The Church belongs to the Lord

It was great to see Archbishop Henry Orombi of the Anglican Province of Uganda this morning as he spoke to the Anglican District of Virginia at Truro. What an extraordinary man. I did not know that he was imprisoned during the terrors of Idi Amin. We go from reading with bewilderment the documents like the one produced by the Bishops With Law Degrees to listening to this extraordinarily kind, good humored, and wise man of faith as he opens the scriptures to us, that the Holy Spirit may write those powerful words on our hearts. “The Church belongs to the Lord,” we were reminded. “He will take us where He wants us to go.”

PM UPDATE: Archbihop Orombi has released a statement (see below) or click here to Matt Kennedy’s posting at StandFirm.

My first visit to churches and clergy in the Episcopal Church (TEC) in Northern Virginia was in 1996, and I have been back many times since then. In the intervening eleven years it has become plain to see that there is a clear division in the Episcopal Church. The 2003 decision of TEC to defy Biblical authority, including the consecration as Bishop of a divorced man living in a same-sex relationship, “tore the fabric of the Anglican Communion at its deepest level.”

TEC’s decision separated itself from historic Anglicanism as well as from the vast majority of Christians worldwide. Accordingly, what has become evident is that the theology that could lead church leaders to make such a schismatic decision further separates TEC from mainstream Anglicanism in particular and global Christianity in general.

As early as 2004 the Church of Uganda responded to the first appeal from Biblically faithful TEC congregations in America to receive them as members of the Church of Uganda. There are now thirty-three congregations in the United States that are part of the Church of Uganda, and many more that are part of the Anglican Church of Kenya, the Province of the Southern Cone, the Episcopal Church of Rwanda’s Anglican Mission in the Americas, and the Church of Nigeria’s Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

There is a desperate need to provide emergency pastoral care for Biblically faithful orthodox Anglicans in America. The March 2007 rejection by TEC’s House of Bishops to the Pastoral Scheme presented to them unanimously by the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the subsequent rejection by TEC’s Executive Council only provide further evidence of this desperate need to care for, support, and encourage orthodox Anglicans and Episcopalians in America. That’s why there was such a great outpouring of international support for the recent consecrations of Americans as Bishops from the Anglican Churches of Kenya and Uganda.

I have just met with leaders of the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV). I have great respect and admiration for them as I see them remaining steadfast in their faith. The ADV embraces several Global South ecclesiastical jurisdictions, and represents the renewal of Anglicanism in America whose unity is based in the Word of God and demonstrated through its Bishops who work together cooperatively and collaboratively for increased mission in America.