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Uganda Appoints US Bishop: CEN 6.29.07 p 6. June 29, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of Uganda, The Episcopal Church.

Uganda has announced that it will consecrate an American priest to serve as bishop to its congregations in the United States. It has appointed the Rev. John Guernsey, rector of All Saints Church in Dale City, Virginia to oversee Uganda’s 26 congregations in 12 US states ranging from Southern California to Northern New York.

The election of Bishop Guernsey to serve the US Ugandan parishes marks the fifth Anglican province to appoint bishops to serve traditionalist congregations in the US. Existing bishops include: the Rwandan-backed AMiA led by Bishop Charles Murphy and his three suffragans, the Nigerian-backed CANA led by Bishop Martyn Minns and the former suffragan Bishop of Albany David Bena, Kenya’s congregations led by Bishop-elect Bill Atwood, and the South American congregations led by former Oklahoma suffragan bishop William Cox.

Further overseas bishops are expected to be appointed by the Church of Nigeria. On March 7 the Nigerian House of Bishops stated, “In light of the report from the recent meeting of primates in Dar es Salaam we agreed to defer the request for additional Episcopal elections for CANA until our meeting in September 2007.”

Central African Archbishop Bernard Malango is not expected to appoint a bishop to oversee his province’s US congregations, however.

The appointment of Bishop Guernsey was an interim measure to keep open a door for embattled traditionalists in the US to remain part of the Communion, Archbishop Orombi wrote on June 21.

“The need for a domestic episcopate for our Ugandan congregations grows daily, yet the anticipated, Biblically orthodox domestic ecclesial entity in the USA is not yet available. It has, therefore, seemed good to the House of Bishops and the Holy Spirit for us to take an interim step that acknowledges the need for a domestic bishop while at the same time affirming [their] full status as members of the Church of Uganda, and, therefore, of the Anglican Communion.”

Bishop-elect Guernsey said the decision to consecrate an American bishop had been made at the December Ugandan House of Bishops meeting and had been taken in consultation with other Global South provinces. The rejection by the US Church of the Primates’ pastoral council plan forced the Ugandan Church to act, Archbishop Orombi said.

“The carefully worked out and unanimously agreed Pastoral Scheme by the Primates in our February 2007 Dar es Salaam Communiqué has now been soundly rejected not only by TEC’s House of Bishops, but also by their Executive Council. We take their rejection very seriously,” he noted.

Uganda was not creating a separate ecclesiastical structure in the United States Bishop Guernsey said, and would work closely with other Anglicans to provide a haven for traditionalist groups. “Uganda is not building anything on its own, but we are working closely with Bishop Duncan [of Pittsburgh] and all our Common Cause partners toward a united and faithful Anglicanism in North America,” he told The Church of England Newspaper.

Under the Ugandan plan the 26 congregations will remain under the jurisdiction of their current bishops. Bishop Guernsey will be consecrated by the Ugandan House of Bishops on Sept 2 in Mbarara as a suffragan to offer pastoral and episcopal support, and will remain rector of All Saints.

Educated at Yale and the Episcopal Divinity School, Bishop-elect Guernsey has served his entire ministry in the Diocese of Virginia, serving as Assistant Rector at Christ Church, Alexandria, from 1978 to 1981, and as rector of All Saints from 1981 to the present. Popular among conservative evangelical clergy in the US, he has declined over a dozen nominations to episcopal office over the past 15 years, and told CEN that he had accepted the Ugandan appointment with some reluctance.

“My calling is to care for these churches and do the work of the Kingdom of God in the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said. The Dean of the Mid-Atlantic Convocation of the Anglican Communion Network, Bishop-elect Guernsey was a deputy to the US church’s General Convention from the Diocese of Virginia in 1994, 1997 and 2000.

Bishop Guernsey will be the Ugandan church’s second “Bishop in Mission” outside the geographic boundaries of the Province. On Nov 27, 2005 Archbishop Orombi consecrated the Rev. Prebendary Sandy Millar as an Assistant Bishop of the Church of Uganda to serve in London.

Comment on this story at Thinking Anglicans.


1. C.R.Gregson - July 9, 2007

Such a sad unilateral and devisive move. So unlike the actions of the Holy Spirit in New Testament times.

2. Rev. Fr. John K. Ndegwa - July 19, 2007

When people start failing in their own backyards, they start accusing their neighbour’s lad of spoiling their children. The problem however is when we think we can correct the neighbour’s lad by baby sitting him when his parents are alive. Our own children in Africa need us more than our neighbours’ children do in USA and Europe. why can’t we let them take care of their own children while we take care of our own?

3. Leonardo Ricardo - August 29, 2007

Just plain wrong…no wonder Guernesey+ “has reservations!”

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