Conservative Anglican leaders denounce Archbishop of Canterbury

Anglican Church

Leaders of the conservative wing of the Anglican Church have declared that they no longer recognise England’s Archbishop of Canterbury as first among equals.

They are calling for a complete overhaul of how the global denomination is led.

The primary cause of the rift among Anglican leaders is their differing opinions on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Many conservative Anglicans, mostly from Africa and other parts of the global South, believe that Archbishop Justin Welby (pictured) should relinquish his leadership role.

His ‘opponents’ are unhappy with his support for the Church of England’s decision in February to allow the blessings of same-sex relationships.

“This renders his leadership role in the Anglican Communion entirely indefensible,” said the statement by the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon), which met recently in Rwanda.

Gafcon’s statement is supported by the leaders of national churches representing most of the world’s estimated 100 million Anglicans.

The group is calling for an end to a tradition of more than a century and a half of spiritual leadership by the senior bishop of the Church of England.

Gafcon’s statement calls for an urgent reset of the Communion, but offers no specifics about what would replace the current structures or how that would be decided.

Anglican Church de facto split

“They have placed themselves outside the Anglican Communion, which is defined by the place and presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, even though they don’t seem to acknowledge that fact.

“It is surely time for the de facto split to be acknowledged by both those who remain in the historic Communion and those who have now founded their own,” said the Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain, a prominent campaigner for LGBT rights in the Church of England.

“I hope that the pressure from Gafcon doesn’t lead to the English bishops backsliding” on same-sex blessings, added Mr Foreshew-Cain.

“I am not confident that our bishops have the moral courage not to throw gay people under the Gafcon bus.”

The conflict between traditional and liberal Christians regarding homosexuality is not limited to the Anglican Church but is also evident in other Christian denominations.

This issue has been exacerbated by the growing influence of church leaders in the global South, particularly Africa, where Christianity is expanding while declining in the West.

Last year, conservative members of the United Methodist Church split off to form the Global Methodist Church, with traditional positions on same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBT clergy.

In contrast, last month, German Catholic bishops voted to approve formal blessings for same-sex couples, defying a prohibition from the Vatican.


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