Remember all that fuss in 2003 that served to catalyse much of the still-ongoing fractures in the Anglican Communion?
Well hold onto your hats because the new nominee for the same post is nothing like Jeffrey John…
He is the Right Reverend Andrew Proud, and is currently the area bishop of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
And on that issue, this is what he has written in the past:
[…] Having made a plea for openness, kindness and respect[lxvi] we still need to assert that the culture of the Church is different to the culture of the world. As the Latin American, Roman Catholic symposium on evangelisation put it, “The inculturation of faith and the evangelization of culture go together as an inseparable pair, in which there is no hint of syncretism: this is the genuine meaning of inculturation.”[lxvii] The Church must not be afraid to reassert its core beliefs and values, for the sake of the Gospel, even if many in the North, watching news reports of the Lambeth Conference on their television screens, will understand it to be a debate about human rights and the right of individuals to pursue personal happiness.[lxviii] Increasingly, it looks to me, from here, that the promotion of same-sex marriage and the ordination of openly homosexual individuals, are both the desperate, last-ditch attempts by a sinking Church to stay afloat in an otherwise alien and hostile culture. That, it seems to me, quoting Christopher Clapham, is about seamanship rather than navigation; staying afloat rather than getting anywhere.[lxix] For me, his whole issue is about mission and experience has taught me that, to have an effective mission, we need to be faithful to our apostolic faith in all its fullness.
Thus, I believe that much more is at risk here than personal happiness and self-fulfilment. What is at stake is nothing less than the credibility of the Christian Gospel and of the Anglican Church itself, both of which impact upon the effectiveness of her mission. It is a simple matter of fact that the Anglican Communion is no longer the preserve of the global North. Historical precedence no longer gives those of us from the North the right to direct what the rest of the Communion shall believe or practice. The Anglican Communion is now as much their Church as ours. The voices of the global South[lxx] will make uncomfortable listening for many in the North, but we should all listen. For, as Kwame Bediako suggests, the global South might indeed be in a position to secure the future of Christianity in the North. Africa has changed my own discipleship and renewed within me the sense of call and commitment I felt as an ordinand. It is my prayer, for the sake of the land and people of my birth, that Bediako will be proved to have been right.
And that, my friends, is what a bishop should sound like. Been far too long…