Thinking Anglicans

Global South and GAFCON express views on same-sex unions

A lengthy communiqué been published from the 6th Global South Conference:

Communiqué from the 6th Global South Conference, Cairo 2016

which includes this statement:

We received with thanks the joint statement by the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council on same-sex union/marriage (6th October 2016) that was presented to the Conference.

Statement from the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council Concerning Same-sex Unions

The full text of the latter is copied below the fold.

The former document includes this:

30. We are deeply saddened that the Provinces of Scotland, Canada and Wales have recently made moves to change their Canon, teaching and practice in relation to same-sex union. These have been done against the Primates Gathering Communiqué of 16th January 2016 (Addendum A, paragraph 2).

31. The Church of England (COE) has a unique role in the life of the Communion, which means that decisions it makes on fundamental matters impact the Communion more deeply than those made elsewhere. This is because both of its historical role and the particular role of Archbishop of Canterbury as first among equal amongst the Primates. We are deeply concerned that there appears to be a potential move towards the acceptance of blessing of same-sex union by COE. This would have serious implications for us should it occur.

32. The present and potentially escalating crisis poses challenges to the Global South in the shepherding of her people. We recognise the need for our enhanced ecclesial responsibility. We need to strengthen our doctrinal teaching, our ecclesiastical ordering of our collective life as a global fellowship and the flourishing of our gifts in the one another-ness of our mission.

33. The Global South Primates will therefore form a task force to recommend how these needs can be effectively addressed.

According to this report, several Church of England bishops were present at this meeting.

Statement from the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council Concerning Same-sex Unions

6th October 2016

1. We acknowledge that God is the Creator of the whole cosmos and of humankind. Male and female, God created them in his own image and likeness to know him, worship him and share in his glory and love.

2. We affirm the dignity and value of every human being, as each bears the image of our gracious God. We recognise that humankind’s rebellion against God has tainted that image, but not eradicated it. Yet every person is precious to God.

3. God’s message of hope is therefore addressed to every man, woman and child around the globe, that they might be redeemed, restored as image bearers of God through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and inherit eternal life.

4. As we proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to a broken and wounded world, we acknowledge our own failures and weaknesses in the light of God’s word, the Bible. As God’s love was declared to us, before we loved God, so we declare God’s love to those who neither know him nor love him. Yet our love for God is both to believe and obey, and so our message is to call people to repentance and love for God, that they might be forgiven and live their lives in accordance with God’s pattern for humankind as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

5. We recognise that the brokenness of our world produces many aspects of human behaviour which are contrary to God’s good design. These include slander, greed, malice, hatred, jealousy, dishonesty, selfishness, envy and murder, as well as fornication, adultery and same-sex unions. In addressing the issue of same-sex relationships, we are not minimizing the sinfulness of other forms of behaviour that are contrary to God’s character and pattern for humankind. Rather, we are addressing an issue that continues to be contentious in both the Church and society and that strikes at the very heart of biblical authority.

6. We affirm that the clear teaching of Jesus, and the Bible as a whole, is that marriage is an estate for all people, not just for believers. It is a holy institution, created by God for a man and a woman to live in a covenantal relationship of exclusive and mutual love for each other until they are parted by death. God designed marriage for the well-being of society, for sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, and for procreation and the nurturing of children (Genesis 2:18-25).

7. We contend that sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex is contrary to God’s design, is offensive to him and reflects a disordering of God’s purposes for complementarity in sexual relations. Like all other morally wrong behaviour, same-sex unions alienate us from God and are liable to incur God’s judgment. We hold these convictions based on the clear teaching of Scripture. We hold them not in order to demean or victimise those who experience same-sex attractions, but in order to guard the sound doctrine of our faith, which also informs our pastoral approach for helping those who struggle with same-sex impulses, attractions and temptations.

8. In this respect, the Church cannot condone same-sex unions as a form of behaviour acceptable to God. To do so would be tampering with the foundation of our faith once for all laid down by the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2: 20-22; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11; Jude 3).

9. Any pastoral provision by a church for a same-sex couple (such as a liturgy or a service to bless their sexual union) that obviates the need for repentance and a commitment to pursue a change of conduct enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit, would contravene the orthodox and historic teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality. Such pastoral provisions, while superficially attractive in giving a more humane and socially acceptable face to the church, actually hide the contravention of doctrine involved. We must be faithful in guarding the good deposit of the gospel, in all its gracious gifts with all its covenantal obligations as well, not for the mere sake of orthodoxy but out of genuine love for God and our fellow human beings.

10. Our faithfulness to God and knowledge of his love empowers us to offer sensitive and compassionate ministry to those who are sexually broken in the area of same-sex attractions and unions. Our pastoral approach is to accept people for who they are, just as God accepted us for who we were. We oppose the vilification or demeaning of those who do not follow God’s ways. We affirm that every person is loved by God, so we too must love as God loves. Our role is to restore them to God’s divine patterns by inviting them to receive the transforming love of Christ that gives them the power to repent and walk in newness of life. We rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to reveal to them the measureless goodness of God and the greatness of God in setting the captive free as a new creation.

11. We recognise that discipleship involves growth and while we long for all new believers to come to maturity in Christ, we know that this is a process. For those who are same-sex attracted, the path of discipleship and living in conformity with God’s Word can be difficult. We commit ourselves afresh to care pastorally for them as members of Christ’s body, building them up in the Word and in the Spirit, and encouraging them to walk by faith in the paths of repentance and obedience that lead to fullness of life (John 10: 9-10).

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Kate
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Kate

May I highlight this section…

” Bishop Julian is also part of a Bishops’ working group on Human Sexuality to bring proposals to the House of Bishops so that we are not scuppered by people bringing antagonistic things to General Synod. We are determined that this issue shall be episcopally led.

Bishop Tim Dakin added that the bishops were present with the full knowledge of the Archbishop of Canterbury and also that not everyone has bowed the knee in the Church of England. “Many of us intend to remain faithful.”

Iain Baxter
Guest
Iain Baxter

“Bishop Tim Dakin added that the bishops were present with the full knowledge of the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

“Full knowledge” seems to equate with approval, but actually means he knew they were there. What is the alternative? That he “partially knew” they were there?

In certain provinces, bishops would be sacked by their Archbishop for attending a disapproved gathering, as was demonstrated during the last Lambath Conference. The CofE is not like that – yet!

Malcolm
Guest
Malcolm

Presumably the Bishop of Durham and some other bishops regard debate in General Synod as “antagonistic” if it does not go along with a hard “non-pastoral line”. Where is the evangelism??
Non-episcopal members of GS will need to be alert to the agenda for February.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“…bishops would be sacked by their Archbishop for attending a disapproved gathering.”

Why the idea that this meeting was “disapproved”? Pope Francis sent greetings to the gathered at just the time he and +Welby were meeting. The General Secretary of the AC is a member of the GS.

S Cooper
Guest
S Cooper

As long as you want approval from Roman Catholic bishops and African Anglican bishops, don’t complain about endless delay. Why not have a liberal communion – globally operating in this internet age??

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

In their theology, same sex unions (and marriages like my own) are right up there with “slander, greed, malice, hatred, jealousy, dishonesty, selfishness, envy and murder, as well as fornication, adultery…”

They shouldn’t expect us to take them seriously.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

The comments of the bishop of Durham and bishop of Winchester as reported by Chris Sugden at Anglican Mainstream, if correct, are extremely insensitive in the light of the shared conversations that took place at General Synod. Their remarks also seem to break ranks with the House/College of Bishops statements issued after their September meeting. The whole point of the shared conversation process was to try and change the tone of debate from the kind of shrill comments that Paul Butler and Tim Dakin are reported to have made here. Chris Sugden’s report may, of course, just come in to… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

From this report, it seems that Bishop Butler needs to explain his derogatory remarks about the Church of England’s openness to LGBTI people being contrary to his understanding of biblical orthodoxy. He says that he and other evangelical bishops were in Cairo with the knowledge of the ABC. If this is so, then there needs to be an explanation of his disloyal remarks about the Church that has enabled his being privy to a seat in the House of Lords. I hope someone in that House will ask +Dunelm to explain his remarks of disparagement about the Church that pays… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“..with the knowledge of the ABC.”

Well of course!

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

It’s extremely worrying that, by their presence at the meeting and words uttered, two of the five most senior C of E bishops should appear to endorse a communique which equates same-sex unions with murder.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“The comments of the bishop of Durham and bishop of Winchester as reported by Chris Sugden at Anglican Mainstream, if correct, are extremely insensitive in the light of the shared conversations that took place at General Synod. Their remarks also seem to break ranks with the House/College of Bishops statements issued after their September meeting.”

I can’t find it on Anglican Mainstream. Do you have a link please?

Fr John E. Harris-white
Guest
Fr John E. Harris-white

By their fruits you shall know them. By their words and actions they show themselves to be in bedded in the ages past, with not one iota of Christian love in their life and actions. How they must love being C of E Bishops, one even sitting in the House of Lords. Status, and power, with no regard to the thoughts and thinking of the ordinary parish priest, and layperson living out their Christian faith in the real world. Control freaks comes to mind to describe them. How different to the Gospel message of love for all. Save and deliver… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

The stony silence you can hear is Justin Welby”s refusal to (a) distance himself from this sort of vile hatred and (b) criticise bishops that are party to it. That’s because, Cynthia, given the choice between his gaudily glad friends that want to kill you and your loving relationship, he knows precisely which side he’s on.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“It’s extremely worrying that, by their presence at the meeting and words uttered, two of the five most senior C of E bishops should appear to endorse a communique which equates same-sex unions with murder.”

Amen, Andrew.

Let’s not forget who really gets victimized in the name of religion.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Kate: the link is here

http://anglicanmainstream.org/greetings-from-england-led-by-the-bishop-of-durham-and-australia/

Interestingly David Virtues’s account reports the same words being said, but by a different Bishop.

If this is all accurate, I’d actually be surprised.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Thank you Andrew.

Brian Ralph
Guest
Brian Ralph

I would not have gone to the Mainstream site except for the link by Andrew Godsall. I note they said Bishop of Durham not England so why Bishop of Australia. The last bishop of Australia was in 1847. Glenn Davies is not even Primate of Australia. An Archbishop of Sydney has not been Primate since 1982 and thankfully unlikely to be chosen in the foreseeable future. I doubt many of the bishops outside of Sydney would be overjoyed at his expressing greetings from Australia. It is the usual lies and obfuscations that issue from the Diocese of Sydney, that bastion… Read more »

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

Interesting that, while this was going on, the Vatican was acting out an exercise with the Anglican household that sends a dramatically different message to the world than that of GAFCON.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

These people are “deplorables,” and the ABC wants to court them.

TEC needs DESPERATELY to leave this pitiful “communion” of homophobes and anti-intellectuals.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“slander, greed, malice, hatred, jealousy, dishonesty, selfishness, envy and murder, as well as fornication, adultery and same-sex unions”

Including the last w/ the former is “a different gospel” (nuthin’ but bad news). GAFCON is welcome to it, but Thinking (Loving) Anglicans will stick to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, thankyouverymuch.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Mr Berry. If you are referring to the unanimous Global South statement, the conference in Cairo was warmly greeted by the Vatican spokesman. Do you believe that the Pope or +Welby would distance themselves from it?

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

Whilst we agonise over the presence of CofE bishops at the Gafcon conference, and carefully parse their statements, surely this is the statement we should be paying attention to: ” 31. The Church of England (COE) has a unique role in the life of the Communion, which means that decisions it makes on fundamental matters impact the Communion more deeply than those made elsewhere. This is because both of its historical role and the particular role of Archbishop of Canterbury as first among equal amongst the Primates. We are deeply concerned that there appears to be a potential move towards… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“The Gafcon bishops will have achieved a veto on the decisions of Synod and the CofE about its own internal polity” —

The statement was composed by the Global South Bishops. Gafcon is a sub-set of that much larger group.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Indeed, Simon. And this is just the very threat that the ABC will probably bow to – thus proving to the G.S. Primates that they have won what they would take to be a ‘moral victory’ over the Mother Church. Which seems to have been Gafcon’s objective all along. They should have been challenged much earlier. I suspect Mr. Seitz will now have to choose which brand of Anglicanism he will now back.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

” If Archbishop Justin takes note of it, and gives in to it, then we can forget the outcome of the shared conversations and the Bishop’s Working Party.” While Justin Welby is chilling his beans in Vatican City, chatting about the shared experience of running a large church, he might like to ask the Pope how his predecessor’s attempt to heal rifts with SSPX worked out. John Paul II excommunicated them, on the grounds of invalid appointment of bishops and various other issues. One might regard this as a “process story”: they were excommunicated over issues of appointment, not doctrine… Read more »

Cseitz
Guest
Cseitz

Mr Smith. The Mother Church soi disant will not be a TEC monolith.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Simon
The even larger question is whether the English bishops present highlighted the pre-eminent position of ABC as the best tactical way of applying pressure?

Mark Brunson
Guest
Mark Brunson

These people are “deplorables,” and the ABC wants to court them.

TEC needs DESPERATELY to leave this pitiful “communion” of homophobes and anti-intellectuals.

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

Mark Brunson—so does the Church of England

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

I agree, Turbulent Priest, but I don’t see how you can without completely overhauling CofE’s method of selecting leadership, which would be a fundamental change in the nature of the CofE. One of the difficulties in CofE is the appointment, rather than the election, of bishops and archbishops, and ending that would bring one up against the desire of the state to maintain power within the church. At the same time, one would be opposed by the same bishops and archbishops because they are, at heart, career power brokers and politicians who “got into this” for authority and titles, and,… Read more »

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

Mark, the state has no desire to “maintain power within the church”. Indeed it has abrogated whatever power it ever had. The last vestigial power (not much if ever exercised) was to be able to choose number 2 in a list of two nominees for bishoprics. Gordon Brown got rid of that and now the state simply rubber stamps the choice of the church committee. The “quadruple lock” in the equal marriage legislation was at the insistence of the Church. All governance is in the hands of the Church itself. It’s the other way round; it is the Church that… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Thank you for correcting me, Turbulent Priest. I admit to being rather parochial, and haven’t the access to information nor the education or many others. It would seem, then, that the real problem is the Lords Spiritual digging in their heels to maintain empire, of a sorts. Perhaps the difficulty is like the Ivy League issue, here. We have those who went to Yale and Harvard and that is enough to guarantee an “in” in powerful places (and that “in” guarantees the next generation a place in Harvard and Yale and such), and I see all the Old Etonians and… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

” . . *of* many others,” rather.

Proving the point, apparently.

Turbulent Priest
Guest
Turbulent Priest

Mark, don’t run yourself down. I think your point about the appointment of bishops etc is absolutely on the money. Even if we didn’t go as far as election (which has its own problems) we could do much better than the current process which is swathed in unnecessary secrecy and mystery. As you say, we absolutely need to overhaul the way the senior leadership are appointed—and also the whole business of synodical government, which has not served us well in my view.

MarkBrunson
Guest
MarkBrunson

Turbulent Priest,

Thank you.