African archbishops reject Church of England over same-sex unions

Anglican archbishops same-sex

Anglican archbishops in Africa are challenging the decision by the Church of England to allow clergy to bless same-sex couples’ marriages, a move that may lead to a split in the church.

The Church of England’s General Synod voted on February 9 to permit the offering of prayers and liturgies at civil marriages.

This compromise measure included the church’s desire to “lament and repent” its failure “to welcome LGBTQI+ people and for the harm that LGBTQI+ people have experienced — and continue to experience — in churches”.

The church has not changed its doctrine that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman, but the archbishops of Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria are rejecting the decision to bless the unions as contrary to the teaching of the Bible.

The Church of England joined several other member churches in recognising all civil marriages, including the Episcopal Church of America, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Episcopal Church of Brazil.

The archbishops of Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria posted responses on their diocesan websites to the Church of England’s decision.

Archbishop Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu of Uganda said, “The Church of England is very good at making contradictory statements and expecting everyone to believe both can be true at the same time. That’s what they have done with this decision”.

Kaziimba stated that despite the English church’s insistence that it was not changing its doctrine on marriage, it is doing exactly that. The only significant difference is the terminology of a wedding versus a service of blessing.

Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, the primate of the Church of Kenya, attributed the move to “the unfortunate rise of devious liberal churchmanship within the Anglican Communion”.

He said, “We make a humble request to these churches: Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead”.

Anglican Church on threshold of reformation

According to Archbishop Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba of Nigeria in a statement on Sunday, “The Anglican Church is at the threshold of yet another reformation, which must sweep out the ungodly leadership currently endorsing sin, misleading the lives of faithful Anglicans worldwide”.

The news from England pleased LGBTQ activists in Africa, including some who are Anglican clerics.

The Rt Rev. Christopher Senyonjo, a former bishop in the Anglican Church of Uganda and a founder of Integrity Uganda, said the Church of England had allowed the blessing of partnerships, not marriages.

“It is expected that when two people come together in a love relationship, they are going to have children, but as time goes on, it is realised that two people can be in love when they are not going to have children,” said Senyonjo.

“We should not just condemn the action (by the Church of England) without a very careful consideration of what love relationship is.”

The Rev. Michael Nzuki Kimindu, a former Anglican priest now president of Other Sheep Africa, a Christian organisation that advocates for LGBTQ rights in Christianity and Islam, criticised the African hierarchy’s attempt to paint the Church of England’s action as a Western anomaly.

“Homosexuality is not a Western issue,” Kimindu told RNS.

“It is a human condition found in every culture, geographical area and religion. It’s just fair that people should understand that it is not going anywhere no matter how much we bury our heads in the sand.”


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