By David W. Virtue
Anglican bishops in the Province of Kenya boycotted a visit by the Archbishop of York, the Rt. Rev. John Sentamu, when he travelled there recently to celebrate the 100-year centenary of the Diocese of Butere.
The Bishop of Butere, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Timothy Wambunya, who was ordained by Archbishop Sentamu when he was Bishop of Stepney, said: “We are delighted that Dr Sentamu will celebrate our Gospel centenary with us. His coming to Butere will be an inspiration to many of us who believe that social transformation is part of the Gospel message. We have much to learn from one whose ministry not only speaks of the Gospel but acts it as well.”
Unofficially, his appearance is viewed with dismay in Kenya because of the archbishop’s less than sterling stand on same-sex relationships in the Church of England. While the Archbishop of York has steadfastly opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage, he supports civil partnerships, which he says have addressed the injustices faced by same-sex couples. This is a distinction without a difference in the minds of African Anglican leaders like Archbishop Wabukala.
Apparently, Sentamu is not willing to say that all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sin.
In an address to the Diocese of Butere, The Most Rev. Dr. Eliud Wabukala, the Archbishop of Kenya, made no mention of Archbishop Sentamu’s 3-day visit but noted that transformation can never be separated from salvation. “We must always hold firmly to the cross and the need for personal conversion. So as we look forward to the next hundred years, let us make sure that we do not drift away from what we have heard. Jesus has indeed come to bring us abundant life, but that wonderful statement comes with a warning that ‘The thief comes only to kill and destroy’.”
The Kenyan archbishop observed that the world is connected today by technologies that those who first proclaimed the gospel could never have imagined. “This brings great opportunities, including the way in which our beloved Anglican Communion can become a reality in the experience of ordinary believers, people around the globe. But it also brings challenges because it opens the door wide to new temptations and false teachings.
“The gospel is a message to be prized. It is something of great beauty because it brings the grace of God into our lives, so we must be alert to the strategies of the evil one who comes to kill and destroy. Our bishops and pastors must be good shepherds who protect the flock from the wolves and equip the whole people of God to be strong, well-taught and discerning disciples who put their hope fully in Christ.”
Bishops Court, the official residence of the Archbishop Sentamu did not return an e-mail from VOL seeking a comment.