Thinking Anglicans

Ghana: archbishop issues a second statement

Updated Saturday afternoon

On 22 October, we published Anglican bishops in Ghana support anti-gay legislation. This was updated on 26 October to add the first statement issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury: Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement on Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.

Yesterday, 12 November, the archbishop issued another statement: Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement following a meeting with the Archbishop, bishops and senior clergy of the Anglican Church of Ghana. This is copied in full immediately below.

The Church Times reported this way: Welby apologises for Ghana LGBTQ+ pronouncement.

Update: Today, the General Synod Questions and Answers file was published (ahead of the session next Tuesday afternoon). Two questions relate to Ghana. These are copied below the fold.

Statement 12/11/2021

Read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s statement following a meeting with the Archbishop, bishops and senior clergy of the Anglican Church of Ghana last week:

On 3rd November, I met online with the Anglican Archbishop of Ghana, the Most Revd Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, and several bishops and senior clergy from the Anglican Church of Ghana. We discussed their response to the draft Bill that is before the Ghanaian parliament, aimed at strengthening family life but including within it provision for the criminalisation of many LGBTQI+ people.

I welcomed this conversation, which should have happened before my previous statement. That is not mere diplomacy: Christ commands us to speak directly and prayerfully with our brothers and sisters. I apologised for failing to do so.

We affirmed that the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 represents the last and most widely accepted statement by the Anglican Communion on the question of human sexuality.

We agreed that all human beings are made in God’s image and are worthy of love, respect and dignity, and that the Church of Jesus Christ is called to demonstrate the love of God by protecting all vulnerable people and communities.

This was a conversation between equals: I have no authority over the Church of Ghana, nor would I want any. I say that partly because of Britain’s colonial history in Ghana, but also because of the very nature of the Anglican Communion. We are a global family of churches who are autonomous but interdependent: a holy, catholic, apostolic Church bound together by history, sacraments, liturgy, and the love of Jesus Christ for each and every person.

One of the key conclusions of the meeting is that human dignity is always paramount, and that cultural, social and historical contexts must also be considered and understood.

I encourage continued good conversation with the Anglican Church of Ghana, with the same courteous but clear and robust conversation as I experienced, ahead of any future public statements.

General Synod Questions 24 and 25

The Revd Dr Sean Doherty (Universities & TEIs) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q24 In the light of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent statement on the ‘draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill to be debated by the Ghanaian parliament,’ with its welcome restatement of the opposition of the Primates of the Anglican Communion to the criminalisation of LGBT people, will the House of Bishops be considering what action they might take in response to the support of the Anglican Church of Ghana for the Bill?

The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Chair of the House of Bishops:

A In a conversation I had with the Archbishop, bishops and senior clergy of the Anglican Church of Ghana on 3rd November, we affirmed that the 1998 Lambeth conference Resolution I.10. represents the last and most widely accepted statement on the question of human sexuality.

We agreed that all human beings are made in God’s image and are worthy of love, respect and dignity, and that the Church of Jesus Christ is called to demonstrate the love of God by protecting all vulnerable people and communities.

The Anglican Communion is a global family of churches who are autonomous but interdependent. One of the key conclusions of our meeting was that cultural context, history and human dignity all matter greatly, and must be held together in Christ.

Mr Philip Baldwin (London) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q25 Please could the House of Bishops update the Synod on what conversations have been had with the Anglican Church in Ghana on the Ghanaian Family Values 2021 Bill?

The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply as Chair of the House of Bishops:

A I met online with the Anglican Archbishop and several bishops and senior clergy from Ghana on 3rd November. We affirmed that the 1998 Lambeth conference Resolution I.10. represents the last and most widely accepted statement on the question of human sexuality.

We agreed that all human beings are made in God’s image and are worthy of love, respect and dignity, and that the Church of Jesus Christ is called to demonstrate the love of God by protecting all vulnerable people and communities.

I encourage good, courteous, clear and robust future conversations with the Anglican Church of Ghana on this matter.

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FrDavidH
FrDavidH
23 days ago

Justin Welby has apologised to the Archbishop of Ghana for saying something before informing the Archbishop he was going to say something. After the apology, he says absolutely nothing.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavidH
22 days ago

So should we conclude that a) he will also be issuing a public apology to the English House of Bishops for issuing this second statement without first talking to them, b) does he treat the Ghanaian bishops as more important than English bishops or c) did the House of Bishops authorise this awful apology? I don’t think a) will happen and b) and c) are both bad. If I was an English bishop right now and hadn’t endorsed the second statement, I would be calling on the Archbishop of Canterbury to issue a public apology.

Last edited 22 days ago by Kate
Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Kate
22 days ago

The reply to Sean Doherty’s question looks like the HoB were not consulted. The Revd Dr Sean Doherty (Universities & TEIs) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops: Q24 In the light of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent statement on the ‘draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill to be debated by the Ghanaian parliament,’ with its welcome restatement of the opposition of the Primates of the Anglican Communion to the criminalisation of LGBT people, will the House of Bishops be considering what action they might take in response to the support of the Anglican Church of Ghana for the Bill? The Archbishop of… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
22 days ago

Yes, it sounds as if he must have been given a good spanking by the Ghanaian bishops and told to apologise. So much for ‘primus inter pares’!

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
22 days ago

“One of the key conclusions of the meeting is that human dignity is always paramount, and that cultural, social and historical contexts must also be considered and understood.” That line from Justin Welby could be used to excuse almost anything: slavery, genocide, colonialism. “Cultural, social and historical contexts” can be used of any horror carried out by more than two people, because almost by definition such things arise from a cultural and social context and have a historical background. Hitler didn’t come from nowhere: his ideas arose from a long historical narrative of anti-semitism, there was a cultural basis for… Read more »

Susannah Clark
22 days ago

To recap: “We, the House of Bishops representing the Anglican Church, Ghana (Internal Province of Ghana) have thrown our weight behind the anti-gay (LGBTQI+) Bill… we will do anything within our powers and mandate to ensure that the bill comes into fruition.” They will do everything in their power to ensure the bill comes to fruition, namely: “that anyone who identifies as gay or transgender face imprisonment for up to five years and anyone who promotes or supports non-straight sexual identities be locked up for up to 10 years.” How does this square with Justin’s latest statement “that the Church… Read more »

John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Susannah Clark
22 days ago

The old English adage ‘ when you are in a hole, stop digging’ comes to mind. What ++ Justin needed to say is that I was so appalled by your unchristian support of this bill, that I prophetically needed to speak out against your position. No need for an apology. Which of the OT prophets apologised for their tactless / uncomfortable statements? Amos just carried on.

Paul McKechnie
Paul McKechnie
Reply to  John Wallace
21 days ago

Amos had the advantage of not being a bishop

Tim Chesterton
22 days ago

This is awful. God wants to deliver the oppressed, and Justin wants to ‘respect’ their oppressors.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
22 days ago

Furthermore, how many times do we have to remind people that Lambeth Conference resolutions are not ‘statements of the Anglican Communion.’ They are statements of the Lambeth Conference, and are not binding on the Anglican Communion. Why doesn’t Justin Welby get this? Does he really want to be the ‘first among equals’ in a church where the body that has authority to promulgate doctrinal statements for the entire global communion is a body made up only of (mostly male) bishops?

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
22 days ago

Well that was kind of the remit of the The Anglican Covenant. Certainly here in UK that didn’t go down well. Not sure how it was received in Canada? Anglicanism is not a worldwide Church. The Lambeth Bishops do not have any authority to determine doctrine for the whole Communion. It is up to each national Anglican Church to try to develop its faith and doctrine, and even then there may be variance of conscience at local church level.. Doctrine in England (or Canada) should not be determined by bishops in Ghana, nor by delaying justice in England on issues… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
22 days ago

+ Justin Welby says in his second statement that he believes The Anglican Communion to be a “global family of churches”. His statements on the Ghana situation evidence little awareness of the church’s responsibilities on this file to international institutions fundamental to a global order. Below is a link to a detailed analysis of the Ghana legislation direct from the UN- OHCHR website. It is chilling reading. Welby states he welcomes conversation, and ought to have had one with the bishops in Ghana before making his first statement. Perhaps he would have benefited from conversations with both United Nations officials… Read more »

Christopher
Christopher
Reply to  Rod Gillis
22 days ago

All this stems from the obsession, which also brought Abp Rowan down, to keep the Anglican communion together. Surely it would be better if we were a smaller prophetic church?

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Christopher
21 days ago

No organization with pretensions to being a global entity can stay silent given the evidence based human rights framework analysis of the legislation in Ghana by the UN. The C of E needs to come to terms with its colonial past. A stance such as, oh we were a colonial church, our bad, but now it’s over to you, is nowhere near enough. Cop-out. It goes beyond personalities. As for being ‘prophetic’ the Anglican and R.C. bishops in Ghana together with the Christian right in the west cheering them on ( and funding them) could claim that is exactly what… Read more »

Alibaba
Alibaba
22 days ago

Fascinating exchanges. Do I conclude that this means slavery is ok if the cultural context is clear? Good to know.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Alibaba
21 days ago

That’s exactly what Welby means. It means that in the eyes of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Holocaust would be acceptable provided enough Germans agreed to carry it out. No, this is not hyperbole.

A not so humble parishioner
A not so humble parishioner
22 days ago

Sounds like ++Justin’s conversation with the Ghanian church didn’t go so well for him. What a weak statement.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
22 days ago

Why does the Archbishop manage to turn almost everything to dross? Is there anyone who can gently point out to him it’s time to retire?

Alison Menage
Alison Menage
Reply to  Fr Dean
22 days ago

Oh please someone!!!

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Fr Dean
21 days ago

I can see him retiring after the Lambeth Conference.

John Chilton
John Chilton
22 days ago

Stop citing resolutions that have no force — thankfully. As the Church Times writes: “His quotation from Resolution 1.10 omits the fact that it rejected “homosexual practice as incompatible with scripture”, and could thus be cited in support of aspects of the Bill.” Welby correctly states “I have no authority over the Church of Ghana, nor would I want any. I say that partly because of Britain’s colonial history in Ghana, but also because of the very nature of the Anglican Communion.” Yes, he has no “authority”, but that does not prevent him from speaking prophetically. If the Archbishop of Canterbury… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
22 days ago

“The Church Times reported this way: ‘Welby apologises for Ghana LGBTQ+ pronouncement.'”

That headline needs to be re-worded:
Welby Apologizes to Ghanaian Anglican Church Officials For Having the Temerity to Comment on Their LGBTQ+ Pronouncement

Isn’t there an English expression, weak tea?

Kate
Kate
22 days ago

Nobody seems to have spotted the logical inconsistency in the statement when he says that national cultural positions should be respected. He is writing as the Archbishop of CANTERBURY. Therefore, by his reasoning, he should reflect the ENGLISH abhorrence at the criminalisation of LGBTI Q+ people but he falls to even do that. He is showing more respect to the Ghanaian bishops than he does to his own flock. That cannot possibly be right.

Kate
Kate
22 days ago

The Synod answers are illuminating. Justin Welby makes no distinction between his role as Archbishop of Canterbury and his role as an instrument of communion for the Anglican Communion. This means that the Anglican Communion effectively has more impact on England than on any other country as what is being said by the Anglican Communion is effectively also said for England too, yet lies beyond the remit of General Synod and even the House of Bishops. There is a structural governance issue which needs attention.

Revd Ray Angleses
Revd Ray Angleses
22 days ago

Will the Ghanaian bishops be invited to the Lambeth conference, bishops who are helping to write laws that persecute LGBT people? Surely not.

Last edited 22 days ago by Revd Ray Angleses
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Revd Ray Angleses
22 days ago

Yes, it’s kind of creepy that decent, loving partners of gay and lesbian bishops are not allowed to attend, but bishops who advocate locking people up for years because of their sexuality get a free pass.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
22 days ago

I find the forced surgeries for intersex people even more shocking. If the wrong surgery is imposed, people will be subjected to a lifetime of gender dysphoria which will be criminalise if they reveal it. That makes me cry inside.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Kate
21 days ago

I can’t think of any circumstances when forcing someone to have surgery is acceptable. No self respecting surgeon would entertain such a grotesque idea.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Fr Dean
21 days ago

Over the decades many intersex people, often as infants, have been subject to “corrective” surgery. The surgeons thought they were helping.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Jo B
21 days ago

Careful here, I think. Where do you draw the line between something like easily correctable (penile) hypospadias, that could be regarded as a tendency towards the default female anatomy (I’ve written about this before on TA), thus a minor intersex state, and say someone with ectopic or indeterminate gonads and indeterminate external genitalia, or chromosomal abnormatlities? Sometimes decisions have to be made – and quickly. How do parents contribute to the decisions? You can’t wait for the child to grow up a bit and ask it what it wants. And please remember that intersex states are very rare – it’s… Read more »

Angusian
Angusian
22 days ago

Regardless of theological interpretations of gospel imperatives, the persecution of human beings regardless of sexuality is a sin ! The recent death of former President Botha has raised again debates about the theological justification for apartheid; surely there is some similarity? When, in the 1990s, I being interviewed for a senior position in the BBC, I was asked whether there were any issues over which the rules of objectivity should be waived; without question I answered ‘apartheid’. The ide that the primus inter pares should feel the need to .apologize for calling sin a sin seems to epitomize the lack… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Angusian
22 days ago

I presume you mean “former President de Klerk”?

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
22 days ago

Justin Welby is attuned to cultural sensitivities. After saying COP26 delegates would be “cursed” if they didn’t stop climate change, he apologised after comparing changes in the weather to the extermination of six million Jews. Two apologies in one week – to homophobes and Jews – shows how many people he has offended.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
22 days ago

Unsurprisingly he didn’t apologise to the other groups who were targeted in the Holocaust – for example gay and lesbian men, Roma or even the estimated 250,000 disabled people.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Kate
21 days ago

I visited Dachau ten years ago and learned that Ministers of Religion who criticised the Nazi regime were among the very first inmates there. At Dachau the inmates were mostly worked and starved to death. There’s pathos in the way the Archbishop blunders on making bad situations even worse; but it’s inexcusable when you see the huge staff he has, including any number of advisers.

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  FrDavid H
21 days ago

But surely as far as Welby is concerned, the Holocaust was OK? It fitted into the social, cultural and historical context of 1930s Germany, after all.

mikethecanon
mikethecanon
22 days ago

Welby has made a speciality of apologising. The church apologises for lots of people’s historical corporate sins these days – massacres, genocides, crusades (weird theology, since I didn’t think one could back-date repentance by proxy. However, what do I know?). This pronouncement – if you can call it that – is even more bizarre: “I apologise for not speaking to you first, Ghanaian bishops, before I told you off, but I am speaking to you now to assure you I won’t tell you off or even say anything at all, hopefully”. The sheer hopelessness of this man’s political ecclesiastical instincts… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
21 days ago

Is this what “good disagreement” sounds like?

John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
21 days ago

And I preached in my church this morning at our regular Parish Eucharist. Pre Covid about 110 communicant, today around 80, but as I stood at the door there were at leat 10 people who were new to us. 12.5% of new people at worship should get some eccelesiastical brownie points without Fresh Expressions!!!! The faithful celebration of the sacraments and preaching of the Word is the key. Forget gimmicks.
Here is the link to our worship if you want to see what we do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kkD4_GrYoA
John

Susannah Clark
Reply to  John Wallace
21 days ago

And that service has been a blessing to me this evening. Thank you John.

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
21 days ago

Dr Anima Adjepong, a US based Ghanaian sociologist accuses the church of miseducating people and of promoting violent discourse. Phrases like LGBTI people should be ‘thrown into the sea’, ‘don’t belong here’ and are bringing about the downfall of society and are an affront to human dignity sum things up. Quoting a resolution affirming human dignity has no relevance when you are calling someone’s existence an affront to human dignity. This is how mass murder begins and is justified – dehumanising and objectifying people like in Rwanda, Nazi Germany and other genocides. If the present Archbishop has nothing useful to… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
21 days ago

1957 was a significant year. It was not only the year in which the Wolfenden report was published; it was also the year in which the Gold Coast became independent as Ghana. The report was commissioned by the home secretary (and Nuremberg prosecutor) Maxwell-Fyfe who encouraged the DPP, Theobald Mathew, to ‘clean up’ the gents WCs of London with a blitz of prosecutions under the Labouchere Act. Unfortunately, this led to the prosecution of ‘some of us’ (Edward Montagu, Alan Turing, Michael Pitt-Rivers, Peter Wildeblood, etc.). As Denis Healey remarked: “There is no nearer thing to death in life As… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Froghole
21 days ago

Isn’t this just wonderful? Knickers down, knickers up, knickers down again. Whitehall, or rather Lambeth, farce. Apology anyone?

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