Bishops: Help the Isolated

Bishops attending the second Global Anglican Future Conference in Nairobi have declared that they “affirm the [Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans’] Primates Council in recognizing and overseeing theologically isolated Anglicans. This includes the expansion of the Anglican Mission in England and similar bodies around the Communion.”

“We came to Nairobi seeking God’s guidance for the future,” said the Most Rev. Eliud Wabukala, Archbishop of Kenya and chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. “Should we stop? Should we slow down? The bishops told us we must go on.”

“The problems of the communion in the 21st century were aired last weekend,” said the Most Rev. Peter Jensen, GFCA’s general secretary, referring to a meeting between the Archbishop of Canterbury and archbishops attending GAFCON. “But this conference, this movement, is not just calling to attention to the dysfunction; it’s about building the future.”

Jensen said during press conference that the conference was not avoiding issues of social and economic justice but that participants want to set priorities first.

“Over the years the Bible has been very crucial in addressing economic development, as well as other social issues,” he said. “However, we must ensure that these are done where the purity of the Bible is upheld.

Earlier in the day, a workshop leader said that individualism and an increasingly fast-paced life were the twin threats to marriage and families.

Ruth Senyonyi, a marriage counselor, led a discussion on family with her husband, John. “What we have been teaching all this week is that we need to fix the foundation, because if the foundation of a building is ruined then the building cannot stand,” she said.

Married for 28 years and the mother of four, she is an employee of the Bank of Uganda. Her husband is vice chancellor of Uganda Christian University.

Individualism, egocentricity, and harried lives are wreaking havoc on many marriages all over the world, she said, adding: “People are forever busy and with such a hurried lifestyle marriage takes second place, leading to breakdowns.”

For this to change, she said, people must hear the wisdom of Scripture, which she called a manual for a good marriage.

Living in a culture of near-instant solutions has not helped either. “This is why you find people do not even persevere in marriage, because of the instant gratification they have been used to,” she said. “If a problem comes up, such people run away, going to look for someone else.”

Some of the issues specific to Africa include a new generation of empowered women whom some men fear. “We have raised educated girls who are empowered academically and financially,” she said. “Some men see such women as being aggressive and this brings issues in marriage.”

She called for strengthening support systems in which the extended family plays a bigger role in the lives of newly married relatives.

“We must allow the uncles, the aunties, and such like people to offer advice and be there, because at the end of the day, even after marriage you will not be living your life on an island.”

Tom Osanjo in Nairobi

Image: Bishops line up at a service on the second day of GAFCON • Stephen Sizer, GAFCON, via Picasa


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