African mission funds remain in question

Published June 1, 2004

There are mixed reports about whether primates of the Anglican Communion in Africa have decided not to accept money from American churches that ordain gays and lesbians as members of the clergy.

Associated Press quoted Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, chair of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), at a news conference in Nairobi in April that African Anglican leaders have agreed to reject funding from the United States. “If we suffer for a while to gain our independence and our freedom and to build ourselves up, I think it will be a good thing for the church in Africa,” said Archbishop Akinola.

But a statement issued by CAPA primates shortly before Archbishop Akinola’s news conference made no mention of any such plans. It only stated that the Episcopal Church in the United States (ECUSA) should repent within three months for having consecrated a gay bishop in New Hampshire or suffer the consequences.

“As CAPA primates we stand firm to what we have decided that if there is no sign of repentance on the part of ECUSA, the consequences will determine the next line of our action,” said a CAPA statement issued after the meeting.

Archbishop Bernard Amos Malango of Central Africa told Anglican Journal that the lack of reference about rejecting money in the statement was merely “an oversight.” He said the primates did agree during their meeting that “if the trend continues we’re not accepting money.”

He added: “If there’s no progress we will cut ties and they (American Anglicans) may say ‘we (will) no longer give money’. If people use money as a weapon then that would be it.”

ECUSA dioceses are at a loss about how to regard Archbishop Akinola’s declaration, said a report from Episcopal News Service.

“All disbursements for mission from the national budget for this year have been made already,” said Rev. Pat Mauney, Anglican and Global Relations (AGR) director for ECUSA. “If they decide not to accept, we respect their decision.”

Nigeria and Central Africa do not request mission funds from AGR. Only Uganda has rejected a grant of $7,500 US, said ENS. The CAPA secretariat received a grant of $16,000 US from AGR for 2003.

Author

  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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