Second African Primate responds to letter on sexuality
By ACNS staff
A second Africa Primate has issued a response to a recent letter by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York recalling Anglican Communion leaders’ “commitment to pastoral care and friendship for all, regardless of sexual orientation”.
In his response, the Archbishop of Kenya the Most Revd Eliud Wabukala said, “Christians should always show particular care for those who are vulnerable, but this cannot be separated from the whole fabric of biblical moral teaching in which the nature of marriage and family occupy a central place.”
Both Archbishop Wabukala and Primate of the Church of Uganda Archbishop Stanley Ntagali – in a statement issued the previous day – stressed their intention to “uphold” the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 which states that “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture” and that the conference “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions”.
Both Primates called on Archbishops Welby and Sentamu to do the same.
The public statements from both Archbishops can be read below in full.
A RESPONSE TO THE STATEMENT
BY THE ARCHBISHOPS OF CANTERBURY AND YORK
This week, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York sought to remind the leadership of the Anglican Communion and the Presidents of Nigeria and Uganda of the importance of friendship and care for homosexual people.
Christians should always show particular care for those who are vulnerable, but this cannot be separated from the whole fabric of biblical moral teaching in which the nature of marriage and family occupy a central place.
The Dromantine Communiqué from which the Archbishops quote also affirmed (Clause 17) the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 which states that ‘homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture’ and that the conference ‘cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions’.
Yet earlier this week, the English College of Bishops accepted the recommendation of the Pilling Report for two years of ‘facilitated conversation’ because at least some of the bishops could not accept the historic teaching of the Church as reaffirmed in the Lambeth Resolution.
Indeed, in making the case for such a debate, the Pilling Report observes ‘In the House of Lords debate on same sex marriage, the Archbishop of York commended that the Church needed to think about the anomalies in a situation where it is willing to bless a tree or a sheep, but not a faithful human relationship.’ The anomaly only exists of course if it really is the case that a committed homosexual union can also be Christian.
The good advice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York would carry much more weight if they were able to affirm that they hold, personally, as well as in virtue of their office, to the collegial mind of the Anglican Communion. At the moment I fear that we cannot be sure.
Regrettably, their intervention has served to encourage those who want to normalise homosexual lifestyles in Africa and has fuelled prejudice against African Anglicans. We are committed to biblical sexual morality and to biblical pastoral care, so we wholeheartedly stand by the assurance given in the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution that those who experience same sex attraction are ‘loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.’
May God in his mercy grant that we may hold to the fullness of his truth and the fullness of his grace.
The Most Rev’d Dr Eliud Wabukala
Archbishop, Anglican Church of Kenya and Chairman, GAFCON Primates Council
31st January 2014
Archbishop Stanley Ntagali Comments on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the Church of England’s “Pilling Report,” and the Open Letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
30th January 2014
The Church of Uganda is encouraged by the work of Uganda’s Parliament in amending the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to remove the death penalty, to reduce sentencing guidelines through a principle of proportionality, and to remove the clause on reporting homosexual behaviour, as we had recommended in our 2010 position statement on the Bill. This frees our clergy and church leaders to fulfill the 2008 resolution of our House of Bishops to “offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.”
Accordingly, we are grateful for the reminder of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to fulfill such commitments as stated in the 2005 Communique of the Primates Meeting held in Dromantine, Northern Ireland.
We would further like to remind them, as they lead their own church through the “facilitated conversations” recommended by the Pilling Report, that the teaching of the Anglican Communion from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, from Resolution 1.10, still stands. It states that “homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture,” and the conference “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”
It was the Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada’s violations of Lambeth 1.10 which caused the Church of Uganda to break communion with those Provinces more than ten years ago. We sincerely hope the Archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church.
Furthermore, as our new Archbishop of Canterbury looks toward future Primates Meetings and a possible 2018 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, we would also like to remind him of the 2007 Primates Communique from Dar es Salaam, which says that there are “consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion” for TEC and those Provinces which cannot
“Make an unequivocal common covenant that the Bishops will not authorize any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through” their governing body;
“Confirm…that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent.”
It is clear that the Episcopal Church in the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada have not upheld these commitments, and so we do pray for the Archbishop of Canterbury as he considers whether or not to extend invitations to their Primates for the next Primates Meeting or to their Bishops for the 2018 Lambeth Conference. To withhold these invitations would be a clear signal of his intention to lead and uphold the fullness of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10.
The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali
ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA
No surprise here, then! The Archbishop of Uganda adds his voice of protest against the warning letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on the need to comply with the Dromantine Communique – to that of his GAFCON-Chair colleague, the Archbishop of Kenya.
Their joint protest against The Episcopal Church in America’s (TEC’s) Ordination of the first Gay Bishop and the Anglican Church of Canada’s Blessing of monogamous Same-Sex Partnerships, were the foundation of the GAFCON move to establish rival Anglican Churches in both the US and Canada that has sparked schism within the world-wide Anglican Communion.
Here we have a ‘chicken and egg’ situation – as to which of the two actions have caused schism within the Communion? Is it the liberal movement of TEC and the ACC? Or the piratical invasion of the GAFCON Churches into the territory of these two Communion Churches, as a direct result? As someone elsewhere in the blog-world has mentioned: Two wrongs don’t make a right. And when both sides of the disputes claim the moral high-ground, what can be done about the resulting stand off? One might ask, which is the greater ‘sin’; Homosexuality or Homophobia?
Well, here we have round three of the dispute, based on the Sola Scriptura standing of the GAFCON group, claiming that homosexuality is ‘un-biblical and, therefore, the cause of all the trouble. It will be interesting to see how Canterbury and York respond to the challenge of GAFCON’s interpretation of what they see as their own claim to ‘Anglican Orthodoxy’ on this matter.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand