus now in the life of the church globally. Many will have new visions of outreach and evangelism and many are going to be encouraged by the interaction and fellowship. I also believe that a number of people are going to be built up in small groups by people who are older and share their experience or people who are being successful in ministry and how their success came about in their ministry. Finally, I believe that many many people here will replicate the global aspect of the church all over the world.

VOL: As an Anglican leader, how does this impact us as Anglicans?

OROMBI: For us Anglicans we are very encouraged first of all that the global church has recognized our position by choosing to make me the honorary chairman for this event and as the head of the pan-African committee. That is really a stamp of approval for the Anglican presence on the continent of Africa.

Judging from key leaders like John Chew (Southeast Asia) Mouneer Anis (Middle East) and Bill Murdoch (ACNA-USA) it looks to me like our (Anglican) Communion has that treasure that is the Word of God and is a further demonstration of their presence among other Christians in the world in this context.

VOL: And our uniqueness is?

OROMBI: We Anglicans have got a treasure in the way we do our things and govern ourselves. We have clarity in our message which includes liturgy, history and tradition which we will share with the rest of Christendom at this congress.

VOL: What of the situation in your own Anglican province?

OROMBI: We have more than 10 million practicing Anglicans. We have a vibrancy in our churches and that is reflected in our presence in the country. Both our president and the head of the military are practicing Anglicans. We are growing so fast we are creating three more dioceses in the next three years.

VOL: I gather there was a meeting of the GAFCON Primates in Oxford recently. What took place?

OROMBI: I was not able to be there, but I will be debriefed by the Bishop of Shyira (Rwanda), The Rt. Rev. Laurent Mbanda while I am here.

VOL: Was the Archbishop of Canterbury notified that you were meeting there?

OROMBI: He was not invited.

VOL: It seems to me that orthodox and liberal Anglicans are now so far apart that it is nearly impossible to imagine how you can meet or stay together with any sort of integrity? Dare I say we now have two religions in the Anglican Communion?

OROMBI: Our [Anglican] house was divided right back when the vision became clearer where it was all going. From 2005 in Dromantine we knew our house was divided. In 2007 it became even clearer and by 2009 it was completely clear, the elephant had come out of the bush and out into the open. By August in Entebbe (Uganda) the CAPA bishops and Archbishop John Chew (Southeast Asia) from the Global South were very categorical about our position and we stated it in no uncertain terms to Rowan Williams. Sadly he plays the diplomacy game but we won’t buy into it anymore. He talks to one group and agrees with them and then he talks to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Fred Hiltz (Canada) and agrees with them. We will no longer play that game. It is over. We want to know definitively if he shares the theology of Mrs. Jefferts Schori.

VOL: It sounds like a game in which the orthodox cannot possibly win?

OROMBI: Those who understood knew he was hiding something. He double dealt. We never knew where he stood with the other group. He constantly played hide and seek. No more. We won’t play that game anymore with him. He avoided any finality in discussions with him. He avoids a final scenario all the time.

VOL: Do you see any orthodox archbishops turning up in January 2011 in Ireland to the next meeting of the Primates?

OROMBI: No orthodox primate will go to Ireland. Unless Rowan Williams uninvites the US and Canadian Primates, you can count us out.

VOL: Recently The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, wrote to Bishop Tito Zavala of Chile informing him that his membership on the Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) has been withdrawn because the primate of the Argentina-based Province of the Southern Cone, under whose jurisdiction Zavala’s diocese falls, failed to respond to Kearon’s request for clarification about his involvement in cross-border interventions. Would you comment on that?

OROMBI: The Anglican Consultative Council is irrelevant to us. We have no passion for those things. We are not even interested in meetings that produce nothing and with nothing being implemented. So what is the point in spending time and money going to these meetings which could be spent elsewhere? We are not interested in tourism and holidays, we want to do business.

VOL: What would you like to see coming out of this unique Cape Town gathering of evangelicals?

OROMBI: We want to see the church really heated up by the Holy Spirit and we want to go out into the world on the offensive against sin and worldliness. The church must be sharp enough to stand clear of addressing the issues in dubious ways and the Lordship of Jesus Christ being put where it is supposed to be.

We also want to have a concerted and united front where believers are holding together as the family of Christ built up across the board. That means all the nations here and finally we want to bless South Africa.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.