Nine Rwandan Anglican bishops led by Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini are among the 300 Anglican bishops who are meeting at the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem, Israel.
The conference, which opened on June 22 and runs up to June 29, is meant to, among other issues, discuss the future of the worldwide Anglican Church amidst fears of a rift.
It attracted over 1,000 delegates from Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Australia, and South America. The Anglican Church is a Communion of 77 million people.
The Rwandan delegation left the country on June 17 and is made up of all bishops of the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, according to the Church’s Director of Media and Communication, Grace Mugabe.
It is intended to provide an opportunity for fellowship, to renew their understanding of Jesus Christ, and to proclaim the transforming love of Jesus Christ, among other things.
“The aim of the conference is to revamp the spirit of the Anglican faith. Jerusalem was chosen because it has something to do with the roots of the Anglican faith,” Mugabe said yesterday.
During the opening of the meeting Sunday, the conservative Anglican leaders criticised their leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, for his failure to discipline the US Episcopal Church for consecrating an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003, the media reported yesterday.
According to the BBC, the talks are in effect a rival to next month’s Lambeth Conference – a ten-yearly gathering of Anglican bishops from all over the world.
Reports indicate that many attending the conference have threatened to boycott the Lambeth conference, accusing the liberals of rewriting the Bible to fit modern trends.
Mugabe said Rwandan Anglican bishops have also resolved not to attend the Lambeth Conference in order ‘not to mingle with sympathisers of homosexuals’.
“They cannot mingle with homosexuals unless they (gays) repent,” Mugabe said.
Ever since a rift developed in the Anglican Church over gay marriages, the Province of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, headed by Archbishop Kolini gave sanctuary to 130 Anglican Churches that broke away from the Episcopal Church of America, Mugabe added. The churches are grouped under an umbrella called Anglican Mission in Americas (Amia).