14th May 2008
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
The Episcopal Church USA
815 Second Avenue
New York, NY
Dear Bishop Katharine,
I received word of your letter through a colleague who had seen it on the internet. Without the internet, I may never have known that you had written such a personal, yet sadly ironic, letter to me.
Unfortunately, you appear to have been misinformed about key matters, which I hope to clear up in this letter.
1. I am not visiting a church in the Diocese of Georgia. I am visiting a congregation that is part of the Church of Uganda. Were I to visit a congregation within TEC, I would certainly observe the courtesy of contacting the local bishop. Since, however, I am visiting a congregation that is part of the Church of Uganda, I feel very free to visit them and encourage them through the Word of God.
2. The reason this congregation separated from TEC and is now part of the Church of Uganda is that the actions of TEC’s General Convention and statements of duly elected TEC leaders and representatives indicate that TEC has abandoned the historic Christian faith. Furthermore, as predicted by the Primates of the Anglican Communion in October 2003, TEC’s actions have, in fact, torn the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level.
3. May I remind you that the initial reason the Lambeth Commission on Communion was appointed was because of unbiblical decisions taken by TEC in defiance of repeated warnings by all of the Anglican Instruments of Communion. The Windsor Report was produced and accepted in amended form by the Primates at our meeting in Dromantine, Northern Ireland, in February 2005. It is, therefore, quite ironic for you to be quoting the Windsor Report to me. Nowhere in the Windsor Report or in subsequent statements of the Instruments of Communion is there a moral equivalence between the unbiblical actions and decisions of TEC that have torn the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level and the pastoral response on our part to provide ecclesiastical oversight to American congregations who wish to continue to uphold the faith once delivered to the saints and remain a part of the Anglican Communion. Your selective quoting of the Windsor Report is stunning in its arrogance and condescension.
4. You and your House of Bishops rejected outright the Pastoral Scheme painstakingly devised in Dar es Salaam, and to which you agreed. You have, therefore, left us no choice but to continue to respond to the cries of God’s faithful people in America for episcopal oversight that upholds and promotes historic, biblical Anglicanism.
5. An important element of the Dar es Salaam agreement was the plea by the Primates that “the representatives of The Episcopal Church and of those congregations in property disputes with it to suspend all actions in law arising in this situation.” This was something to which you gave verbal assent and yet you have initiated more legal actions against congregations and clergy in your short tenure as Presiding Bishop than all of your predecessors combined. I urge you to rethink, suspend litigation and follow a more Christ-like approach to settling your differences.
Finally, I appeal to you to heed the advice of Gamaliel in Acts 5.38ff, “Leave these [churches] alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop [them]; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Yours, in Christ,
The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA.