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African Anglicans Reject all ‘Financial Gifts’ from ECUSA

''As a result of broken communion, we will not take any financial gifts from ECUSA...Please do not raise any more money on our behalf.''
( [email protected] ) Sep 27, 2004 05:34 PM EDT

The Anglican Church of Uganda released a statement confirming its decision to refuse all forms of grants and financial gifts from the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA), thus reaffirming its earlier decision to severe all ties with its American counterpart, on Sept 23, 2004.

“On 20 November 2003 the Church of Uganda broke communion with the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) until it repents of its actions in approving and consecrating as bishop a man in an actively homosexual relationship. Furthermore, we have taken the position that, as a result of broken communion, we will not take any financial gifts from ECUSA,” the letter explained.

The Church of Uganda and the ECUSA were originally tied together under a common fellowship known as the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion essentially brings together all international churches that share the same heritage from the Church of England. While the Communion has a code of law and statement of beliefs – one of which clearly states that the homosexual lifestyle is incompatible to the scripture - it does not have the jurisdiction to force any of its member bodies to adhere to those laws.

Therefore, the ECUSA’s election of actively gay bishop Gene Robinson last year sparked a strain of controversy and broken fellowships that was unmatched in the history of the communion. By mid 2004, over half of the world’s 77 million Anglicans severed ties with the ECUSA.

The Ugandan church, along with several other African Anglican churches, went so far as to call the ECUSA to repentance and reject all funds given through the American branch of the Communion.

The Sept 23 letter, penned by the Revd Henry Luke Orombi, archbishop of the Church of Uganda, reaffirmed the earlier pledge of the African churches to reject the ECUSA despite suffering financially.

“Furthermore, we respectfully request Episcopal Relief and Development to not send any grants to any Church of Uganda diocese or institution, including remaining installments on multi-year grants awarded prior to ECUSA's 2003 General Convention,” the letter stated. “Likewise, please do not raise any more money on our behalf. The Church of Uganda did gratefully receive ERD grants in 2001, 2002, and 2003 - prior to the consecration as bishop of a man in an actively homosexual relationship. According to our records, and confirmed by Don Hammond, Vice President of ERD, the Church of Uganda has refused the remaining installments of a four-year grant that was approved prior to the 2003 General Convention of ECUSA.”

Ultimately, the letter expressed grief over the “state of broken communion,” and said that the Ugandan church hopes the “ECUSA will repent of its actions so healing can begin…and communion is restored.”

The following is the full text of the statement, as released by the Anglican Communion on September 27:

One of the hallmarks of the East African Revival in the Church of Uganda is 'walking in the light.' On 20 November 2003 the Church of Uganda broke communion with the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) until it repents of its actions in approving and consecrating as bishop a man in an actively homosexual relationship. Furthermore, we have taken the position that, as a result of broken communion, we will not take any financial gifts from ECUSA.

We want to thank ECUSA's Executive Council member, Louie Crew, PhD, DD, DD, DHL, for helping us to walk in the light regarding our financial accountability. Despite its condescending and imperialistic tone, his two recent open letters to me and to our House of Bishops shed considerable light on things we had not known.

For many of us, the internal workings of ECUSA are a mystery. Were it not for the information revealed in these open letters, we would not have known that the UTO (United Thank Offering) grants of the Episcopal Church Women were part of the official ECUSA structure. Nor would we have known that women in the Episcopal Church support the recent heretical and immoral actions of the General Convention, which have caused ECUSA to separate itself from the historic church and the vast majority of the Anglican Communion and Christendom. We are grateful to have this information, and respectfully request that UTO not send us any more funds - even if grant requests have been submitted.

Accordingly, the Bishop of West Buganda is withdrawing his diocese's request for a UTO grant and has asked that UTO not send the wire transfer for the recent grant request from his diocese. Likewise, in the spirit of 'walking in the light,' the Bishop of Luweero has notified UTO that he is returning the US$30,000 recently received from a 2004 UTO grant to his diocese.

At the same time, the Church of Uganda is committed to carrying through on these projects. We believe that God will honour our commitment to His Word and will provide more than we could ask or imagine for the people committed to our care, especially those who are most vulnerable.

Furthermore, we respectfully request Episcopal Relief and Development to not send any grants to any Church of Uganda diocese or institution, including remaining installments on multi-year grants awarded prior to ECUSA's 2003 General Convention. Likewise, please do not raise any more money on our behalf. The Church of Uganda did gratefully receive ERD grants in 2001, 2002, and 2003 - prior to the consecration as bishop of a man in an actively homosexual relationship.

According to our records, and confirmed by Don Hammond, Vice President of ERD, the Church of Uganda has refused the remaining installments of a four-year grant that was approved prior to the 2003 General Convention of ECUSA.

This state of broken communion saddens us because of the loss of relationships and partners, and we believe it also grieves the heart of God. We continue to pray that ECUSA will repent of its actions so healing can begin, reconciliation be pursued, and communion be restored. We continue to rejoice in the formation and growth of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes in the United States under the leadership of Bishop Bob Duncan, and thank God that there is a faithful remnant of Anglicans in America with whom we can remain in communion. We look forward to deepening our ties and mission partnerships with those parishes and dioceses that are part of this Anglican Communion Network.

The Most Revd Henry Luke Orombi