By George Conger.
Wrangling over Robert Mugabe, homosexuality, the place of The Episcopal Church within the Anglican Communion, and the aspirations of national churches, marked the General Synod of the Province of Central Africa, held Sept 6-8 in the southern Malawi town of Mangochi.
Initial reports on the proceedings of Synod have been contradictory. The government backed Harare Herald reported the Province had been dissolved, following the withdrawal of the Zimbabwe dioceses, angered over an insufficiently fierce condemnation of homosexuality and the Western Churches.
However, the Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Rev Trevor Mwamba emailed Religious Intelligence saying the “Province is still intact.”
Preliminary reports from Malawi indicate a conservative turn within the Province. Three Zimbabwe dioceses, led by the controversial Bishop of Harare, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, were able to block resolutions proposed by Bishop Mwamba on the crisis in Zimbabwe. They argued such political matters were beyond the scope of the Province’s deliberations and meddled in the political affairs of the sovereign dioceses and countries.
Taking up the cry of homosexuality, Dr Kunonga was able to shift attention away from the political and economic crisis in the region on to the disputes within the Anglican Communion. A resolution reiterating the Provinces commitment to the principles enunciated by the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 was adopted, but Dr Kunonga is said to have rejected this stance as not sufficiently strong. According to a report in the Herald, the Diocese of Harare and Manicaland and a third Zimbabwe diocese have quit the Province, in protest, forcing the Province to break apart. A point denied by Bishop Mwamba.