Uganda's Anglican archbishop became the fourth African leader to appoint an American bishop to serve breakaway Anglicans in the United States.
Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi consecrated former Episcopalian John A. M. Guernsey on Saturday just days after Kenya's Anglican Church made the same move. The series of interventions by African Churches goes against the wishes of The Episcopal Church – the U.S. branch of Anglicanism – which called such interventions "injurious" to the church and said it could lead to a permanent division in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The African Churches, however, say they are providing missional support to Anglicans in America who believe The Episcopal Church has departed from orthodox Christianity.
Guernsey, former rector of All Saints Church in Dale City, Va., which voted last year to disaffiliate with The Episcopal Church, was appointed to provide oversight to 33 U.S. parishes that will recognize the Church of Uganda's authority, according to Reuters.
Orombi had announced plans in June to appoint an American bishop as divisions deepened over The Episcopal Church's consecration of an openly gay bishop in 2003.
"We thought the crisis in the Anglican Church would be resolved by now. We expected the Episcopal Church to repent ... but they have prolonged the crisis," Orombi spokeswoman Alison Barfoot told Reuters.
While such events have been called interventions by representatives of the Anglican Communion, the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns – who was installed in May by Nigerian Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola to oversee U.S. congregations under CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) – commended the support African provinces were providing to conservative Anglicans in the United States.
"It's the Global South collectively saying 'We've got to do something' because of the crisis in the U.S. church," said Minns.
The archbishop of Rwanda, the Most Rev. Emmanuel Kolini, and the archbishop of Southeast Asia, Moses Tay, set the precedent of establishing a missionary branch in the United States in 2000. They formed the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) which now claims about 120 congregations.
This month, Anglican bishops expect a response by The Episcopal Church to an ultimatum they issued, requesting that the U.S. body pledge not to consecrate another openly gay bishop or bless same-sex couples. The deadline to respond is Sept. 30.