Anglican Province of South Sudan and the Sudan Recognizes the Anglican Church in North America
Following their November 25-28, 2015, meeting, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of South Sudan and the Sudan, announced that they have formally recognized the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
They also recommended that the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul, Archbishop of the Church of South Sudan and the Sudan, forge a closer relationship with the Anglican Church in North America.
The decision to recognize the Anglican Church in North America was made in conjunction with a decision to end formal ties with The Episcopal Church (TEC). In a letter published following their meeting, the Sudanese House of Bishops pointed in particular to two resolutions passed by The Episcopal Church this past summer that redefine marriage. “In our view such innovations are not in conformity with the Scriptures,” the bishops wrote.
The Sudanese House of Bishops recommended that their Provincial Synod sever their relationship with The Episcopal Church and any other province or diocese that approves liturgies for the blessing of same sex relationships.
In addition, the bishops noted that there are Sudanese “diaspora congregations” that are originally from the Church of South Sudan and the Sudan, but are currently under TEC dioceses and parishes that support same-sex blessings and marriages. The Sudanese House of Bishops encouraged these congregations to join the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) wherever possible.
Archbishop Foley Beach commended the Sudanese House of Bishops, “Despite the ravages of war and the suffering of their people, they are courageously committed to standing on the historic teachings of the Bible and Anglican Church. I look forward to deepening our partnership for the cause of Jesus Christ.”
This announcement, from the Anglican Church in Sudan, of its recent acceptance of ACNA and rejection of TEC as mission partners in North America, will not come as much of a surprise to those Anglicans aware of the ACS policy on Same-Sex Relationships – as being contrary to biblical understanding.
Along with other Provinces of the Anglican Communion belonging to the conservative GAFCON group, that have already severed themselves from TEC and welcomed ACNA as a mission partner in the US and Canada; the Anglican Church in the Sudan (both North and South) have made plain their objection to any recognition of LGBTQ people as being a legitimate part of the Anglican ethos of their own respective (or any other) jurisdictions.
Rejection of LGBTQ people, for such conservative provinces of the Anglican Communion, is not a sin, but merely a consequence of their belief in an exclusive binary sexuality culture, that restricts sex to the purpose of procreation, rather than a God-given means of expressing human love at a basic level – that may include the intentional avoidance of the consequences of procreation.
In the final paragraph of this statement; Foley Beach (Head of ACNA) – whose picture appears above with the Sudanese Primate – speaks of the Sudanese Church (and, by implication, the ACNA and GAFCON) as “Committed to standing on the historic teachings of the Bible and Anglican Church” – not realising that paradigms can change, with context and time, in ways that need to be addressed for the sake of social cohesion, human justice and integrity.
No doubt Mr Foley will have visited each of the GAFCON Primates, in order to ensure that ACNA is adequately represented at the upcoming Canterbury Meeting of the Anglican Communion Primates. Just how these liaisons – between ACNA and the GAFCON Primates – will work out for their future co-operation has yet to be seen. However, the rest of the Provinces of the ACC will just have to manage without the provinces that refuse to associate with those of us who just want to further the Inclusive Ministry of Christ and the Gospel to ALL people.
(n.b. Mr Foley has been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to be present before the official meeting of the Primates gets underway. This will give him an opportunity to meet with the Primates – an opportunity denied to TEC’s Bishop Gene Robinson, to meet with fellow bishops at 2008 Lambeth.)
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand