Abp. Ndungane comments on the Episcopal Church

From ACNS:

16-October-2007 – Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndunganes’ statement on The Episcopal Church – South Africa

”˜Now is the time of God’s favour’ writes St Paul, reminding us that in every present moment we must grasp the opportunities offered by God’s reconciling grace (2 Cor 5:16-6:2).

The Episcopal Church has grasped that opportunity, and committed itself to the path of reconciliation. Now the rest of the Anglican Communion must make sure the moment is not lost.

As the careful and comprehensive report of the Joint Standing Committee makes clear, the House of Bishops have now provided the necessary clarifications and assurances on the responses General Convention had given to issues raised in the Windsor Report. We now have a basis for going forward together, working alongside one another to restore the broken relationships both within the Episcopal Church and within the wider Communion.

The Episcopal Church has borne unprecedented scrutiny into its affairs, often with scant regard either for its legitimate internal polity or for the principle, observed since the ancient councils of the Church, of local jurisdiction and non-interference, and in the face of all this has had the courage to take hard decisions. The Presiding Bishop, in particular, is to be commended for her self-denial in the generosity of the provisions proposed for the ministry of Episcopal Visitors. Others should now respond by also abiding by the recommendations of the Windsor Report, as the Joint Standing Committee Report underlines.

This has not been an easy road to travel. Much remains to be done and we must continue to strive earnestly together to find the path ahead. The experiences of my own Province, both through the terrible divisions of the apartheid years, and in the differences of our earliest history (which contributed to the holding of the first Lambeth Conference), have repeatedly demonstrated that holding fast to one another yields lasting fruit, while separation solves very little. Our God is the God of reconciliation, not of division, and we can take courage that he will continue to guide our way forward. I am sure that as we continue to abide in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, in whom lies the gift of unity, that we will find ourselves, our churches, our world-wide Communion, refined and strengthened, for the life of worship, witness and service to which we are called.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Statements & Letters: Primates, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces

36 comments on “Abp. Ndungane comments on the Episcopal Church

  1. Br. Michael says:


  2. alfonso says:

    Godspeed, speed, speed, your retirement, Archbishop.

  3. anglicanhopeful says:

    He says: ‘The Presiding Bishop, in particular, is to be commended for her self-denial in the generosity of the provisions proposed for the ministry of Episcopal Visitors.’

    And how exactly is it self-denial to provide handpicked visitors who continue to reside under her oversight?

  4. Br_er Rabbit says:

    The current Primate is busy trying to create facts on the ground (or at least the [i]appearance[/i] of facts on the ground) to make it difficult for his successor to undo the GLBT ‘inclusive’ agenda.

    Who said, “Appearance is reality”?

  5. Susan Russell says:

    #3 — It seems to me a gracious self-denial to step back from one’s sacerdotal role in recognition that it is not recognized by others and offer instead the sacramental ministry of those whose theology is congruent with the objectors but who continue to operate within the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church.

    At least, it would be if this was actually ABOUT theology.

    Of course if it’s about power, then nothing she offers will be good enough, will it?

  6. Scotsreb says:

    #5, while she continues unchanged and undeviatingly on her same course, then I have to agree with you, nothing she does will satisfy.

    And by the way, it is after all, fundamentally about theology.

    One group has received a new view of theology which they admire and wish to impose on everyone else in the church, in spite of the fact that most of their fellows reject the new thang.

  7. Br. Michael says:

    Susan, The PB’s “offer” is a farce. You know that as well as we do. So give us a break. It let’s you pretend that there has been a change when there is none in fact.

  8. Mike L says:

    As usual the progressive speak in generalities while the traditionalists speak in specifics. Point by point analysis of the so-called response shows the HoB did not even come close to meeting the requirements of Dar.
    And Susan herself continues with actions to prove the TEC heirarchy is expert at saying one thing and ignoring what they clearly know is going on. Not that I blame her, she has always been forthright in her convictions, even if I think she is wrong. At least she is honest about it. Unfortunately, the rest of TEC seems to have this need to outright lie and use legalese in what has become a completely transparent attempt to hide it.

  9. Milton says:

    The rest of the (ignorant, homophobic, bigoted, literal fundamentalist, hateful, simpleton Bible-believing) Anglican Communion must make sure the moment is not lost to follow TEC lemmings off the cliff.


  10. the snarkster says:

    I’ll thank God and Greyhound when he is finally gone. What a maroon.

    the snarkster

  11. robroy says:

    Who wrote this? Do we have the Microsoft Word files? Was it typed on Shori’s or Beer’s computer?

  12. dwstroudmd+ says:

    American HOB english is clearly not his first language. Of course, it isn’t American English language either. It is living into the diversity of meaning that each person brings to the language such that “meaning” (a patriarchal substratum of objective relation to reality tested by empirical experience and consolidated over time amongst users of the same words) becomes only what the reader intends and has no relation to either intent or experience outside the mind of the reader. So cut the guy a break. He reads what he wishes to read. Not disimilar from what the bishops did: the words mean what they thought they meant when they wrote them subject to the ever-changing polymorphic injection of pluriformity as to actually living out the “meaning”. This is Griswoldian technique, kindergarten level stuff.

    If you don’t believe me, just read Susan’s blog about her planned activities. It’s clear that transmission of the HOB “language” over the Mississippi River resulted in a cacaphony of “meaning” that signatories “intended” to be privately (not PUBLICALLY) understood.

    See, now. Isn’t that clearer? This fellow is reading after passage over an ocean, for Pete’s sake. Did you expect anything glimmering of comprehension? Don’t forget the magnetic effects, either. Perhaps the poles are shifting again?

  13. David+ says:

    What else would one expect from South Africa at this point?

  14. Larry Morse says:

    You really need to read Susan’s openingparagraph again. This is a remarkable performance, American at its most turgid. Didn’t you read it and say to yourself ,”What did she just say?” I don’t often read paragraphs like this since I stopped correcting papers for college students. LM

  15. Little Cabbage says:

    Susan: Many of us are in total support of the ordination of Christians who happen to be female. (Yes, even on this blog).

    It has nothing to do with the current PB’s gender. Our disgust and anger has everything to do with the years of lying, manipulation, disingenuous statements (e.g., Bishop Bruno at the famous press conference) and strange New Age belief system of which she, the majority of the HOB, and 815 are representatives. We were just as upset at many of her successor’s antics.

  16. Albeit says:

    [b]”The things we do say more about what we truly believe, than what we say we believe.”[/b]

    Would someone kindly inform the good Bishop that TEC’s walk does not match their talk. For him to imply that TEC is somehow living within (2 Cor 5:16-6:2), “. . . We must grasp the opportunities offered by God’s reconciling grace,” is pure rubbish.

    I would commend to Archbishop Ndunganes (1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-11):
    [blockquote] 9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [/blockquote]

    How does he deal with the truth behind this passage?

  17. rlindy says:

    I will confess I am far too addicted to these sites for my own good. After poring over them each day I realize that it’s just the same people making the same arguments over and over. All I really have to do is to look at author of the post to know what’s going to be said. This isn’t getting us anywhere. If I’ve learned anything in my 64 years it is that you can’t really tell anybody anything.So I’m going to change the direction. Speaking as one on the conservative side, let me state the following: I’m really sorry for those who feel judged and condemned by those of my ilk. I don’t think I’m homophobic, but it probably seems like it to those on the other side. So let me say how sorry I am. I wish I could see the scriptures differently, but I can’t. Perhaps someday God will open my eyes, but until he does, what am I supposed to do? I wish I could just suck it up and worship with the inclusive people, but my heart just isn’t in it. I don’t really care who my bishop is or whether he (or she) is in communion with Canterbury. I feel no special affinity for Uganda. But I do want a bishop who understands where I’m at and is willing to be a true shepherd to me while I struggle through this. I trust that God will forgive me for my part in this and trust that he will forgive others for theirs.

  18. PapaJ says:

    The question is – Did Trinity Wall Street and 815 pay Ndungane by the word or by the paragraph for this fiction? From his long history of licking the boots of TEC, it was probably a lump sum settlement for his retirement.

  19. Brian from T19 says:

    Elves and Jendall+

    I notice we get to take “potshots” at the Bishop and Russell+. Is it fair game for me to insult the orthodox “maroons” who can’t write papers? If so, I’m in! Thank God and Amtrak that they will all retire or be deposed…not nice is it?

  20. Rolling Eyes says:

    Brian, why are you asking for permission now? It’s been going on for some time now from you, Ms. Russel, and just about every other reappraiser. Or, have you not noticed all those times the word “bigot” is used on this blog?

    Oh, but it’s those big bad ol’ reasserters who are the REAL meanies, right?

    What a joke.

  21. Brian from T19 says:

    Sorry Kendall+ for the spelling.

    Rolling Eyes,

    Have I called someone a bigot? If so, are they actually a bigot?

    Is ++Ndungane a moron (Maroon in Bugs Bunny speak).?

    Does ++Ndungane “lick boots” of westerners?

    Was ++Ndungane paid to write this?

    Does Russell+ write at the level of a college student?

    Was it typed on ++Katharine’s or DGG’s computer?

    If so, then I withdraw my objection. If not, I roll my eyes in distaste.

  22. Rolling Eyes says:

    “I roll my eyes in distaste.”

    That makes two of us.

  23. RoyIII says:

    #17, rlindy, I wish I could have put it that eloquently. Well said.

  24. Rolling Eyes says:

    #17, #23, indeed. One wonders if all would be better served if the comments were closed altogether.

  25. RickW says:

    “The Presiding Bishop, in particular, is to be commended for her self-denial in the generosity of the provisions proposed for the ministry of Episcopal Visitors. ”

    Would that the “self denial” include stopping the depositions and law suits. For me I use “self denial” to describe a personal sacrifice where I give to another something I was saving for myself.

    So in that context, would “self denial” mean that she had really meant to have those episcopal visitors visiting 815 – and now they have to visit Reasserting parishes?

  26. William Scott says:


    What on the ground and not in words has changed? The only new statement from TEC HOB is their recognition that the opinions of those opposed to the majority of the House are real flesh and blood Christians with real convictions. The tone of the HOB statement and subsequent public statements betrays an awkward incredulity that those opposed to TEC innovations are not horned, florid-faced, and ranting. This is barely a beginning for discussion, and not a profound insight. It seems as though you have not had the same insight as you insist this is not about theology. This is willing ignorance on your part. It betrays an unwillingness to listen.

    Rereading the post I am not sure what Ab.Ndungane has said. This is not a time for content-less conversation.

  27. Larry Morse says:

    17 and 23. Rlindy is right, unfortunately. I find that I have repeated myself far too many times, and there is no point in it, either for me or for anyone else. I am getting tired of listening to myself. Mind you, what I say is of the utmost importance, but for some reason – what can it be? – no one seems to be aware of it.

    Maybe Rolling eyes is right and it is time for me to change my mind. Maybe it is time to close the comments completely, but leave names and emails available for those who wish to speak directly to others. This will eliminate the pointless repetition.
    The fact is, no one’s mind is going to change in these matters and they certainly will not change because of anything said here. Still I will say this, I would actually like to meet some of the people I have read here, Mike B, Library Jim, Irenaeus et al – actually you know who you are. Some of the people sound genuinely interesting. And I WOULD like to see a picture of the elves, just once. I can’t help but picture them as beautiful and over 40. Do produce a picture, O Elvish Ones. Larry

  28. Spiro says:

    Larry, don’t worry about seeing the photos of the Elves, for you are eventually going to see more than their pictures. I am sure we are going to see the Elves in Heaven. So why spoil the fun and excitement of meeting them when we get to Heaven?

    I have this information from a USUALLY reliable source: The Elves are Heavenly beings. They are Angels from Heaven enjoying their Sabbatical here on earth, playing their harp as they delete and post comments.

    Fr. Kingsley

  29. John Wilkins says:

    The letter does give lie to the idea that the global south is of one mind. It also demonstrates, as South Africa is the most developed of almost all the African countries, the eventual direction of the church.

    I also think it is interesting comparing the generosity of the letter to the responses he’s gotten. If reasserters are looking to set examples, perhaps they might show a little more charity to those who think differently. Noone is forcing reasserters to be gay. Reappraisers are merely allowing gay people some room and authority.

    As far as scripture goes, the reappraising perspective is based upon some changes in the basic assumptions we have. As I’ve said before, the biblical view of homosexuality as disordered is as reliable as the idea the sun rises or the earth is flat. As Leander Harding has remarked, I believe, our evaluation will have to be based with extra-biblical criteria. Yes the bible is very clear about sexual ethics. Reasserters dare not ask why, for that insinuates that culture has some kind of hold over scripture.

    The reappraising view, I believe, as I’ve said before, relies on the idea that technology matters and changes the contours of how we think about sexual acts. Technology and capitalism ruptured the neat connection between death, sex and property. Reasserters seek to put everything back in the box. Reappraisers assume that this is not possible. After all scroll to book to printing press all changed the way church thought of itself. And these were technological changes that ended up influencing theology. What has been revealed is that our sexuality is a bit different when separated from the consequence of procreation and the pressure to have children. Further, we now have the tradition of grace revealed to be in contradiction with the church tradition on sex. It might be that grace reveals homosexuals as not-disordered people. Grace might mean putting gay people in the closet. But God knows what happens in secret, which, from our vantage point, is an issue. Secrecy (which is where reasserters seem to want sexuality) vs openness (which is where reappraisers are more comfortable. It has little to do with “biblical” authority, in my view. It might have something to do with authority, generally.

  30. ArkyEpi says:

    Rlindy, thank you for your post. We clearly see in these discussions how far we are indeed from living lives in which all of our actions spring forth from the love that Jesus would have consume our hearts. I find it incredibly unfortunate that we should be splitting apart our church in these times, because we cannot agree on how Jesus would have us treat with some of our brothers and sisters, but I am coming to believe it is for the best. Our energies should not be directed in this way. May God be with you… and Uganda too!

  31. Br_er Rabbit says:

    Technology. The new god. More important than the ancient faith. More important than Christ.

    I’m sorry, I want more. I want a God that transcends technology, not one controlled by it. I want the God that can change the world by a single Word.

  32. robroy says:

    John Wilkins and the new thang religion:
    [blockquote]The letter does give lie to the idea that the global south is of one mind. It also demonstrates, as South Africa is the most developed of almost all the African countries, the eventual direction of the church. [/blockquote]
    1) Most people did not consider South Africa as part of the GS.
    2) Ndungane was an anomaly and was in the pocket of Trinity Wall Street. You seem to be unaware of this “most developed of all African” countries has stepped back from its collaboration with the innovationistas attitude: [url=http://new.kendallharmon.net/wp-content/uploads/index.php/t19/article/6378/ ]South Africa Elects Conservative as Next Primate[/url].
    Is that uncharitable to state that Ndungane was swayed by mammon? No, we are called to be wise as serpents, and we need to recognize the many wolves in sheep’s clothing (many also wear Episcopalian miters).

  33. Hakkatan says:

    Reappraisers blather on and on about the importance of context — yet Apb Ndungane seems to read the N.O. HoB statement in utter isolation of other statements by bishops, including what the PB said in San Francisco within two weeks of the statement’s release. He read the Primates’ Dar es Salaam statement in the way most favorable to his own views (in spite of the way standard English grammar requires it to be read, and in spite of comments by other primates) and he did the same with the N.O. HoB statement.

    Thank God he is retiring.

  34. William Witt says:

    [blockquote] Of course if it’s about power, then nothing she offers will be good enough, will it?[/blockquote]

    And, of course, since it is about theology, claiming that it is about power will save us from the hard work of actually addressing the theology.

    [blockquote]The letter does give lie to the idea that the global south is of one mind. It also demonstrates, as South Africa is the most developed of almost all the African countries, the eventual direction of the church. [/blockquote]


    Might I suggest a basic course in remedial logic. The above is a classic non sequitur. The presence of a single dissenting bishop does indeed prove that the Global South is “not of one mind” That is, there is at least one exception. However, no one has claimed otherwise, so there is no “lie” that needs to be challenged, unless, of course, you were yourself were assuming that the Global South was in unanimous agreement.

    However, your conclusion, “It also demonstrates, as South Africa is the most developed of almost all the African countries, the eventual direction of the church,” simply does not follow.

    Your major premise, that there is at least one single exception to the overall consensus of the Global South, proves nothing except that there is at least one exception to the consensus.

    What does it mean to say that South Africa is the “most developed” of all or even “almost all” of the African countries? That it is more economically developed? Would you have then have claimed that apartheid was the “general direction” of the church when South Africa was the single exception in that regard?

    Or by “most developed” do you simply mean that South Africa is the one African nation whose values are currently closest to your own and to those of other progressive Western Christians? If the latter (and this is what I suspect), it is precisely those secularized Western progressive values to which most of the Global South seems to be responding with a “Thanks, but, no thanks.” To the contrary, as writers like Philip Jenkins “demonstrate” (to use your word), while secularized Western progressive Christianity is dying in the West, Christianity is growing rapidly in the Global South, and the kind of Christianity that is growing is largely Evangelical and/or Pentecostal. There is simply no evidence that the kind of Christianity associated with the 815 brand name has any long-term future. Despite the optimistic predictions at the time of GC 2003, the “new thing” has produced only defections in TEC, is an object lesson to other mainline churches, and has no appeal whatsoever in those areas of the world that are experiencing the largest population growth.

  35. Dale Rye says:

    Re #34: The problem is that Anglicans have taken to using the term “Global South” in (at least) two senses, which they then often confuse within the same sentence.

    Definition One–The “Global South” is basically what used to be called the “developing nations” or “Third World,” composed of countries which have neither a Western economy and culture (First World) nor a history within the Communist Bloc (Second World). Since most of these countries are located to the south of the First and Second World countries, in Africa, Latin America, southern Asia, or Oceania, they can be called “the South” as a sort of shorthand. Australia and New Zealand, although located in the Southern Hemisphere, are not Global South because they have developed economies. Mexico and the Philippines, while well north of the equator, are economically and culturally Global South. The Republic of South Africa has a substantial upper and middle class that are culturally Western and an economy that is the wealthiest on the continent, but it also has a huge base population in desperate poverty, including many who are not Westernized to any notable extent, making it part of the geopolitical Global South.

    Definition Two–The group of Anglican jusrisdictions that has identified itself as the “Global South Movement.” The criterion for membership is not geography, economics, or culture, but a theological test. Brazil, for example, is clearly a Global South nation, but the authorities of the Anglican province in that country have been barred from attending Global South meetings because they are not theologically compatible with the movement’s leadership. A number of other geopolitically GS provinces such as Mexico and Central America choose to regard themselves as “Global Center” and do not participate in the GS movement. The Province of Southern Africa has not been expelled from the movement, but it does not have much influence, either.

    Clearly, the Global South (Definition One) is not of one mind on the issues dividing Anglicans. The Global South (Definition Two) mostly is, but only because it defines itself precisely by a particular stance on those issues. The problem comes when people take the unanimity within the GS(2) and claim it reflects a consensus within the GS(1), which it clearly does not.

  36. Cennydd says:

    My reply to Ms Russell: Zzzzzzzzz