ACK Nairobi bishop on the spot over ‘forged’ letter
A senior Anglican Church of Kenya bishop is facing questions over the authenticity of a letter he used to attend the recent Consultative Council in Lusaka, Zambia.
A church-based website, Anglican.ink, last week stirred controversy with claims that Nairobi Bishop Joel Waweru may have sneaked in additional paragraphs in a letter that bears the electronic signature of Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, which was drafted at a time the primate was in Marsabit.
The document appeared to soften the Kenyan church’s stand on its boycott of the 16th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16).
ACK had earlier decided to skip the meeting due to a stalemate over same-sex marriage supported by some Western churches, predominantly America’s The Episcopal Church (TEC), and the last-minute change of heart by a team led by Bishop Waweru came as a shock to some.
The Sunday Nation has, however, established that there was a telephone conversation between Archbishop Wabukala and Bishop Waweru.
Church sources, who spoke in confidence, said the archbishop dictated on phone what he wanted captured in the letter although some paragraphs were later contested when it was posted on the provincial website.
The letter, dated April 5, has sparked off a storm that threatens to derail the succession process that started early this month with the unveiling of six candidates, including Bishop Waweru, seeking to take over on May 20.
The archbishop has since played down the incident which confused some of the participants in Lusaka who thought the Anglican Church of Kenya was reconsidering its position on the homosexuality debate.
“I don’t think it is a serious matter to warrant the word forgery. I was out of town and had to communicate on phone, a medium that did not guarantee clarity on certain aspects in the letter. There was a misunderstanding in communicating the directive,” Archbishop Wabukala said.
The soft spoken cleric said that in principle they agreed on the need to write the letter but he needed to have come back to look at it before being dispatched.
“A bishop is independent and can make his or her own independent judgment so no law was broken,” the archbishop said.
Archbishops Wabukala, Stanley Ntagali of Uganda and Okoh of Nigeria, had earlier said attending the conference would amount to violating the teachings of Christ on which the Anglican Church stands.
ACK Bishop Waweru was also unequivocal that he did not forge the letter as alleged by the online article.