The Cost of Conservatism

The conservative/liberal split in the Anglican church has become deadly.

A British missionary was fatally poisoned after helping to prevent a London vicar from becoming a bishop in Central Africa, The Times has learnt.

It appears that Canon Rodney Hunter was a little too conservative in his views. He had been in Malawi for many years and really considered himself Malawian rather than English. He was a mentor to the Archbishop of the very conservative Province of Central Africa and had taught him in seminary.

He opposed the election of the liberal Rev Nicholas Henderson as Bishop of Lake Malawi, because in contrast to Canon Hunter,

Mr Henderson, Vicar of St Martin’s Acton West and All Saints’ Ealing Common, was elected as Bishop of Lake Malawi last August. He had known the region for 18 years, raising funds for religious, social and humanitarian projects, and was learning the local language, Chichewe. At the time, few in Malawi knew of his record as a leading liberal theologian and that he had been chairman of the Modern Churchpeople’s Union. There was also concern in Africa at reports that he had a male lodger.

As a result, the Primate of Central Africa, the Most Rev Bernard Malango, wrote to Mr Henderson asking him to confirm that he subscribed to the Creeds, the Bible and the Thirty-Nine Articles and that he “fashions his own like and his household according to the doctrine of Christ”.

The diocese’s Court of Confirmation blocked Mr Henderson’s consecration, deeming him “a man of unsound faith”, and instead appointed the retired Bishop of Zambia, the Right Rev Leonard Mwenda.

The Province of Central Africa may be strongly conservative, but that isn’t to say Rev Henderson didn’t have his supporters. Vociferous supporters.

Even though he was living in retirement, appointed assistant priest at All Saints’ Cathedral, he had been physically attacked in the pulpit. Then,

In November Canon Hunter was found dead at his home in Nkhotakota, Malawi, with a strange black substance around his mouth. The day before his death he had complained of severe stomach pains, and postmortem examination has now shown that he was killed by three poisons.

Malawi police have charged his cook with murder and are investigating rumours that the poisoning was organised by supporters of Mr Henderson, who had no knowledge of the alleged plot.

Given the previous violence against him because of his views, I hope the rumours will lead to a trail of evidence.

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2 Responses to The Cost of Conservatism

  1. Steve says:

    Gives a new meaning to the term “African Renaissance”

  2. Grumpy Teacher says:

    That is horrible. I wonder why it wasn’t a story in the United States.

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