Thinking Anglicans

statements from Southern Africa

The bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa have issued a statement.

Statement by the Synod of Bishops, 9 September 2009
The Synod of Bishops meeting in Midrand, Gauteng from 7 – 9 September 2009, has been disturbed by various recent reports in the media to the effect that the world-wide Anglican Communion and the Anglican Church in Southern Africa are on the brink of schism. We want to assure the faithful that these reports are grossly exaggerated and in some cases, misrepresented.

Our Worldwide Anglican Communion has for a number of years been struggling with the issue of human sexuality without, as yet, having reached any significant consensus. There are, indeed, broken and damaged relationships within the Communion, but there is still a deep desire among the bishops throughout the world to maintain the bonds of unity in obedience to the High Priestly prayer of our Lord that “..they may be one as we are one (Jn 17:11).

To this end the Communion is exploring an Anglican Covenant which would express our Common Unity in Christ and the criteria for accountability to each other.

We the Bishops and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa have, on a number of occasions spelt out our common mind at this stage of our journey with the world-wide Communion. We believe that we are called to love others with God’s unconditional, sacrificial love and do not believe sexual orientation a barrier to leadership within the church. However, holding as we do, that Christian marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman, we hold that clergy unable to commit to another in Christian marriage partnership are called to a life of celibacy.

We have also received the resolution of the Diocese of Cape Town requesting us to provide guidelines for the pastoral care of those in committed same sex relationships. Despite the misconceptions created by media reports, Cape Town Diocese is intending to proceed with the blessing of same sex unions, we recognise the request to be pastoral in nature and not in any way in conflict with Resolution 110 of Lambeth Conference 1998. The task of responding to this request has been referred to a team committee which will prepare a preliminary paper building upon the resolutions and statement made thus far by ACSA.

We remain committed to holding together the bonds of unity when we journey together through the difficult questions that confront the world-wide Anglican Communion. Differences of opinion are inevitable, schism is not.

Now to him, who by the power at work within us
is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think to him be glory in the
Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen

The resolution from the Diocese of Cape Town can be found at Resolution of the Diocese of Cape Town on Ministry to Gays and Lesbians in Covenanted Partnerships. (scroll down for the full text).

21
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
21 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
Ford ElmsFather Ron SmithAGPHCharlottepeterpi Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

For Anglican peace makers around the planet, this could serve as part of a model of how to proceed. For those whose hearts are full of Anglican war, theology all weaponized, this example will be not only inadequate, but frankly offensive. The war side will presuppose that listening to queer folks is as foolish and twisted as listening to sinners steeped in sin and evil. The peace side will gently say, Not so – our minds about human nature have changed, and we know that same sex bonding is consistently observed in humans and in many animal species. All contrary… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Well someone has certainly leaned on them! Does the Archbishop of Canterbury keep a version of Malcolm Tucker in the basement of Lambeth Palace, and is he let out whenever any of the member churches threaten to stray from the official line?

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“We the Bishops and the Anglican Church of Southern African have, on a number of occasions spelt out our common mind at this stage of our journey with the world-wide Communion: We believe that we are called to love others with God’s unconditional, sacrificial love and do not believe sexual orientation to be a barrier to leadership within the Church” – Synod of Bishops This particular part of the Statement of the Synod of Bishops on 9 September, 2009, at least states the fact that the Bishops are not against the ordination of LGBT persons. This is a very clear… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

No, Father Ron Smith, it’s no sort of move forward at all. South Africa’s position is that to which all conservatives, including the most fractious and extreme, have always given lip service. Of course, conservatives do not honor this position in practice; in practice anyone who “looks gay” or remains unmarrried incurs their wrath. Such persons are made the subject of rumor and innuendo. People’s backs are turned on them at the Peace. They are (it goes without saying) excluded from ordination, and their gifts are not welcome in any position in the Church. They may, if they choose, sit… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

The SA bishops have in practice voted for promiscuity and hypocrisy in their blithe talk of celibacy. The ethical merit of constructing a faithful and loving relationship with another person is treated with the usual contempt for human dignity.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

If the publicly celibate Jeffrey John could be drummed out by Canterbury itself, in the England of our current day? Surely worse can happen to any celibate queer believer in other churches, other locations? So far the ongoing reality show that is Anglican church life reveals clearly, the point is about punishing queer folks for being Out; most conservative church people could care less about the niceties of appearing to be celibate, despite how they ramp the spin up when faced with having to account for themselves. I’ve been questioning Rowan Williams’ seemingly anti-homophobia/human rights statements for queer folks for… Read more »

john
Guest
john

I agree with Charlotte and ‘Spirit’ that this is disappointing, although it is surely true that it is far more benevolent towards gay people than (e.g.) Tom Wright or Fulcrum generally, not to speak of the despicable. I fear there is a rather widespread drift towards signing on ‘the Covenant’. Like many here, I’m apprehensive about the latter because, although in form (so far) it seems pretty non-threatening, its ‘prescriptions’ can always be ‘pressed’ in a hostile direction. Why give Wright yet another text with which to bully us, etc.? On the other hand … lots of people – not… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I’m trying to visualise a Malcolm Tucker brought out of Lambeth Palace. Presumably the difference between that and number 10 is some sort of veneer of decency while having the same effect of fear and bullying.

Gerry Lynch
Guest

I can be as abrasive as any, but some of Charlotte’s comments about conservatives being against people who ‘look gay’ or are simply unmarried are not accurate. The Rev’d John Stott, for example, for decades the spiritual leader of conservative evangelicalism in the Church of England, is a lifelong bachelor.

I’m quite happy to be critical – brutally critical at times – of “the other side” of the gay debate but I’ll do so based on what they say and do and not what it would fit my stereotypes of them to imagine they say and do.

AGPH
Guest
AGPH

Father Ron Smith & Charlotte,

I appreciate that you may have sadly experienced otherwise but as a conservative in the UK:

I know celibate homosexual men who are in full-time paid Christian ministry and I have a deep respect for them.

I am taken back, deeply saddened and offended by Charlotte’s comments – I would never treat anyone like that. I know many, many conservatives, none of which would behave in this way and if they were to I know that they would, rightly, be called to account for it. I’m sorry if your experience has been different.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“There is nothing in South Africa’s statement that is remotely gay-affirmative.” – Charlotte – I’m afraid, Charlotte, that I have to agee here with Gerry – that the S.A. Bishops statement is far more accepting of LGBT people in the Church than any of the conservative crowd whose attitude is one of dismissal of LGBT people as inherently *sinful* – not by what they might be doing in bed, but simply because of their orientation. Now that is a lot more positive than anything officially promulgated by the LGBT-deniers. What the S.A. Bishops have done is to express their acceptance… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Gerry Lynch, what I said was based entirely on the experiences of friends and family members, as well as my own. It was not stereotyping. It was a frank statement of what actually happens. It’s the reason very many gay people don’t like to walk inside a church. They’ve had too many unpleasant experiences inside those places. That’s, I think, where much of the “great divide” really comes in. If you have not been the target of parish gossip and innuendo, or had your confidences to your rector betrayed, or had backs turned on you at the Peace, well —… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I’m with Charlotte. Those who think this is some great step forward are deluding themselves. The South Africans are willing to ordain gay people — but only if the gay people remain celibate? Only if the gay people are denied the right to legally and ecclesiastically sanctioned love — a right that heterosexuals have? Oh, what liberalism! Oh, what generosity! Oh, what forward thinking! Am I the only one who thinks that it is truly ironic, indeed tragic, for a church that has in the past shown enormous civil-rights leadership to endorse this sort of rank discrimination? Sure, gays and… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

If I follow this logic correctly, are the SA bishops asserting that one man/one woman marriage is NOT “pastoral in nature”? o_O

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Jeremy, I do not consider the statement of the S.A. Bishops to have been a ‘great’ step forward -merely one step in the right direction. On the Continent of Africa, where homophobia has been endemic, suddenly we have a group of Anglican Bishops affiriming that the LGBT community does actually EXIST. Furthermore, they categorically state that there is no reason why they should not be leaders (ordained) within the Church. That is a very positive move forward – way forward of what most provinces of the Anglican Communion – certainly in Africa – have yet proclaimed! Messrs Akinola, Orombi, Sugden,… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

I agree , this statement is going no-where fast.
It would never have been put out on Desmond Tutu’s watch.

They ahve not learned much from the struggles and tragedies of the Apartheit era.

And this in the first african nation to open marriage to all couples; and with equality built into its constitution.

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

I think the SA bishops statement is more of the same half-loaf. They’ll accept us, as long as — God literally forbid! — we won’t enter into intimate relationships. As far as conservatives are concerned, GLBT folks are just the beginning. Next up, women in positions of power. They can’t even bring themselves to be in the same room as the altar at communion and Presiding Bishop Katharine Schori. Now, if she was a deacon, better yet a waitress, serving them wine and cheese afterwards in a subservient position, why that would be fine. These people are all about power,… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Pluralist, I picture the Malcolm Tucker kept in the basement of Lambeth Palace as a sort of con evo, at any rate in his language, which would resemble that of a standard hellfire sermon but personalized so as to bully his interlocutor directly. Little to none of the “f-star-star…” (though “whore” is Biblical enough to be truth spoken in love), but there’d be plenty of PSA-infused, grotesquely descriptive torture threats, spoken rapid-fire at top volume, something like that. Actually familiar enough, don’t you think?

AGPH
Guest
AGPH

Dear Charlotte,

Thank you for your edify and uplifting comment. Until now I have enjoyed learning from and engaging with my brothers and sister in Christ at thinkinganglicans.

I think this will be the last time I look here.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Organised by Fr Gavin Mitchell, Fr Nigel Juckes and supported by key role players like Canon Dr. Chris Sugden, Canon Dr. Vinay Samuel, the conference was graced by Anglican ministers from around SA and most notably by Rt. Rev. Bethlehem Nopece and retired Archbishop of Kenya, Rev. Benjamin Nzimbi. (Both of whom supported the formation of the FCA). “Interestingly, the Church of England in South Africa (CESA) and the Traditional Anglican Communion, have joined the fellowship.” For information about the FCA and the goings on in the Anglican Church, see http://www.fcasa.wordpress.com and view http://www.anglican-mainstream.net ? – Virtue-on-line website: – ‘ACSA… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“”whore” is Biblical enough to be truth spoken in love”

LOL, Charlotte! I love the tone of this, and the clarity of its perception!