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Re: Statement from the Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda

See Archbishop Orombi's statement at 

Fifty years ago this month, as a licensed Baptist minister and freshman at 
Baylor, I decided to visit a Pentecostal tent revival in one of Waco's 
poorest neighborhoods. I went out of a healthy curiosity and as a conscious 
effort not to limit myself to the Baptist Church or to the middle class.  A 
couple of my classmates, also ministerial students, sat with me at the back 
of the tent.  We tried not to be intrusive, but our green and gold Baylor 
jackets made us feel very conspicuous.

Fortunately, few took notice of us.  The revivalist  transfixed the 
congregation.  They were in rapture.

Before the service began, across the front of the speaker's platform was a 
large collection of abandoned wheelchairs, crutches and other medical 
paraphernalia, apparently to prompt great expectations.  Several times in 
the evening the revivalist called people forward to be healed. There were 
many tears and lots of shouting.

"Is he really healing them?" I asked myself.   I was not sure either way, 
and I knew that it would be wrong to discredit his claims merely because his 
style was so radically different from that familiar to me.  In fact, his 
efforts to heal seemed more like the ones in the New Testament than did 
those at the local Baptist hospital, where I was working as an orderly to 
pay my college expenses.

In the row in front of me sat a  young man about my age.  All through the 
service he participated enthusiastically in the singing, amen responses, 
and  waving of hands. He wore thick glasses.   'This is a way for me to test 
the revivalist's claims,' I thought.

I handed the young man a scrap of paper on which I had scrawled, "Since you 
believe in healing, might God not also heal your bad vision?"

I thoroughly expected him to smile, turn around and invite me into a private 
huddle.  I even imagined that his response might be something to the effect, 
"God does not promise to heal all ailments.  I have taken mine to God many 
times, saying 'not my will but yours be done,' and now understand it as 
God's will that I bear this minor affliction for God's greater glory." 
That is, I projected my own theology onto the young man.

He was visibly shaken, and after half a minute or so, moved to the sawdust 
aisle and down to the front where the revivalist was laying hands on several 
afflicted persons.   To my horror, the young man handed my note to the 
revivalist, who, with a grim  face, raised his arm to quiet the entire tent.

"Satan is in our midst tonight!  Satan is right here!" he shouted, pointing 
in my direction.  "God is not mocked!!"

I wanted to disappear.   In no way had I intended to mock God, the young 
man, or even the revivalist.

After a time of praying and laying on of hands, the young man left the front 
and stumbled up the sawdust aisle, resolutely refusing to use his glasses, 
but not able to find his row.   Someone with an aisle seat guided him to it.

Questions we ask in good faith have a life of their own, sometimes quite 
beyond what we imagined or intended, or want.

I believe that it is possible for the Province of Uganda to "walk in the 
light" even while receiving what it feels is tainted money.   Indeed, I find 
it hard to imagine any money, or any person, anywhere that is not in some 
way tainted.

Archbishop Orombi's immediate predecessor, Most Rev. Livingstone 
Mpalanyi-Nkoyoyo, apparently agrees with me, or did as recently as February 
2001, when he told me at his home in Kampala:  "We believe it is your 
Christian duty to support us with your money, but we don't want you to bring 
your issues here."  (see 
http://rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/natter_old2/msg00058.html).  I agree with him 
that it is the duty of all Christians to support the needy, whether or not 
we have their imprimatur.

I keep seeing that young man stumbling up the sawdust aisle.

I keep imagining the orphans in Luweero, the aid for whom Archbishop Orombi 
has rejected.

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

L., Newark Deputy, Member of Executive Council
Confirmed as Anglican on 10/29/1961

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