It has been a very busy week for me as we ended the spring term at the Washington Journalism Center. I have been away from my keyboard quite a bit.
Thus, for several days I have been wondering what in the world to say about Ruth Gledhill’s story in The Times about the death of Father Rodney Hunter, a missionary in Central Africa who was a player in the worldwide Anglican war over creedal doctrine, sacraments and, of course, sexuality. The question is whether he is its first casualty — literally.
I really do not know what to say about this and, to my shock, the story has drawn almost total silence.
How does one research cause and effect in this story until it reaches a court, if it does? The plot is quite complicated and there is really no way to untangle it in a few lines. So, read the story. You can also read some background at Gledhill’s Articles of Faith weblog. But here is a starting point:
Relatives of Canon Rodney Hunter, 73, believe that his food was contaminated by supporters of the Rev Nicholas Henderson in a battle between the liberal and conservative wings of the Anglican Church.
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.
Canon Hunter was an outspoken critic of plans to appoint the liberal Mr Henderson as Bishop of Lake Malawi. The Province of Central Africa is at the heart of conservative evangelical opposition to the liberal Anglican outlook in the West on homosexuality.
Who knows what is going on here. Still, it is hard to believe that — outside the blogosphere — it has received no attention. Am I missing something online somewhere else in the mainstream?