Anglican Communion row flares over same-sex marriage

Anglican Communion

A meeting of leaders of the Anglican Communion say they will refuse Holy Communion from bishops with gay partners and from those who support same-sex marriage.

Friday’s announcement at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England came from the Global South orthodox bishops as they pressed for re-affirmation of traditional teaching on marriage.

The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) claims to represent 75 percent of the Anglican Communion.

They declared their position a day after 100 people, including twelve bishops, joined a walk at the Conference’s campus venue. The walk aimed to show solidarity with LGBTQ people.

Even before the conference began, documents referring to gay relationships were already causing tempers to flare.

The GSFA says it will table its own resolution at the conference. It will reaffirm Lambeth Resolution 1.10 as the Church’s official teaching on marriage and sexuality.

That resolution was formally passed at the Lambeth Conference in 1998. It describes marriage as a life-long commitment between a man and a woman. Same-sex unions are therefore outlawed, the GSFA says.

The 2022 Lambeth Conference organisers have got it wrong, the GSFA adds.

They have failed to recognise the resolution “is not just about sex and marriage”.

Rather, it’s “fundamentally about the authority of the Bible which Anglicans believe to be central to faith and order”.

GSFA chair Archbishop Justin Badi says the GSFA also wants the sanctions imposed on provinces that ordain bishops in same-sex relationships. Provinces allowing same-sex marriages should also be sanctioned.

The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is among them, he says.

Badi says the Communion has been “for far too long driven by the views of the West”. It has ignored voices from the Global South.

“Today, in Canterbury, we may be ‘gathered together’ but we most certainly cannot ‘walk together’”.

For that to happen, provinces which have gone against scripture — and the will of the consensus of the bishops — must “repent and return to orthodoxy,” he says.

The row over same-sex marriage erupted on the eve of the conference.

The draft conference documents said “It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that same-gender marriage is not permissible.”

Protests from supporters of same-sex marriage followed.

The documents were then amended to note differences among Anglican provinces.

The statement now notes while many provinces ban same-gender marriages, others have a different view.

Besides the 650 bishops from around the globe attending the conference in person, hundreds of others have boycotted it.

They are protesting the support from some parts of the Communion for same-sex marriage.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says the conference is not a synod or a legislative body.

Rather, it is a place where bishops could come together.

While Resolution 1.10 is “still very much part of the Anglican Communion, there’s deep division,” he says.

“It will need to be decided in each province and diocese.”

The Conference – the first to be held in 14 years – will continue after it ends on Friday, when bishops return to their provinces.


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