May 20, 2010

The Rt. Rev. Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda: Expelled due to the virulent homophobia of Archbishop Henry Orombi/others at Anglican Church

SAN DIEGO -- The Right Rev. Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda has risked his own life and the lives of his family, for speaking out against the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda’s Parliament. HERE

Dangerous tabloid sensationalism/LGBT Pogrom, Uganda (The Newspaper is owned by family of President Yoweri Musevene) HERE

¨The highly respected Anglican bishop is visiting Southern California this month and will be one of the featured speakers at San Diego’s annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast on Friday, May 21.

Senyonjo will also attend a reception in his honor, hosted by HRC San Diego and Integrity USA, from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, at Top of the Park, 525 Spruce St.

The reception is part of an American and European tour by the bishop to raise awareness of the "Kill the Gays" bill being contemplated by the Ugandan legislature. That bill has been universally condemned, including by the U.S. Congress and the European Union. HERE

Senyonjo is also speaking out about the connection between the "ex-gay" movement in the U.S. that is being exported to Africa and the rise of virulent homophobia in African nations that many blame on American evangelical missionaries.¨ HERE

Archbishop Henry Orombi, Uganda, Anglican Provincial Border Crossing Pirate, Demonizer of LGBT Anglicans, GAFCON schismatic, GLOBAL SOUTH exclusionist, OVERSEAS fear/hate-monger and disruptive anti-LGBT-OPPORTUNIST while being in DENIAL of the REAL corruption/sin running rampant at HOME in UGANDA HERE

¨For speaking out in Uganda in support of the LGBT community and human rights, Senyonjo was expelled in 2006 from the Church of Uganda by Archbishop Henry Orombi....Senyonjo remains chaplain to Uganda’s chapter of Integrity. HERE (Bishop Ssenyonjo was never the less invited to The Lambeth Conference by the Archbishop of Canterbury, 06 July 2008- Kampala, Uganda- Excommunicated pro-gay bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo of the Church of Uganda has been invited to the Lambeth Conference, scheduled for Canterbury, England from July 20 to August 4, 2008)

If Uganda’s controversial bill passes, Senyonjo’s ministry with Integrity would be outlawed and he could be imprisoned for lending support to gays and lesbians.

Senyonjo, 78, was ordained to the diaconate in Uganda in 1963 and to the priesthood in 1964 in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. HERE

He studied at Union Theological Seminary HERE in 1963 and received honorary degrees from Yale Divinity School HERE and Hartford Seminary Connecticut HERE . He became a bishop in 1974 and served in the West Buganda Diocese HERE until his retirement in 1998.

As a bishop, Senyonjo was considered controversial because his teachings on matters of sexual ethics over the place of gays and lesbians within church and society.

In 1998, at the Lambeth Conference, a meeting of all bishops and archbishops throughout the Anglican Communion, Resolution 1.10 was passed that called for a genuine listening process to voices of gays and lesbians throughout the Communion.("It’s possible to construct a perfectly coherent argument that the last 10 years have been preoccupied with undoing the damage Lambeth 1.10 caused to the Communion.¨ Andrew Goddard) HERE

Anti-LGBT Human Rights/Religious/Military Powerforce, President Musevene, Uganda

Yet at the same time, then Ugandan Archbishop Livingstone Nkoyonjo supported Uganda President Musevene’s call for greater criminalization against homosexuality. Bishop Christopher was the only bishop who took the full text of the Lambeth Resolution to heart when it said: “We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all the baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.” HERE

He not only provided a safe place for LGBT Ugandans to come to listen, be counseled and to share in the sacramental life of the church, but he also opened a therapy practice as a marriage and family counselor to support his family. (Bishop Orombi: DO YOU REMEMBER THE LGBT ANGLICAN KITEMU COMMUNITY CENTER?) HERE

The bishop’s respect for the full interpretation of the resolution brought him censure from his own denomination. This has caused him great personal hardship and persecution in the past five years as increasing hostility towards homosexuals and progressive human rights organizations has been noticeable. Recently, local politicians and church leaders were encouraged to increase criminal penalties against known homosexuals and their supporters, including organizations like Integrity.

The bishop has remained consistently critical of this legislation and is calling upon the international community and faith communities to oppose its passage and implementation. HERE

“I want to assure you that there is no turning back on this road to full inclusion and pastoral sensitivity to all God's people in our church and therefore, I call upon the good leadership of my Church in Uganda to respond pastorally and quickly to all these unfortunate and open-ended forms of anarchy, which only serve to dent the good image of the church,” said Senyonjo, who is married and has 11 grandchildren.

The Rt. Reverend Mary Douglas Glasspool

On Saturday, Senyonjo attended the ordination of the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool as assistant bishop of the Los Angeles Diocese of the Episcopal Church during an elaborate ceremony attended by 3,000 people at Long Beach Arena. Glasspool became only the second openly gay or lesbian bishop in the Episcopal Church in the U.S. HERE

The bishop will be visiting these communities after departing from San Diego:

• Orange County, May 15-16 and May 21
• San Francisco, May 22-26
• Minneapolis, Minn., and Kalamazoo, Mich., May 27- 31
• New York, June 6-8 and June 13-17
• Belfast and Dublin, Ireland, June 18-21

GRACE CATHEDRAL/SAN FRANCISCO: Interview with Bishop Christopher Senyonjo

¨In recognition of the "sexual pluralism" that exists in his homeland, and in spite of intimidation by church and state, the Rt. Rev. Christopher Senyonjo, former Bishop of the Diocese of West Buganda, has been compelled to take a stand in support of gays and lesbians in Uganda. On a recent visit to Grace Cathedral he spoke about his life and family, and his pioneering work with Integrity-Uganda.

You have received both praise and ostracism for your work in ministering to gays and lesbians in Uganda. How did you come to that calling?

I started as a counselor. In effect, when I retired as Bishop in 1998 I started a consultation and counseling services office. So there were many people coming to me. And among those who came were homosexuals, so I knew about their perplexities and their rejection by the church and the community. Later on, a young priest came to me and said there was a group of homosexuals, Integrity-Uganda, who wanted to meet me. And I was ready to give them support. I said, "Okay -- I will." But then a lot of opposition ensued because when the Bishops heard that I was associated with this homosexual group, they really attacked me. They wanted me to stop, really, being associated with them -- which I couldn't.

You couldn't?

I said, "I will not abandon this group" because I was convinced that the Lord who gazes on me didn't envisage any kind of discrimination.

(Archbishop Orombi Wanted Pro-Gay Bishops to Apologise. June 5, 2008- Kampala, Uganda- Pro-gay bishops must apologise and renounce their support for sexual perversion in order to reunite the Church. The Archbishop of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi, made the appeal on Wednesday, while addressing journalists at the provincial headquarters in Namirembe, Kampala.) HERE

Could you talk about some of the difficulties encountered by lesbians and gays in Uganda?

They are experiencing a lot of rejection because in our society homosexuality is regarded almost like a taboo. So people wouldn't even like to come out to say they are homosexuals or they are lesbians or they are gays. So when I started really working with them and some of them started to say they were [homosexual], it was not very easy for them. Many of them are really hiding -- just a small group. Almost secretly, we'd meet with them.

What form does that rejection take?

When somebody is a homosexual in a family he's almost rejected. In fact, when I started working with this group my children were very worried because they are working, and their friends were saying, "You're also gay." And it would be very difficult for them. So they were really threatened, and they told me that there would be trouble.

Could you give me an example of a gay person and the situation he or she was in and why that person came to you for counseling?

One person came to me because he was being told that the Bible was against homosexuals, and so you could not really be regarded as a believer, a Christian, if one was a homosexual. But I tried to show this person that the main thing is [a person's] relationship with God.

What about the problems that you personally have faced?

When you retire you continue working in different parishes at the invitation of different Bishops. And I've been doing this. And you get some kind of remuneration. But after I said I'm not going to abandon this group [Integrity-Uganda], one great friend of mine -- a Bishop -- said, "You will not continue to work in my church." And I stopped. And he went on in a kind of campaign, telling other Bishops that homosexuality was wrong and definitely I shouldn't be helping their churches.

Did that surprise you?

Oh, in a way, I didn't know it was going to be so harsh. It did -- definitely. But I had made up my mind I didn't like to be threatened by that or intimidated. It was very hard on me because it stopped some of this income which I needed. And what is more, when I came [to the United States] in March I came here representing a non-governmental organization called WAYS -- that is, Women and Youth Services -- for which I've been a patron. And I was also trying to raise some funds for that group, which is helping with HIV and AIDS in Uganda. By that time, in Uganda, they had started to oppose what I was doing. Things became worse because they started saying that organizations which were utilizing my services should stop it, because I'm going to promote homosexuality. And that organization that is working even still with women and youth -- they said I'm going to promote homosexuality in this group and if they allowed me to continue working with them, others are going to boycott that organization [WAYS].

So it's guilt by association.

Yeah -- so the director told me I should stop working with them, which was right. I stopped.

Because you didn't want to damage that organization?

No -- and the work is good work. So I had to stop, you see? And that was when things became worse, and they said that they were even going to arrest me if I went back. That's why I didn't go back [to Uganda] after that time.

So that was really a threat from the government, then?

No -- mostly from the church.

But the threat of arrest came from the government?

Yeah -- because the church and the government work very closely together. Many of the people in the government are Christians. And if the church is against you, definitely they have a lot of influence. And they brought out a certain law, which we didn't know was there, that homosexuality was illegal in Uganda.

What do you see for the future of Integrity-Uganda?

What is really needed is education. I find that there is a lot of misunderstanding about human sexuality. And I've started writing about it -- because many people regard human sexuality as for procreation and if you think of why we have so much opposition against homosexuality, it is because it is not regarded as productive.

The idea of love didn't come out very easily -- whereas when you read the very beginning in Genesis, Chapter 2, Verse 18 the reason why Adam -- to me, I don't say it was a male, but it was Adam, a being -- the reason why God made a helpmate fit for that being was to heal a loneliness. It does not say, "to have children." Children are okay, but really healing loneliness or aloneness was so important. I think this is the major point. There is a need for education.

So you would like to see that happen on a larger scale?

Yeah -- in fact, I have even written to some of the Bishops that we need this in our seminaries because a wide understanding of human sexuality is really missing.

You've been traveling around the United States and you've been raising money for Integrity-Uganda. How would you like to see that money used?

One thing is, as I've said, education. We need a lot of publications to bring out a number of writings so people really get sensitized about human sexuality. And to have these programs on TV -- the good thing in Uganda now is we have got a kind of freedom of speech, right? So something can come out on TV, some articles in newspapers, and some discussions. That is one way.

What is your impression of lesbians and gays in this country?

I feel that people here have got more freedom [in the United States], and they can talk about who they are without real fear. That's why we need this kind of solidarity. We get encouragement when we meet people who are free to say who they are.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Anglican Hero and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu HERE

And what is more, I've been given encouragement by people talking about what I'm doing and giving me support. I've had real encouragement from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. He wrote to me: "Dear Bishop Christopher: I write to assure you of my support for your position and to assure you of my prayers in the very difficult situation you find yourself in as a result of your principled stand. Please feel free to make public the fact that I support you. God bless you and your family now and always.

What personally sustains you in what is obviously a difficult time?

What has sustained me is to believe that this call is from God -- that's all, in fact.

It seems that you have become a pioneer for the rights of sexual minorities in your country. Did you anticipate that when you first made the decision to become involved?

No -- I didn't know I was a pioneer as such, because I didn't really sit down and say I was going to be involved.

Charges have been leveled by the Church of Uganda's Bishops that Integrity-Uganda is an alien influence from the West. Would you respond to that?

I would have said probably the same if I hadn't met [gay] people, real people, coming to me who are not alien -- who are Ugandans who have these problems. I call it that because in Uganda they still say problems. And, as we've been talking about it now, people have started writing in the papers -- Ugandans -- saying, "No -- we must respect these people. They are among us." Even long ago, before we even had many Westerners in Uganda, this was there. HERE

What do you hold out in terms of hope for reconciliation and transformation?

I've been trying -- trying. In fact, recently I wrote this Bishop who has been really the head of the campaign against me. I said, "I regard you still as my really great friend." He is. And I said, "I hope when I come back -- I would like to continue talking." We should be talking.

To keep the dialogue open?

Yeah -- and I even said to him, "We need to have a course in our seminaries on human sexuality, and this will reduce the conflict." I don't say we could agree 100%, but I think the gap would be narrowed.

So do you feel hopeful that some change can happen in the future?

Yeah -- I have hope. I don't believe that all Bishops really are against me -- not all. But they are still afraid. HERE

It is very interesting, because [before I came out from Uganda] one of the clergy, a very senior clergyman, was sent to talk to me. But before [this official meeting] I met him and we talked. He said, "Bishop, I believe that if God has shown you to do this you can't do otherwise. I think you should do it." It was wonderful.

Where are you headed next and when will you be going back to Uganda?

I'm heading back to my friends in Maryland. As to when I'm going back to Uganda, I just don't usually like to talk about it -- but as soon as possible.

The people I have been staying with [in the United States] are also my family and my friends. I said to them, "When I was thrown overboard, you took me in." We have a family in Christ. I think this is very, very important. I've been very much appreciative of this.

What is your view of how the church has dealt with human sexuality in general?

I would say that the church generally has not dealt with human sexuality. People have been afraid of human sexuality as such, so there's a lot of taboo connected with it. There's a verse which really helps me a lot, in the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 16, Verse 12 -- "And our Lord said, 'There are still many, many things I would like to tell you but you cannot bear them now.' The only problem is if you're not willing to listen to what the spirit is saying now. HERE

Retired bishop criticizes anti-gay policies, calls for networking, developing Ugandan LGBT community

Senyonjo: 'God is not only for heterosexuals'

By Pat McCaughan, May 20, 2010

[Episcopal News Service] Retired Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Buganda has a simple, if dangerous message: "God is not only for heterosexuals … [if you are gay] accept yourself, love yourself."

Senyonjo, 78, recently kicked off a six-week speaking tour at St. Paul's Church, Pomona, in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to raise awareness about repressive anti-gay policies in Uganda, where lawmakers recently considered imposing a death penalty on gays.

He also called upon advocacy groups to network to help develop the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and other under-served communities in Uganda and to promote understanding and education.

The married grandfather of 11 has been compared to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King Jr. because of his outspoken gay rights activism. His advocacy was born of listening to the struggles of others, he said recently.

"The church should be on the side of those who suffer, who are persecuted and who have been misunderstood," he told about 75 people gathered at the May 11 forum in Pomona. "To me it is sad. Very often, people go to the Bible and read it the way they want to and say if you don't read the Bible this way you are out, an outcast. I know; because I've been there."

Read it all from ¨Walking With Integrity¨, HERE

Read it all from Episcopal News Service HERE

· Thanks to Grace Cathedral, Interviews
· Thanks to The Diocese of California
· Thanks to Bishop Marc and Sheila Andrus
· Thanks to Facebook, HERE
· Thanks to SDGLN, San Diego
· Thanks to CNN International
· Thanks to Flickr Photo Sharing
· Thanks to Archbishop Desmond Tutu
· Thanks to The Los Angeles Times
· Thanks to Integrity Uganda and U.S.A.
· Thanks to The Right Rev. Christopher Senyonjo
· Thanks to Episcopal News Service
· Thanks to Pat McCaughan
· Thanks to Andrew Goddard
· Thanks to The New York Times
· Thanks to The Archbishop of Canterbury
· Thanks to The Lambeth Conference
· Thanks to The Episcopal Cafe, sidebar
· Thanks to The Diocese of Washington D.C.
· Thanks to The Rt. Reverend John Chane
· Thanks to The Diocese of Los Angeles
· Thanks to The Rt. Reverend Jon Bruno
· Thanks to The Diocese of San Diego
· Thanks to The Rt. Reverend James R. Mathes
· Thanks to Wikipedia
· Thanks to ABC News
· Thanks to Box Turtle Bulletin, sidebar
· Thanks to Gay Uganda, sidebar
· Thanks to The Senate of The State of California

No comments: