Egyptian Archbishop Condemns Anglican Ink Story on Middle East Task Force Appointment
The Very Rev. Sammy Shehata will be next bishop of North Africa, says Dr. Anis.
Primate called the story "wrong", "mischievous" and "deceitful"
By David W. Virtue in Barcelona
December 28, 2016
A story by George Conger, an Episcopal priest, concerning the appointment of the Very Rev. Sammy Shehata to a Task Force proposed by the ACC General Secretary Josiah Idouw-Fearon and the Archbishop of Canterbury is wrong, mischievous and deceitful, Egyptian Archbishop Mouneer Anis told VOL.
In a skype call with VOL, Dr. Anis blasted the article which appeared on Anglican Ink, a personal Anglican blog of Conger, saying that Shehata, a professor at the Alexandria School of Theology, was never going to take the job and had been pegged to take a bishopric in North Africa as part of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt. (The diocese is seeking provincial status).
"I was troubled and disappointed by what was published by Rev George Conger of Anglican Ink because what was written was not accurate in regards to the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Diocese of Egypt in its struggle with the Protestant Church Association who are trying to bring the Anglican Church under its umbrella. Archbishop Justin Welby has been so supportive to me and to our Diocese on this issue. I am so grateful to him for his great support and for writing to our President in this regards to the recognition of our Church in Egypt."
The other misunderstanding was regarding the participation of Dean Sammy Shehata in the Task Force of the Anglican Communion. Dean Sammy is going to be the Area Bishop of North Africa in addition to his responsibilities as the Dean of Alexandria and the Dean of the Alexandria School of Theology. For this reason, he apologized for not being able to participate on this Task Force because of his very busy schedule.
Archbishop Anis had gotten word that ACC Secretary General Josiah Idowu-Fearon had invited Shehata to be part of the Task Force, but when he found out about it he was furious and said, "what kind of task force is this that Sammy would agree to being a part of?"
"The ACC secretary general is taking advantage of us here in Egypt by trying to put one of our people onto a Task force that includes Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Sammy wants no part of this. Fearon is treating this like some sort of a game. It is not and I want an apology from him for trying this on."
Anis blasted Conger's article suggesting that Sammy would even be a part of this Task Force. "Sammy doesn't want any part of this."
Another North African bishop told VOL that neither Anis nor Sammy knew anything about the appointment to the Task Force by Fearon.
Shehata apologized and said he did not think it is possible to bring two conflicting groups together. "I am going to be appointed an area bishop in North Africa," he told VOL through a spokesman.
Dr. Anis said there was no need for the Archbishop of Canterbury to respond to Conger's article, as Conger had requested, because there was no story for him to comment on in the first place.
Anis said the Archbishop of Canterbury is not in a battle against evangelicals as the article implied. "This is not true."
Anis said in his battle with the President of the Protestant Council of Churches of Egypt which is seeking to incorporate the Anglican diocese, that Welby had been "very helpful."
"Conger has tried to put us in a bad position because I appreciate what Welby has done for us. I wonder what Conger's motivations are for saying these things."
"Justin has been helping us quite a lot. He even came here and visited with the President of Egypt, later with the British Ambassador to Egypt and with the Grand Imam," Anis told VOL.
Fearon has made it clear that he wants no part of GAFCON of which the Diocese of Egypt is a member, saying it is not a movement of the Holy Spirit because it is divisive and described it as "despotic."
Conger has, on previous occasions, made inaccurate statements. He said ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan had flown home from Nairobi at a meeting of GAFCON in 2013 with tooth problems, when, in fact, he was treated in Nairobi, infuriating his wife Nara over the false report. He was later taken to task by Archbishop Welby for remarks the ABC allegedly made in the cathedral when he did not. Conger later put out a draft copy of the Nairobi Communique in 2013 which saw the trolls at the Stand Firm blog tear apart before the final draft, (which underwent revisions). Every journalist present had agreed not to release the draft communique.
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