African Anglicans say Episcopalians Must Repent, not Apologize

More than three months have passed since the Anglican Communion released its Windsor Report on homosexuality and division, but the international body has yet to begin restoring dialogue and fellowship among its 77-million members. Exemplifying this lingering dissention, the African Anglican Archbishops on Friday rejected an apology by the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) for ordaining an active homosexual bishop without the consent of the larger communion.

"They have only apologized and not repented," said Dr Reverend Bernard Malango, the Archbishop of Zambia, who was one of the 15 African archbishops attending a weeklong meeting regarding the Windsor Report in Kenya.

"Apology does not make sense to us, the biblical word is repentance," agreed Kenya’s Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi.

The archbishops, dubbed the “third Trumpet,” was chaired by one of the most vocal opponents of the ordination and “union” blessings of homosexuals, the archbishop of Nigeria Peter Akinola. Throughout the weeklong meeting, the archbishops and representatives from Africa, South East Asia and Latin America and Asia, hoped to take a unified stance on the Windsor Report so as to present a cohesive view on homosexuality with all Anglican Archbishops meet in Ireland next month.

While nearly all archbishops agreed that homosexuality should not be a lifestyle promoted by the church, some archbishops questioned why the communion had to stress over one divisive issue, rather than tackling other urgencies at hand, such as AIDS and poverty.

Responding to such questions, Akinola explained that while poverty and AIDs are important, condoning a lifestyle of homosexuality is a matter of faith, and should therefore be seriously addressed.

"I didn't create poverty. This church didn't create poverty. Poverty is not an issue, human suffering is not an issue at all, they were there before the creation of mankind,” said Akinola.

Akinola further explained that the U.S. bishops, who “expressed regret” in a letter last week for consecrating gay bishop Gene Robinson in November 2003, did not go far enough in their apology since they did not repent for their actions.

"That gives us a very big question mark whether we are together or not," agreed Malawi's Archbishop Bernard Malango.

The Windsor report, released in October 2004, suggested the "The Episcopal Church (USA) be invited to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican communion emerges."

The 2.3 million-member ECUSA, meanwhile, refused to place a moratorium on either divisive activity.

There are 77 million adherents in 38 Anglican and Episcopal churches around the world. Archbishops representing 50 of them attended the Kenya meeting.