Church Times: Harare Anglicans are urged to stand up to Kunonga

ANGLICANS in Harare run the risk of excommunication by default, if they agree meekly to be banished from the province of Central Africa, Robert Stumbles, Chancellor of the diocese of Harare and Deputy Chancellor of the province, has warned.

His wake-up call includes urgent advice that a “special synod” that the discredited Bishop of Harare, the Rt Revd Nolbert Kunonga, has hastily planned for tomorrow cannot legitimately be held without 90 days’ notice. The meeting follows the Bishop’s announcement last month that his synod had “unanimously mandated” him at its August meeting to withdraw the diocese from the province of Central Africa, supposedly because the province held liberal views on homosexuality (News, 21 September).

The Bishop, an apologist for Robert Mugabe, lives on a white farm from which he evicted black workers. He is still answerable to the Church on 38 serious charges, including incitement to murder, following a farcical non-trial in September 2005 and closure of the case by the Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Revd Bernard Malango (News, 25 November 2005).

After the move to form his own province, he is now being pursued by lawyers for the province of Central Africa for the return of assets, including three vehicles, and for surrender of his authority as signatory to two bank accounts.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa

14 comments on “Church Times: Harare Anglicans are urged to stand up to Kunonga

  1. Dale Rye says:

    Please, please, please let there be none of you out there who can read this and still think that this dispute is really about an orthodox diocese standing up to a province sympathetic to homosexuality!

  2. berggasse19 says:

    The ABC needs to show up bodily and throw this man out!

  3. RoyIII says:

    Should TEC send over a couple of Bishops to straighten this out? Start a missionary diocese or something?

  4. azusa says:

    # 1: I’ve never known anyone who thought that for a moment. But I have known people in the past who thought Mugabe was the savior of Zimbabwe. Personally, I don’t understand why Williams hasn’t declared Kunonga deposed, as Carey did for the scandalous bishops of Rwanda who connived in genocide. Kunonga is a total disgrace.

  5. Dale Rye says:

    Re #4: When Bp. Kunonga initially announced the secession of his diocese, there were a whole lot of comments here suggesting that this was just another case of an Anglican province splitting because the leadership was soft on homosexuality. They bought the +Kunonga excuse hook, line, and sinker. When I tried to suggest otherwise, I was told in so many words that no matter what +Kunonga had done, it could not possibly compare in moral importance with what +Robinson had done. When I suggested that most people–even most Anglicans in Africa–will be pretty seriously turned off by an effort to draw a moral equivalence between complicity in mass homicide and gay partnerships, some people here said in so many words that they are indeed willing to partner with a murderer to stamp out sodomy. At that point, I realized that however the Anglican Schism may work out I do not want to belong to any group that welcomes people whose moral sense has gotten that twisted.

  6. Dale Rye says:

    To answer the implied question in #4, the Archbishop of Canterbury has been relying on the Province of Central Africa to discipline its own bishop. Unlike the Church of Rwanda after the genocide (when most of the bishops fled the country to avoid arrest), the Central African province is still functioning, so there is no basis for intervention from outside. Admittedly, it isn’t functioning very well, or it wouldn’t have left +Kunonga in place this long or have issued various statements suggesting that the Western boycott of Mugabe’s government constituted imperialistic racism. However, the consensus here seems to be that all that is just fine as long as they oppose homosexuality.

  7. Bob from Boone says:

    I’m with you, Dale. This bishop needs to be deposed and cut off from any control over his diocese and its clergy, people, and property. If the ABC has the authority to remove him, he should do so. This is where CAPA should also be doing more than issuing statements of disapproval.

  8. Dale Rye says:

    Update: The Dean of the Province (acting in the absence of a Primate due to the retirement of Abp. Malingo) has announced that +Kunonga’s office is vacant. A lawsuit has been brought to get the property of the diocese back from his control. +Kunonga, meanwhile, has gone ahead with his plans for the special synod.

    [url=]Some stories are here[/url], but remember that the [i]Herald[/i] is controlled by the Mugabe government.

  9. evan miller says:

    Mugabe is a vile thugh and this bishop is just one of his stooges. I agree with Bob that CAPA should take a strong stand against him. I hope their silence isn’t based on some sort of misguided anti-colonial, racial, solidarity. I’m heartened by Dale’s update that the Dean of the Province has declared the office of bishop of the diocese of Harare vacant.

  10. Kevin Montgomery says:

    *shakes head*
    Suing to recover church property. This litigation is TOTALLY un-Christian behavior. There wasn’t even an attempt to reach an amicable settlement. The Province of Central Africa should be ashamed of itself. They must be taking advice from 815!

  11. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “I’m with you, Dale. This bishop needs to be deposed and cut off from any control over his diocese and its clergy, people, and property. If the ABC has the authority to remove him, he should do so.”

    Oh — wait — BOB!!!! Have you missed the *Important News* that we’ve all been treated to from our 815 leaders? The ABC has no authority to “discipline” any province, much less a bishop of a province.

    No, no, no. Their autonomy and polity entirely rule out the ABC doing anything at all.

    I should think that all of us would be aware of that Cardinal Rule of the Anglican Communion by now.

  12. robroy says:

    Sarah, are you disagreeing with the statement that political cronyism is worse of a sin than sodomy for a bishop, and thus, political cronyism warrants intervention by the ABC but not sodomy?

  13. Sarah1 says:

    RobRoy — thanks to the fantastic training I have received in ECUSA over the past four years, I now know that Absolutely Nothing “warrants intervention by the ABC” because he has Absolutely NO power. Were a province to decide to sacrifice goats on the altar at every Eucharist, the ABC’s hands are tied.




  14. Christopher Hathaway says:

    Actually, I would posit that it is the same cozy relationship with political power that as led to both the political corruption in Harare and to the difiiculty of the ABC and western Anglicanism in standing up against a culture rapidly abandoning Christianity. The ABC might discipline this fool, but it would be due more to fealty to the modern notion of political justice (which aren’t all wrong, as they do in fact descend from Christian principles) than to protection of the holiness of the Church.