Turn up for the books (1)

Rt Revd James Tengatenga

On Friday May 8, 2009 the Anglican Consultative Council broke into enthusiastic applause with the announcement that the Rt Revd James Tengatenga was elected as the new chair of the Anglican Consultative Council.

The official announcement and biography here.

There is a suggestion - highly credible - that the 'schismatic camp' don't like him. Not surprising as he is on the International Board of the MCU's journal Modern Believing.

(To be honest, I don't know what the Board does in practice. If it's active, it's not evident. But as a symbolic association the schismatics will be mightily displeased.)

Nor should anyone expect him to be a western liberal (see here and here). Perhaps what his election represents is less about the split in TEC and more about the africanisation of the Anglican Communion - and an African who can straddle both the old (English & US dominated) communion and the new is ideally placed for such a post.

I offer him my congratulations. I hope the next few years are more placid than the last


  1. Tenagtenga is a mixed bag - by his own written admission he has a hang up about 'not being white', - he was after all brought up in apartheid Zimbabwe - he tends to be an authoritarian and has a higher view of the episcopacy than Anglicanism can really bear.

    On the other hand, he is highly western-style educated, has many links with the Church of England and the American Episcopal Church (both of these definitely with the non-schismatics) and is a strong Lambeth man.

    It was the Virtue online website that described him as 'orthodox' but 'manipulatable by the liberals'. Virtue's nervous about him.

    The Three Legged Stool (a reference to Anglican Church Father Richard Hooker) site that you quote is wrong in saying that he (Tengatenga) is with the schismatics, which he is definitely not. Central Africa's schismatic links were with former Archbishop Bernard Malango who was never quite able to deliver the Province into the conservatives' hands.

    In short Tengatenga is a man Rowan Williams can trust not to do anything too silly - at least not in the wider Anglican Communion.

    As for the MCU, it was membership of this that was cited as the reason for declaring the Rev'd (now Dr, I think) Nicholas Henderson of 'unsound faith' after he was elected Bishop of Lake Malawi - a decision that the people there have never accepted to this day. However, my sources tell me that Tengatenga is one of those Africans who over the years used to visit Henderson's parishes in England. He is indeed also a long-time 'international editor' of the MCU journal 'Modern Believing' and although that doesn't mean much by way of editing it speaks volumes of whose side Tengatenga is batting for.

    In addition Bishop Trevor Mwamba of Botswana also spoke at last year's MCU Annual Conference pre-Lambeth - and the newly elected Bishop of Harare, Chad Gandiya is said to have long -standing contacts with Henderson of Lake Malawi.

    If I were David Virtue, I'd get the 'poison' pen out quickly against Tengatenga, and the others for that matter - they are orthodox Jim but not as GAFCON/ACNA knows it!

  2. Despite the applause Bishop Tengatenga was not elected on the first ballot and apparently got it by a bare majority.

    I share Penwatch's view that he is not a schismatic but I wonder as well if his heart is in the Covenant?

  3. Anonymous9/5/09

    The Anglican Consultative Council is one of the instruments of the Anglican Communion. Who gets to chair it is important. It looks like it could have been much worse. If James Tengatenga is associated with the Modern Church Peoples' Union that is good news. Despite attempts to portray it as an extreme body by the schismatics, it is one of Anglicanism's oldest and most respected Theological Societies.