The Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
United States of America
Thursday 15th December 2011
Dear Bishop Katharine,
Advent greetings to you in the name of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It is with a heavy heart that I write you informing you of our decision as a House of Bishops to withdraw your invitation to the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS). We acknowledge your personal efforts to spearhead prayer and support campaigns on behalf of the ECS and remain very grateful for this attention you and your church have paid to Sudan and South Sudan. However, it remains difficult for us to invite you when elements of your church continue to flagrantly disregard biblical teaching on human sexuality.
Find attached a statement further explaining our position as a province.
--(The Most Rev.) Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, Archbishop Primate and Metropolitan of the Province of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and Bishop of the Diocese of Juba
Tip of the Tinfoil to T19.
Equally striking, the Sudanese have recognized the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the Episcopal Church’s conservative American rival.
With about 4.5 million members, the growing church in Sudan outnumbers the declining U.S. based denomination, which has fewer than 2 million. Overwhelmingly poor and besieged for years by war and persecution, mostly from the Islamist regime in Khartoum, ECS is strongly theologically conservative, like most African churches. Many Anglican churches in Africa and elsewhere in the Global South have distanced themselves from TEC even as they remain in the global Anglican Communion of about 80 million believers.
The statement of recognition is a significant move for the Sudanese bishops, who, unlike other Anglican provinces in Africa, had been reluctant to distance themselves from TEC, even as they openly criticized TEC moves. Sudanese Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak briefly visited the Episcopal Church’s 2009 General Convention in Anaheim, California.
|Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori|
“We acknowledge your personal efforts to spearhead prayer and support campaigns on behalf of the ECS and remain very grateful for this attention you and your church have paid to Sudan and South Sudan,” the Archbishop wrote. “However, it remains difficult for us to invite you when elements of your church continue to flagrantly disregard biblical teaching on human sexuality.”
That is going to leave a mark.
Well, the good news is their recognition of ACNA.
The Sudanese church had better brace itself for a tidal wave of litigation. The PB is not amused.
What I said on fb:
This is too bad, as Episcopal Church of the Sudan operates in some of the most challenging conditions imaginable and needs global support, including advocacy as well as material. Their Archbishop has made efforts to remain constructively engaged with us despite the profound differences in our two provinces - but at some point the reality of two incompatible "gospels" becomes a reality. Yes, we'll try to hide behind media-popular gays and lesbians, claiming that we are for human rights or something. But the theological issues run way deeper and we've let one small faction of our denomination take over. We've lost that Anglican/Episcopal breadth we used to assert as one of our virtues. If you are a more liberal Episcopalian, before you post a shriek here, think about it this way: what if the small faction of Episcopal Charismatics had taken over, and started insisting on "second blessing," "sign gifts", and other stuff that's not in the Book of Common Prayer. You would be pretty steamed, and rightly so. That's what is going on in TEC - just happens to be your little faction doing it to the rest of us.
With the independence issue settled and TEC's voice no longer needed, a pretty cynical call.
Another example of the sorting out of Christian groups. TEC's leadership represents a radical fringe, but there are other less radical groups who also reject aspects of biblical teaching. Inevitably, there will come a challenge from some of these groups also.
I find quite unconvincing the argument that a small faction has taken over. The evidence of votes at General Convention, to say nothing of votes in dioceses and parishes, does not support the small faction assertion.
I agree. TEC is fully corrupt. All the Bible believers have left that shrinking denomination. Recognizing TEC's complete corruption, Archbishop Bul has wisely cut the ties.
I'm still here, Alice.
Daniel's here, too.
There's a very nice picture of Bishop Deng Bul with Bishop Jones and others from the Diocese of Virginia on the Diocesan website.
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