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African bishops head to Uganda for summit: CEN 1.29.10 p 7. February 9, 2010

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

Uganda will play host to the second All-Africa Bishops Conference this year, the conference organizing committee announced last week.

Over 500 bishops from Cape Town to Cairo as well as observers from Lambeth Palace and non-African churches are expected to attend the Aug 23-28 meeting at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel in Entebbe, organizing committee chairman Edward Gaamuwa said.

The focus of the meeting will be on building Africa’s civil social infrastructure: supporting good government, anti-corruption drives, poverty alleviation, and building peace and forging reconciliation across the continent, Mr. Gaamuwa said. The theme of the conference will be “Securing our future; Unlocking our potential.”

The first All-Africa bishops’ conference was held in Lagos in 2004 with the theme “Africa has come of age.” The intervening six years have seen major shifts in the African church. One speaker from the 2004 conference, Dr. Nolbert Kunonga of Harare, will not be invited to this year’s gathering, while key leaders have since retired—including the host of the 2004 conference Archbishop Peter Akinola.

The meeting also comes at a low point in relations between Dr. Rowan Williams and the African churches. At Lambeth 2008 a majority of African bishops boycotted the Conference with 209 of the continent’s 324 diocesan bishops staying away.

Bishops from every African province but Uganda registered for Lambeth including the Church of Nigeria. The Rt. Rev. Cyril Okorocha of Owerri, however, pulled out of the meeting at the last minute after having faxed in a confirmation of his attendance on July 19. The only Nigerian actually at Lambeth was a Roman Catholic archbishop, part of the 7 man team from the Vatican.

One Rwandan bishop was present, and Kenya had 17 bishops registered for Lambeth. However, only five of the Kenyan bishops were present for Lambeth and one left after the bishops’ retreat.

While the meeting is not expected to focus on pan-Anglican politics, a leading African bishop told The Church of England Newspaper the divisions that led to the boycott of Lambeth 2008 have not been resolved.

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