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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 15:16 GMT
Malawi rejects 'pro-gay' bishop
The Reverend Nicholas Henderson (Copyright: The Diocese of London www.london.anglican.org)
Reverend Nicholas Henderson is said to be in a state of shock
African Anglican bishops have blocked the appointment of a "pro-gay" bishop in Malawi.

Liberal British vicar, Rev Nicholas Henderson, was rejected for his support for gay rights, the Anglican Church of Central Africa said in a statement.

He was bishop-elect of the Lake Malawi diocese, but his association with the theologically liberal Modern Church People's Union made him "unsuitable".

The Anglican Church in Africa takes a conservative view of homosexuality.

'Split'

Rev Henderson was elected by the local diocese in July to serve as bishop for the Lake Malawi region, but conservative members challenged the move.

He has actively demonstrated that he was not of sound faith
Archbishop Bernard Malango

The bishops from Malawi, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe met this week to consider these reservations.

"He has actively demonstrated that he was not of sound faith - that's what the Court of Confirmation decided," Archbishop Bernard Malango, who leads the Anglican church in central Africa, told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

Despite working with the Lake Malawi diocese for the last 18 years, the bishops felt Rev Henderson's involvement with the MCU proved a problem, he said.

He went on to explain that African culture does not approve of same-sex relationships.

"I already informed him about his rejection yesterday and he is in a state of shock," Archbishop Malango told Reuters.

African Anglican Church leaders have been vocal opponents of moves by other Anglican groups to extend broader recognition of homosexual rights.

The US ordination in 2003 of the first openly gay Anglican bishop, Gene Robinson, threatened to split the worldwide church.




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