Thinking Anglicans

More about the Canadian marriage canon

Continuing the story from here.

Alan Perry who is Executive Archdeacon in the Diocese of Edmonton, has written this blog article: Marriage Canon Redux.

And he also wrote another article, a few days earlier: Read the Memo: The Living Church and the Chancellor’s memo on marriage.

These articles seek to explain very precisely what the legal situation in the Canadian church remains.

The Chancellor’s original 2016 memorandum is available here.

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Bishop of Truro’s report on FCO support for persecuted Christians

The Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, prepared a report for the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on the subject of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s support for persecuted Christians.

This has now been published: Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO support for Persecuted Christians.

There is an excellent summary of it at Law & Religion UKIndependent Review of FCO support for persecuted Christians.

The government press release is here.

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Bishop Linda Nicholls elected as new Canadian Primate

The Anglican Journal has this story: Linda Nicholls elected primate.

Full details of the election results.

Information about Bishop Nicholls.

Information about all the candidates.

Here is the statement issued by the new primate after her election (which also deals with the earlier vote on the marriage canon).

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Canadian General Synod fails to pass revised marriage canon

Updated Monday morning

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada is meeting in Vancouver.

The synod affirmed this statement, originally published in March: A Word to the Church: Considering the proposed amendment of Marriage Canon XXI. This contains at chronology of the preceding steps in this proposal. (h/t Tim Chesterton)

The Anglican Journal reported: Marriage canon amendment fails to pass at General Synod.

The 42nd General Synod voted against Resolution A052-R2, which would have amended the marriage canon to allow for same-sex marriage, after the resolution failed to pass by a two-thirds majority in all three orders. While two-thirds of the Order of Laity (80.9%) and Order of Clergy (73.2%) voted in favour, less than the required two-thirds (62.2%) voted in favour of the resolution in the Order of Bishops

.The final results of the vote, which took place on the evening of July 12 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, were as follows: The Order of Laity saw 89 members (80.9%) vote Yes and 21 members (19.1%) vote No, with one abstention. The Order of Clergy had 60 members (73.2%) voting Yes, 22 members (26.8%) voting No, and two abstentions. In the Order of Bishops, 23 members (62.2%) voted Yes and 14 members (37.8%) voted No, with two abstentions…

Subsequently, a number of Canadian bishops published messages in response, as reported in an email:

  • Archbishop Skelton Diocese of New Westminster Click here 
  • Bishop Peddle Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador Click here 
  • Bishop John Chapman Diocese of Ottawa Click here 
  • Bishop Geoffrey Woodcroft Diocese of Rupert’s Land Click here 
  • Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto Bishop Andrew Asbil on his Facebook page. Click here 
  • Bishop’s Call for Prayer Diocese of British Columbia Click here 
  • Bishop Jane Alexander Diocese of Edmonton Click here
  • Bishop Bell Diocese of Niagara Click here 

Madia reports:

Vancouver Sun Anglican Church rejects same-sex marriage in Vancouver vote

CBC Anglican Church rejects same-sex marriage approvals in vote

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IICSA Anglican Church hearing day 10

Updated Monday lunchtime

Today, the final Friday,  was originally intended to be used only for closing statements from the lawyers representing the various parties. However, it was announced at the end of Thursday that an additional witness would be called first on Friday morning. This turned out to be David Bonehill, Claims Director of EIG and and John Titchener, Group Compliance Director of EIO.

The Church Times has a report of what happened: IICSA reprimands Ecclesiastical over earlier advice to C of E and evidence to Inquiry

Transcript of day 10 hearing.

List of documents adduced on day 10  seven of which have now been published, links here.

Witness statement of John Titchener

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 9

Transcript of day 9 (Thursday)

List of documents adduced on day 9

Witness statements:

Media reports:

Telegraph The Archbishop of Canterbury banned abuse victim from cathedral grounds after treating his case with “casual indifference”, IICSA hears

Independent Bishops involved in sexual abuse do not get ‘an easy ride’, Archbishop of Canterbury claims

Guardian Archbishop of Canterbury calls for mandatory reporting of sexual abuse

Church Times IICSA: I am ashamed and horrified, says Welby

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IICSA Anglican Church hearing days 7 and 8

Updated again Friday morning

Transcript for day 7 (Tuesday) See below

Transcript for day 8 (Wednesday)

Day 8 list of documents adduced

Day 8 witness statements

At the time of writing no further documents for day 8 have been published by IICSA, but there is extensive media coverage:.

Press Association via Daily Mail Vicar tells abuse inquiry archbishops ‘not fit for office’. (this report also appears in numerous other newspapers)

Church Times Absolute power will corrupt bishops, says Sentamu

Guardian Archbishop: church ‘shabby and shambolic’ in abuse case

York Press Archbishop of York denies mishandling clerical abuse allegations

Doncaster Free Press Former South Yorkshire vicar claims sex abuse reports were ‘ignored’ by clerics

ITV Vicar tells abuse inquiry archbishops ‘not fit for office’ (includes video report)

Telegraph Archbishop of York: Parishes are ‘enabling abuse’ by refusing to punish paedophiles whom they deem ‘lovely people’

And this analysis at Surviving ChurchThe Matt Ineson IICSA testimony. A crisis of leadership in the Church of England?

Documents adduced on day 7 include the following witness statements:

And there is this media report:

Church Times Bishops not qualified to adjudicate on safeguarding cases, says Munn

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IICSA Anglican Church hearing day 6

Transcript of hearing for Monday of week 2.

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 5

Updated

The transcript of Friday’s hearing is now published.

Video recordings of today are now available here.

List of documents adduced.

Witness statements:

Church Times Church in Wales falls under IICSA’s scrutiny as Archbishop and Provincial Secretary are questioned.

 

 

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 4

Updated

The timetable for Week 2 of these hearings has been published today.

The transcript of today’s (Thursday week 1) hearing is now published here.

Video recordings of today are now available here.

List of documents adduced today.

Witness statements

Discussion paper by Colin Perkins

Church Times IICSA: Canon Bursell renews plea to Parliament to render seal of confession obsolete

Law & Religion UK IICSA: Some more legal views (includes links to more of today’s documents)

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 3

Updated again 8 July

The transcript of the hearing for day 3 (Wednesday) is now available here.

Video recordings of today are now available here.

List of documents adduced today.

Witness Statements:

Media coverage has already appeared:

Church Times Bishop of Chester tells IICSA that paedophile cleric was ‘penitent’

Chester Standard
Bishop of Chester accepts he failed to pass on vicar’s ‘child abuse confession’ letter to church safeguarding adviser or police

‘Suffer the little children to come unto me’ – former Chester bishop quoted Bible before sexually abusing teenage girl, inquiry hears

Telegraph England’s longest serving bishop blocked lifetime ban for paedophile priest, government inquiry hears

Cheshire Live Bishop of Chester admits ‘misjudgment’ over handling of pervert vicar

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 2

Updated again 8 July

Transcript of second day of hearings published here.

Video recordings of today are now available here.

Document links (28 in total for day 2, now a total of 7 for day 1) here.

List of all documents adduced today.

Witness Statements:

Extract from Elliott Report

Media coverage:

Church Times IICSA: Bishop of Buckingham criticises ‘unhealthy’ level of bishops’ power

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Catholic Anglicans critique CofE-Methodist proposals

The CofE General Synod in York will debate the latest stage of the current proposals this weekend. The most recent document under consideration is GS 2135. The earlier document is GS 2086.

Today, both Anglican Catholic Future and Forward in Faith have issued statements.

A Statement by Anglican Catholic Future on the Forthcoming Discussion in Synod of Mission and Ministry in Covenant

…This further report comes before General Synod this week (as paper GS 2135). Anglican Catholic Future is glad to see that it picks up–or seems to pick up–a range of concerns raised in 2018 including:

  1. whether a partial development such as this–with interchangeability of ministry between two churches that remain distinct–aids or hinders the goal of full visible unity (section A1);
  2.  whether the change in ecclesial life of the Methodist Church proposed in MMiCconstitutes a recognisable form of the historic episcopate (section B);
  3. the relation between Eucharistic presidency and episcopal ordination (section A3).

The working group has done important work in relation to the first of those questions, concerning the unity of the churches, which we welcome. When it comes to the other two questions that caused concern in early 2018, however, the document placed before Synod this week is far more problematic…

Forward in Faith – The Anglican-Methodist Proposals

Forward in Faith welcomes the statement by Anglican Catholic Future about the latest Anglican-Methodist report.

In our own February 2018 statement, we noted questions about whether the proposals would lead to unity, and whether the office of ‘President-bishop’ (to be held for one year only) could be recognized as a ‘local adaption’ of the historic episcopate of the catholic Church. We are grateful to note some progress with regard to the question of unity, but our question as to whether what is proposed is in fact episcopacy remains.

Our third and greatest concern was about the proposal to set aside the requirement that those who minister as priests in the Church of England should have been episcopally ordained to the office of priest. In response to this concern, which was shared by others, the General Synod asked the Faith and Order Commission to ‘explore and elucidate further the relationship between episcopal ordination and eucharistic presidency’. That the Commission has not attempted to offer such an elucidation is a deep disappointment…

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Archbishops will refuse debate on Blackburn letter

The Church Times carried a report recently: Synod should welcome bishops’ safeguarding letter.

A LETTER from the bishops of the diocese of Blackburn, which warned that the Church’s mission was “fatally undermined” by the abuse crisis (News, 21 June), should be formally welcomed by the General Synod, two lay members have suggested.

A motion commending its “victim-centred approach” as a “suitable model for developing reconciliation with those who have been wronged by our sins of commission and omission” has been proposed by Martin Sewell, of the diocese of Rochester, and David Lamming, of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich.

They are seeking the permission of the Archbishops to introduce this motion at the meeting in York next month, when the Business Committee submits report on the first day.

This week, they noted that the letter from Blackburn had been welcomed by a number of survivors, including Jo Kind, who addressed the Synod last year (News, 7 July 2018).

“In recent times, we have sought a general debate on a safeguarding theme. Presentations and questions are not the same thing,” they said.

Their suggested motion offered “an opportunity to enable the Church to embrace the important themes of repentance, listening with humility, and pastoral care”.

The archbishops have today rejected this proposal. Below you will find the text of the proposed motion and the text of the reply sent by the Bishop at Lambeth. Note that the proposal was not to debate the IICSA report at all but only the four page pastoral letter from the Blackburn senior clergy.

“This Synod welcome the terms of the Diocese of Blackburn ‘Ad Clerum’ letter dated  17th June 2019, reflecting
on the IICSA report, dated May 2019, on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball, and commend its victim-centred approach to all in authority within the Church as a suitable model for developing reconciliation with those who have been wronged by our sins of commission and omission.”

From: Tim Thornton
Date: 2 July 2019
To: Martin Sewell, David Lamming
Cc:
Subject: Proposal to ask permission to introduce a motion

Dear Martin and David

Thank you for the e mail you have sent to both the Presidents letting them know about your intention to ask permission to introduce a motion at the Synod in York.

I am writing to let you know that both the Presidents have considered your idea carefully and both feel it is not appropriate at this time and so will refuse you the permission you seek.

Of course your motion is an important one and the matters you raise are crucial for our life as a Church.  However as you both know the IICSA hearing is taking place at the same time as the York session and many of the key people in the NST and others (including the Bishop of Bath and Wells) are focussed on responding to the inquiry and listening carefully to the survivors and all who are giving evidence over this fortnight.

It is also the case that the Interim Report has only recently been published and the NSSG has even more recently sent in its response to the recommendations.  The Presidents do think it is right to allow some more time for people to read those reports and consider their views and reactions to the important and difficult material contained in the report. It is also important to allow the present hearing to take its course before we have a debate on these matters on the floor of Synod.

There are of course questions and space being given to Safeguarding on the Sunday of this session so there will be opportunity for voices to be heard.

I understand this will not be the answer you would like but I hope you can understand the Presidents have given your question thought and do not think that this particular session is the right time to allow for the proper preparation and the availability for all who would and should be there to take part in any such debate.

Yours

Tim

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IICSA Anglican Church Hearing Day 1

Updated

The transcript of the first day of this hearing, which covers both the Church of England and the Church in Wales, is available here.

Video recordings of today are now available here.

List of documents adduced today.

Witness statement of Bishop Sarah Mullally

The Church Times has published two reports of the hearing:

The Daily Mail has this: Almost 400 people in ‘positions of trust’ with the Church of England have been convicted of child sex offences, inquiry hears.

The timetable.for the remainder of the first week is here. The hearings are scheduled to last two weeks.

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Bishop of Burnley calls for Mandatory Reporting

See our earlier article Senior Blackburn clergy reflect on IICSA reports on Chichester Diocese and Peter Ball.

The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme carried an interview by Donna Birrell with the Bishop of Burnley, Philip North (starts at 32 minutes, 45 seconds).

BBC Radio Cornwall has a longer version of this interview, listen over here.

A transcript of this (longer) interview is copied below the fold. (more…)

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Two cases of abuse involving evangelical Anglicans

Updated

The Daily Telegraph published a news article on 21 June: Minister ‘spiritually abused’ the vulnerable. This is behind a paywall, but the substance of it was subsequently reported elsewhere:

The original report prompted two statements, one from the Diocese of Southwark and another from Emmanuel Church Wimbledon.

In addition, Emmanuel Church has established a separate website to deal specifically with this, which is located here. It has links to several further documents, including the following:

Two notices dated April and May 2019 signed by the Bishop of Maidstone and 3 others.

Statements and a video recording from an event on 27 June, at which Vaughan Roberts, Sarah Hall (Emmanuel’s Safeguarding Officer) and Andrew Wales QC describe in some detail what the abuse consisted of, and what actions have been taken by Emmanuel Church and by others, in response to the disclosures received. The transcript is worth reading in full.

In a separate but related development, two statements were recently issued by the Anglican Mission in England:

To date, two articles have been published which comment on all of this:

Update

Church Times now has a further story  Fletcher faces allegations of naked beatings which includes the full text of a statement from Jonathan Fletcher:

“As part of a long-standing prayer group, I have in the past been involved in a system of mutual encouragement whereby we set ourselves targets in healthy and holy living and then imposed what I thought of as light-hearted forfeits if we failed.

“These included going without chocolate, cold baths and school-type gym shoe punishments. Although at the time we definitely did not think we were doing anything wrong, I’ve seen since that it could have caused much harm both to individuals and to the reputation of conservative evangelicalism for which I am profoundly sorry. Needless to say, this activity has now stopped.

“In addition, a number of people are reporting that I have had naked massages with them. I enjoy massage and benefit from it. To that end I regularly have it professionally administered. However, if I can avoid the cost by finding a male friend to administer, and in return receive, massage, I do.

“These sessions categorically do not have erotic or sexual overtones and I have never coerced or intended to coerce anyone into an arrangement. If any have felt pressurised by me to do this, I apologise.

“Again, I realise that in the position I have held in the past as an incumbent, it was unwise of me to involve anyone to whom I was also ministering and I apologise for doing so.

“I confirm that I no longer engage in public ministry.”

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Anglican influence in Botswana’s decriminalisation of same-sex relationships

Earlier this month, there was surprising news from Botswana: Botswana scraps gay sex laws in big victory for LGBTQ rights in Africa.

Botswana’s High Court has overturned a colonial-era law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations in a landmark victory for Africa’s LGBTQ movements.
The court in the southern African country unanimously ruled on Tuesday that the legislation was discriminatory, unconstitutional and against the public interest.
“A democratic society is one that embraces tolerance, diversity and open-mindedness,” Justice Michael Leburu said, noting that discriminatory law not only serves as a detriment to LGBTQ people, but holds back all of society.
“Societal inclusion is central to ending poverty and fostering shared prosperity,” he said…

CNN also carried this comment article the next day: Africa is doing better on LGBTQ rights than you think.

Living Reconciliation reported on the role of Alice Mogwe in this achievement: We Believe in Human Dignity

Decriminalisation of LGBTQI people is a victory for human dignity.
The 11 June 2019 decision of the Botswana High Court, to strike down colonial laws which discriminated against LGBTIQ persons was greeted with joy by those seeking to promote human dignity.
Alice Mogwe – Anglican lay woman, Human Rights defender, and founder and Director of DITSHWANELO – the Botswana Centre for Human Rights, welcomed the ruling with joy.
‘We believe in human dignity: that all are made in the image of God’ she said. ‘This is a step on the road to dignity for LGBTIQ persons in Botswana, a great step, but still a step. It offers the hope of more to come. LGBTIQ people need to have dignity in all our communities, in their families and among all of our people. This can make it possible.’
Alice has been journeying with LGBTIQ people on their road to freedom for over 20 years. In 1998 DITSHWANELO created a project focused on the rights of LGB persons. This led to the establishment of a fledgling group called LeGaBiBo – Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo).  It was seeded and nested by DITSHWANELO.
Many human rights groups advocate for the voiceless and speak for the oppressed. Alice has long championed human dignity over human rights and her aim is to enable people to speak for themselves, not to be spoken for…

Law & Religion UK reported on the court’s decision here: Same-sex relationships in Botswana:Motshidiemang 

On 11 June, in Motshidiemang v Attorney General [2019] MAHGB-000591 16, the Botswana High Court held that the criminalisation of sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex was unconstitutional. Tafa, Leburu and Dube JJ concluded that ss.164(a), 164(c), 165 and 167 of the Botswana Penal Code violated the constitutional rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons to dignity, liberty, privacy and equality. The Court began from the proposition that sexual relations between consenting adults in private were none of the law’s business:

“What regulatory joy and solace are derived by the law, when it proscribes and criminalises such conduct of two consenting adults, expressing and professing love to each other, within their secluded sphere, bedroom, confines and/or precinct? Is this not a question of over-regulation of human conduct and expression, which has the effect of impairing and infringing upon constitutionally ordained, promised and entrenched fundamental human rights?”…

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Safeguarding issues in an Essex school

There has been discussion recently in the media and on social media of an incident at a Church of England school in Essex. This involved a Church of England priest who has resigned as a governor of a church school and also as the local incumbent because he did not like the way that the school handled the gender transition of a child.

This discussion began on 25 May when the Mail on Sunday reported: Vicar resigns after being ‘silenced’ over a Church of England school’s plan to keep an eight-year-old pupil’s sex change a secret from parents.

That provoked a detailed press statement the same day from the Mermaids charity: Response to Mail on Sunday.It is worth reading..  You can read more about this charity here. It is recommended as a resource in Valuing All God’s Children, the Church of England’s guidance on challenging homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, republished in Autumn 2017 (see page 39 here.)

The next day, 26 May, Christian Today reported: Vicar quits over transgenderism policy at Church of England school.

Premier published on 28 May: Read the letter from the CofE vicar resigning over the Church’s approach to sexuality.

Christian Concern published  a statement dated 31 May:  Statement from Reverend John Parker.

Subsequently Christian Today reported twice on responses from the Bishop of Chelmsford:

1 June ‘I’m at a loss to know where this comes from’ – bishop responds to transgender accusations

5 June Bishop of Chelmsford denies suggesting vicar could leave Church of England over transgender views

The Diocese of Chelmsford then published the full text of the bishop’s Ad Clerum which I recommend reading in full.

On 6 June, Premier published this report: Bishop defends actions after suggestion he told vicar to leave Church over transgender complaint.

You can find other articles published earlier by Christian Concern about this incident here and here (26 May),  also here and here (28 May).

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Kenyan Anglicans support continued criminalisation of homosexuals

Two recent news reports from Kenya:

Anglican Bishops Extend Special Gesture To The Kenyan Gay Community

Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Bishops on Sunday welcomed gay worshippers to fellowship with them but held on to the principle of not officiating their marriages in church.

This came after the high court ruling that declined to repeal sections of the penal code that criminalized same-sex relationships…

ACK Church shuts doors on gay marriages but welcomes gay worshippers (emphasis added)

The Anglican Church has declared it will not officiate same sex marriages.

The stand comes just weeks after the High Court in Kenya declined to declare unconstitutional some parts of the Penal Code which criminalises same sex relationships.Today, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby from the Church of England said the Anglican Church believes in the biblical definition of marriage and relationships. He however noted that with the modern world, Christians should learn to respect each other’s differences in order to preach God’s word.

He said there exists so many differences in the world that the church has to deal with.”My own view of the Christian marriage is the traditional marriage (between a man and woman),” said Welby who is in the country for a visit. Welby steered clear of the Kenyan court ruling, which is the latest upset of the global gay community saying he is not fit to directly comment on it.

“But just so you know in England, it is not currently possible to have same sex marriage in the church,” he said. Same sex marriage is however legal in England…

The Anglican Church of Kenya has published this video recording of a Press Briefing by the Archbishop of Kenya And the Archbishop of Canterbury at All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi. So you can see and hear for yourself exactly what the two archbishops actually said.

To understand how all this is.viewed from a GAFCON perspective, you need to study this lengthy article by Phil Ashey whose formal position is President & Chief Executive Officer of the American Anglican Council and leads the GAFCON Lawyers Task Force.

Walking In The Light: A Study In Contrasts

He refers to the video recording:

At about 3:00-3:37 in the video you can listen to what Archbishop Justin Welby says about the upcoming Lambeth Conference 2020.  He says that the Lambeth Conference of Bishops has always been marked “by controversy” since it began in 1867.  He notes that the Lambeth Conference scheduled for 2020 has not met since 2008.  He notes that “When we are able to meet together rather than…not communicating, not meeting together we are able to listen to each other. And so we will see what happens in the Lambeth Conference when we get there.”

And further on he continues:

Beginning at 3:56 Archbishop Welby says “the Bible is clear,” and that “my own personal view, which I have stated on numerous occasions in public…is the traditional view of Christian marriage…which has always been the view of Christian marriage…”

But note what else he says and what he does not say:

  • That he is also “deeply torn” on the traditional definition of Christian marriage as between a man and a woman for life, and that he confesses publicly that “I am equally convinced that it may be that I am wrong… and that “Anglican theological methodology never closes things down.
  • That, therefore, he believes that Marriage is a secondary issue over which Anglicans can agree to disagree;
  • That he would approve the Church of England’s blessing of same-sex “unions” as a way to gain traction within English culture;
  • That he approves the public, liturgical celebration of “gender-transitions” in rites approved by the Bishops of the Church of England that are almost identical to baptism;

And there is a lot more about what is wrong with the Church of England and the Lambeth Conference which you can read for yourself.

But earlier in the article Ashey says this about Archbishop Ole Sapit:

With regards to the question about the Kenyan Supreme Courts recent decision against legalizing same-sex marriage, he applauds the Supreme Court for upholding the traditional view of marriage as between a man and a woman for life, for not introducing into the laws of Kenya a redefinition of marriage contrary to the teaching of the ACK;

The recent Kenyan Supreme Court decision was not about same-sex marriage per se, but about retaining the criminalisation of homosexuals generally. It seems nobody is prepared to comment on this, although the primates of the Anglican Communion have previously spoken quite clearly.

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