In a world where homophobia and sexism have been discovered to be the primary basis for schismatic activity in Churches around the world – including the Provincial Churches of the worldwide Anglican Communion which looks to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference for a sense of both catholic and protestant faith in action – some of the Anglican Churches in Africa have separated themselves out from the Church of England and the rest of the Provincial Churches, refusing to accept the modern world’s understanding of gender and sexuality as anything more than a binary concept.
The GAFCON group of Churches – mostly continental African (excluding South Africa) but including other scattered ‘dioceses’ which are part and parcel of Gafcon – have formed their own quasi-Anglican group, which subscribes to its very own ‘Jerusalem Statement’ that draws largely on the antique provenance of the ’39 Articles of Faith’ drawn up by the Church of England as a post-Reformation guide to religious observance for that Church in the 17th century! However, what mostly drives the schismatic tendency of its membership is the desire to retain the unjust structures that had once flourished in the Church (and the World of earlier generations) which criminalised sexual behaviour that did not conform to the solely binary (heterosexual) majority designed by the Creator for the purpose of procreation.
Loving relationships between Same-Sex couples that are now understood by the majority to be capable of producing all of the benefits of normal family life – except for the procreation of children – are regarded by GAFCON and its associated conservative Church communities as being anti-social, aberrant, sinful, and ‘against Scripture’ – an idea which conflicts with the judgement of society, which, in many countries of the world, has now enacted legislation to provide for civil marriage status for such couples, and the right to adopt children on the same basis as other stable married relationships.
The current controversy in the Anglican world follows upon the Ghanaian Government’s decision to enact legislation that would enhance the criminalisation of LGBTQI people in Ghana – a situation which the Leaders of the Anglican Church in Ghana have decided to actively support (in contravention of the ACC (Anglican Communion) Resolution to support the DE-CRIMINALISATION of such people.
The article below, published in a recent edition of https://premierchristian.news/ by journalist Alex Collet, describes one of the results of the action of the Anglican Church in Ghana; where 3 priests of the Church of England who had held Honorary Canonries decided to resign these posts – in protest at the decision by the Ghanaian Church to support further criminalisation of the Gay Community there.
Predictably – in view of his anti-Anglican (pro-GAFCON) stance – journalist David Virtue on his misleadingly-named website https://virtueonline.org/ (advertised as being “The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism’) – this North American (ex-Kiwi) commentator has been quick to pour his customary vitriol-on-line, in which he manages to denigrate, not only the 3 Anglican clergy involved, but also the Archbishop of Canterbury for not supporting the Ghanaian Church’s homophobic stance.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
Three London priests resign honorary roles at Ghanaian cathedral over bishops’ support for anti-LGBT laws
By Alex Collett
January 14, 2022
Three priests from the Diocese of Southwark have resigned as honorary canons of a Ghanaian cathedral in response to the Ghanaian bishops’ apparent support for criminalisation of LGBTQ + people.
Vicar of St John the Divine with St James the Apostle, Kennington Rev Mark Williams, Rev Angus Aagaard the team rector of North Lambeth and Rev Jonathan Sedgwick, the rector of St George the Martyr with St Aphege and St Jude, Southwark have all given up their roles.
In a parish email newsletter, Rev Mark Williams, wrote: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that I have resigned as a Canon of Asante Mampong Cathedral in Ghana.
“A draft bill has been presented in the parliament in Ghana criminalising LGBTQ+ people and those who support them.
“Unfortunately the churches have felt under pressure to support this Bill and they have done so.
“Following several weeks of discussion with the Archbishop of Ghana, the support of the church for the Bill has not changed in the public domain, and this left me and two other Ghanaian canons in the Diocese of Southwark with no other choice but to resign.
“This fills me with enormous sadness given my association with the Church in Ghana over some 17 years.
“Please pray for Ghana, and for all those affected by this proposed changed in the law.”
Many bishops in the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury have expressed their concern about the support for the Bill.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury later apologised for having commented without first speaking to the Ghanaian archbishop.
He told the General Synod in November that the Anglican Church in Ghana did not, contrary to reports, endorse the proposed criminalisation of the LGBTQ+ community in the Bill a statement not yet confirmed in the public domain by the Ghanaian bishops.