Thinking Anglicans

InclusiveChurch open letter to archbishop

InclusiveChurch calls on the Archbishop of Canterbury to support lesbian and gay Anglicans in Nigeria and Uganda

Press Release

InclusiveChurch and its Partner Organisations have called on the Archbishop of Canterbury to support lesbian and gay Christians in Nigeria and Uganda and asked him to encourage the Anglican Churches in Nigeria and Uganda to desist from denigrating them and denying their existence as committed and active Anglicans.

InclusiveChurch welcomes the establishment of Changing Attitude Nigeria and Integrity Uganda as legitimate voices of gay and lesbian Africans within our Anglican Communion. InclusiveChurch believes that the dire situation of lesbian and gay Anglicans in these countries is exacerbated by the actions of our own church.

In their joint letter to the Archbishop, the Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser, President of InclusiveChurch and the Rev. Giles Goddard, Chair say, ‘We are deeply concerned that in Nigeria in particular the Anglican Church appears to be encouraging the State to engage in active persecution of gay people and those who speak for them.’

Successive Lambeth Conferences have called on the Anglican Communion to engage in dialogue with gay Christians and to listen to their experiences. Integrity Uganda and Changing Attitude Nigeria provide ways of responding to this call. InclusiveChurch believes that all Anglicans should welcome the establishment of these groups and seek to assist them in their difficult and dangerous situations. To deny them a legitimate place in the life of the church is reject the call of the Lambeth Conference resolutions.

InclusiveChurch believes that the full inclusion, without conditions, of women, lesbian and gay people, people from all ethnic backgrounds and people with disabilities at all levels of the church is essential as a sign of the universal love of God.

InclusiveChurch is a campaigning organisation which is committed to celebrating and maintaining the Anglican tradition of inclusion and diversity. More information at www.inclusivechurch.net.

For further information contact The Rev. Giles Goddard at giles@inclusivechurch.net 07762 373 674

The full text of the open letter appears below the fold.

Text of Open Letter

The Archbishop of Canterbury,
Lambeth Palace
London SE1

21st February 2006

Dear Archbishop,

Inclusive Church and its Partner Organisations welcome the establishment of Changing Attitude Nigeria and Integrity Uganda as legitimate voices of gay and lesbian Africans within our Anglican Communion. We are deeply concerned at the hostility and aggression that those who belong to, and those who support these organisations, have met from their respective Anglican Churches and ask that they be affirmed as members of the Anglican family with the right to be heard and respected.

Successive Lambeth Conferences have called on the Anglican Communion to engage in dialogue with gay Christians and to listen to their experiences. Integrity Uganda and Changing Attitude Nigeria provide ways of responding to this call. We believe that all Anglicans should welcome the establishment of these groups and seek to assist them in their difficult and dangerous situations. To deny them a legitimate place in the life of the church is reject the call of the Lambeth Conference resolutions.

We are deeply concerned that in Nigeria in particular the Anglican Church appears to be encouraging the State to engage in active persecution of gay people and those who speak for them. We hope that you will encourage all Anglicans to support these vulnerable Christians and to encourage the Churches in Nigeria and Uganda in particular to recognise the members and supporters of these groups as part of our Anglican family, and to desist from denigrating them even denying their existence as committed and active Anglicans.

We recognise how very difficult it is to raise this concern in the current climate of conflict within the Anglican Communion but the dire situation of these Anglicans can not wait for the Anglican Communion to resolve its internal difficulties, the physical dangers that they face are, we believe, being exacerbated by the actions of our own church. We earnestly hope that you will be able to recognise their situation and encourage all concerned to cease the campaign against them and recognise the Christian duty to protect, not persecute, these vulnerable Christians.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser, President
Rev. Giles Goddard, Chair

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Kurt
Kurt
15 years ago

Right on! It’s about time someone stood up to Archbishop Williams on this issue!

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
15 years ago

It’s a nice try, but the Lambeth Resolution calls for dialogue, not for giving official recognition to campaigning organisations, either InclusiveChurch or Reform.

John Henry
John Henry
15 years ago

Will it do any good, standing up to ++Rowan Cantuar enthralled as he is by the bully homophobe of ++Abuja?

J. C. Fisher
15 years ago

Maybe the Gileses can point ++Rowan Cantuar the way to his missing cojones (and conscience)?

Merseymike
Merseymike
15 years ago

And who exactly will that dialogue be with if not the organisations allowing those currently oppressed within the church a voice?

Neil
Neil
15 years ago

Nice try? Glad you approve, if you do. The letter, whilst coming from and supporting a campaigning organisation with a clear agenda, nevertheless is moderate, humane, balanced, and totally Godly in its instincts. What practical assistance and good news would you advocate for gay people in Nigeria?

Tunde
Tunde
15 years ago

Yawn! Another opportunity to keep the agenda of destroying the Church open. Cannot and will not succeed.

Sean Doherty
15 years ago

As an evangelical, I think this letter is to be applauded, and it’s about time we had a similar missive from Anglican Mainstream and similar groups, whose much-vaunted claims to be against homophobia and persecution as much as they are against homosexual activity look pretty thin when they keep silent at times like this.

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
15 years ago

Neil, The practical assistance and good news is all to be found in the scriptures. The problems begin when sexual expression is no longer confined within the marriage of man and wife. Both Uganda and Nigeria have immense problems with sexually-transmitted disease, which simply would not occur if biblical standards were followed by straight and gay people alike. Indeed in Uganda the best results in the campaign against AIDS have been achieved by promoting chastity. I see nothing humane or godly about organisations which promote sexual expression outside Christian marriage: quite the opposite, since such behaviour results in a greatly… Read more »

Cynthia
Cynthia
15 years ago

Excuse me, but Uganda’s anti-HIV efforts have been the ABC method: Abstinence, Being Faithful, and Condoms.

Archbishop Akinola’s comments on the hateful anti-gay legislation are as irresponsible as his thinly veiled invitation to anti-Muslim violence. So far the ABC has said nothing of consequence about either.

The spinectomy seems to have been a complete success.

Alan Marsh
Alan Marsh
15 years ago

Abstinence and being Faithful are a substantial component of Uganda’s achievement. There would be no STD if everyone practised Christian chastity.

And how many people here ACTUALLY know what Lambeth has said about this issue? It is not safe to assume that because you have not read it in the press, nothing has been said.

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonardo Ricardo
15 years ago

“Yawn! Another opportunity to keep the agenda of destroying the Church open. Cannot and will not succeed.” Tunde

It’s difficult to believe that Tunde is a spokesperson and/or *voice* for anyone/anything honorable with his snitty and childish (scary/
make-believe?) comment.

J. C. Fisher
15 years ago

“Yawn! Another opportunity to keep the agenda of destroying the Church open. Cannot and will not succeed.”

God have mercy upon you, Tunde. 🙁

Martin Reynolds
15 years ago

I would agree with Alan that being gay in Nigeria/Uganda and in many parts of the world can result in your life being dramatically and brutally shortened. This is a useful letter but it’s worth pointing out that we already know that its recipient was challenged on the proposed Nigerian legislation (which I find as clear as mud) when in Brazil and promptly sat on the fence. Anyway, it now appears that Peter Akinola has said nothing about it, only his mouthpiece it seems has shown his approval and his master may yet take a different tack. We will wait… Read more »

Dave
Dave
15 years ago

Dear Martin As I keep repeating (and most conservatives do too) I find violence intimidation and oppression repulsive – whether it is examples of anti-gay violence or your threatened anti-conservative violence ! Who in the west is doing real violence to “gay people” ? Don’t you really just mean “moral and legal disapproval” ? Certainly no conservative Christians I know of approves of any form of violence, intimidation or oppression. Yet you approve of, and threaten, violence.. If you could influence gay folk to behave better sexually you could have a real effect on the health and well-being of gay… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
15 years ago

Dear Dave, I hardly know where to start. There are some 80 countries where the punishment for homosexuality includes: death, torture (flogging – castration), life imprisonment etc. Even in countries where there are no laws such as Brazil, in the Province of Bahia there were some 200 recorded murders of LGBT folk in the five years up to 2003 by “moral” disapprovers. As one Primate told mine in a matter of fact way recently: “We don’t have any of those people, if one appears they are stoned.” The first Gay Pride March held in Riga, Latvia last year saw the… Read more »

Dave
Dave
15 years ago

Dear Martin, How horrendous! I guess that many of the 80 countries that punish homosexuality are the same ones where religious conversion is either punished legally, or by the family, sometimes with death. I think I heard that the estimated figure is about 10,000 Christians killed or attacked or imprisoned each year just for having converted or trying to convert someone, or even just for being a Christian in the wrong place at the wrong time… as well as many churches burned (the main thing that sometimes hits the news) properties siezed, imprisonment for being a Christian etc etc. I’m… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
15 years ago

Dave, I do not think these personal conversations are necessarily what this blog is about, but as you repeatedly raise the issues above I hope that Simon and other readers of TA will forgive the continuation of this dialogue. Yes the persecution and murder of LGBT people is indeed horrendous, intolerance and the persecution that emanate from it are matters for our prayer and considered action. Sadly, as we can see in the liberal democracy of Brazil and elsewhere a large number of people find it difficult to differentiate between moral disapproval and intolerance with deadly consequences. In my own… Read more »

Dave
Dave
15 years ago

Dear Martyn I hope that Inclusive Church will also acknowledge that we can be “tolerant” without having to “approve” of same-sex sexuality; this would make it’s criticism of the Nigerian Province more palatable. Too often all I read is hyperbole equating morality with violence – reminiscent of the “property is theft” polemic, rather than generous and rational debate! After all homosexual sex was illegal in Britain 50 years ago (and CPs therefore too) – and if actual attacks are increasing nowadays, despite the legal approval of homosexuality and the dwindling influence of traditional Judeo-Christian morality, this indicates that there are… Read more »

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