[ACNS source: Council of the Anglican Provinces of Africa] The ninth session of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) council meeting ended over the weekend in Nairobi with a strong call for unity in the Anglican Church.
Newly elected CAPA Chairman, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, said there were no internal rifts in the church in Africa, adding that the stand of the church on issues of human sexuality was guided by biblical teaching and the Lambeth resolutions of 1998.
“The point is that we as the Anglican Church in Africa will continue to uphold biblical teaching on human sexuality, marriage and the family,” Archbishop Akinola told an international news conference after his unanimous election.
Outgoing CAPA Chairman, Archbishop Robert Okine of West Africa expressed joy at the growth of the continental body saying its response to the needs and challenges affecting over 40 million Anglicans in Africa was commendable.
Over 50 delegates, including African primates, bishops, clergy, laity and partners, attended the two-day conference, which is the highest decision-making organ of the council and meets every four years.
In his address to the council, Trinity Grants Program Deputy for Grants, the Revd James Callaway, said his ministry would continue to partner with provinces and dioceses regardless of their views in the ongoing sexuality debate.
“We do not believe we have to see eye to eye with you on every issue to work with you around common mission concerns,” he told the gathering.
“More concisely stated: You don't have to agree with us to be eligible for a Trinity grant. This has been our policy in the past, it is our policy now, and it will remain our policy,” he said.
While dispelling concerns that provinces and dioceses which express their views on sexuality will be penalised, James Callaway encouraged discussions but noted that they should be done within the bounds of Christian charity.
The council meeting resolved to enhance interfaith relations and work together with other faith communities to bring lasting peace in war torn areas in Africa. The council will also continue to prioritise HIV/AIDS and information sharing among the Anglican churches in Africa to build stronger communities of faith and support.
Delegates also attended a colourful dedication service of CAPA House, which is accommodating the CAPA secretariat. Funds to purchase the building were provided generously by the United Thank Offering (UTO) of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
UTO Co-ordinator JoAnne Chapman, who was present at the ceremony, said her organisation was thrilled to be part of such a major accomplishment in the history of the Anglican Church in Africa. Ms Chapman and outgoing CAPA Chairman, the Most Revd Robert Okine, cut a ribbon and unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening of the building.