TWO AMERICANS were consecrated bishop in Kenya yesterday, to serve congregations that have split from the Episcopal Church in the United States. Another American is due to be consecrated in Uganda on Sunday.
The two new Kenyan bishops are Canon Bill Atwood, from Texas, who is general secretary of the Ekklesia Society, which promotes conservative Anglicanism, and the Revd William Murdoch, a former Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Massachusetts. They were consecrated in Nairobi Cathedral to serve as assistant bishops in the Anglican Church of Kenya by its Primate, the Most Revd Benjamin Nzimbi (News, 15 June).
The two vowed to “serve the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, to serve clergy and congregations in North America under the Kenyan jurisdiction”.
The BBC reported that the ceremony was watched by a large congregation of Kenyans, and included archbishops and bishops from across Africa, and by the men’s friends and supporters from the US.
Archbishop Nzimbi told the Reuters news agency before the ceremony that the reason for the ordinations was that conflicts in the Episcopal Church in the US had left its congregations without pastoral direction.
“We are not undermining the authority of anybody. We are actually saving a situation of people who so much need it. Otherwise, if they are left on their own, they would be like sheep without a shepherd,” he said.
An African website, allAfrica.com, reported that the Archbishop hoped that the new bishops would be a temporary solution. “The fabric of the Anglican Communion has been torn by the actions of the Episcopal Church in the US. These conflicts affect us all, and we have a responsibility to address the areas that we are able to impact.”
The third US cleric to be made Bishop in Africa will be the Revd John Guernsey, former Rector of All Saints’, Dale City, Virginia. Mr Guernsey, who was removed from the priesthood in the Episcopal Church at the start of August, is due to be consecrated by the Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Revd Henry Orombi in Mbarara, Uganda, on Sunday.
“In Uganda, we have provided a home for refugees from Congo, Rwanda, and Sudan,” the Archbishop told Reuters. “Now we are also providing a home for ecclesiastical refugees from America.”
Mr Guernsey told The Living Church that Uganda was “not building anything on its own; but we are working closely with Bishop Duncan and all our Common Cause partners towards a united and faithful Anglicanism in North America.” Bishop Duncan is the moderator of the conservative Anglican Communion Network.
Mr Guernsey will be the province’s second missionary bishop. The Rt Revd Sandy Millar, the former Vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton, was consecrated by Archbishop Orombi in 2005 with London diocesan approval, and is licensed by the Bishop of London.
Mr Guernsey will have episcopal oversight of the 26 congregations in the US affiliated to the Church of Uganda.