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UGANDA: Archbishop Orombi questions Lambeth Conference participation

[Episcopal News Service] Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi issued a statement May 30 indicating that the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda will not attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, according to reports.

Orombi's statement comes in response to the recent announcement that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, had invited all but a "small number of bishops" to the 2008 Lambeth Conference, due to be held July 16-August 4, 2008 at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England.

Among those Williams did not invite were Bishops V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire; Nolbert Kunonga of Harare, Zimbabwe; and Martyn Minns of the Church of Nigeria-founded Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

In his statement, Orombi said that "all the American Bishops who consented to, participated in, and have continued to support the consecration as bishop of a man living in a homosexual relationship have been invited to the Lambeth Conference."

He recalled a December 9, 2006 meeting of Uganda's House of Bishops, which resolved "unanimously to support the CAPA Road to Lambeth statement," commissioned in 2006 by the Primates of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), which states, in part, "We will definitely not attend any Lambeth Conference to which the violators of the Lambeth Resolution are also invited as participants or observers.'"

"These are Bishops who have violated the Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which rejects 'homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture' and 'cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions,'" Orombi's statement continued. "Accordingly, the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda stands by its resolve to uphold the Road to Lambeth."

Orombi is the second Anglican Primate who has indicated in recent days that their province's bishops may not attend the Lambeth Conference.

Archbishop Peter Akinola, primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, said May 22 that withholding an invitation to Minns "will be viewed as withholding invitation to the entire House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria."

Williams "intends to explore how Robinson might be present as a guest to the conference," but he is not contemplating inviting Minns, the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, the Anglican Communion's secretary general, told ENS on May 22.

Akinola said that his church is also committed to the "Road to Lambeth," in which the CAPA Primates said "we must receive assurances from the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury that this crisis will be resolved before a Lambeth Conference is convened."

For her part, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori sent a short e-mail message to the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops May 22 urging "a calm approach" to the announcement regarding 2008 Lambeth Conference invitations. "It is possible that aspects of this matter may change in the next 14 months, and the House of Bishops' September meeting offers us a forum for further discussion," she said.

-- Matthew Davies is international correspondent of Episcopal News Service and editor of Episcopal Life Online.

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