In a very controversial Statement made by the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (below), Archbishop Badi, of South Sudan, insists on using the provocative phrase ‘Orthodox Anglican‘ to describe the stance of people from his own provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion on matters of gender and sexuality. Just who gave this proud prelate (and his followers in the G.S. and GAFCON) authority to describe their particular Con/Evo version of Anglicanism as ‘orthodox’ one has to wonder? Contrarily, most of the provinces of the Anglican Communion have left behind the outdated and morally-suspect aspects of former sexism and homophobia contained in Lambeth 1:10 (1998), which, for instance, forbade any support for the Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships.
Now that Same-sex Marriage has been made legal in many countries of the world (some, even, in countries located in the global South), such a negative non-pastoral view of same-sex relationships is no longer in step with what the outside world expects – or even deserves – from the Church. To continue to support a hermeneutic that overlooks the reality of a different social and scientific view from that existing when the Biblical passages on such matter were written, is to deny the facts on the ground – which demand a more just and compassionate treatment of the people involved, many of whom are devout Christians, just like their heterosexual friends.
However, in a determined effort to keep all provinces of the Anglican Communion together, while yet holding contrasting understanding of human gender and sexual variation from the binary ‘norm’; the Archbishop of Canterbury has, inadvertently, I believe, left the way open for Bishops in the Global South (notably, NOT South Africa which has a similar view to Churches in the West on LGBTQI+ membership in the Church) to make a stand on its own in support of the original Lambeth 1:10.
From the text below, it will be seen that the G.S. Bishops intend to meet together with the GAFCON Bishops at some point in the near future, to discuss their common purpose in upholding Lambeth 1:10, and in proclaiming an identity of ‘Orthodoxy‘ – presumably in contrast with what they see as the ‘unorthodoxy’ if the rest of us in the Anglican Communion. How that will help in the ABC’s hope for a continuation of the traditional Anglican ‘Unity in Diversity‘ ethos is yet to be seen.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
ORTHODOX BISHOPS AT THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE REAFFIRM LAMBETH I.10 AS ANGLICAN TEACHING ON MARRIAGE & SEXUALITY
Issued by the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches
ORTHODOX BISHOPS AT THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE REAFFIRM LAMBETH 1.10 AS ANGLICAN TEACHING ON MARRIAGE & SEXUALITY
ORTHODOX BISHOPS attending the Lambeth Conference have reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10 as the ‘official teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality’, and now a process will be initiated by the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) to allow Primates and bishops who did not attend this Lambeth Conference to do so.
On Tuesday (AUG2), the GSFA launched a fresh opportunity for bishops at the University of Kent campus, Canterbury, to reaffirm the 1998 Resolution teaching. Doing so was consistent with GSFA’s priority of calling the whole Communion back to biblical faithfulness. It also restores the normative way the Communion should decide on its doctrine and the practices that follow – through ALL bishops or Primates meeting in council.
Re-affirming Lambeth 1.10 was a clarion call to base the Communion’s ethical teaching on Holy Scripture.
Bishops were provided a two-page summary of the issues, including a copy of the original 1998 Resolution, which was voted on by a majority vote of 526 to 70 bishops (45 abstentions). This week, bishops were invited to agree to one additional line: “that this conference (f) Urges that renewed steps be taken to ensure that all Provinces abide by this doctrine in their faith, order & practice.”
As of 1pm today (AUG7), 125 bishops from 21 provinces, representing 7,872,629 Anglicans at the Conference, had signed up to reaffirm. (Details by Province shown in the Appendix below). It is important to note that the provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda – whose primates and bishops did not attend the Conference – account for some 27 to 30-million Anglicans in the Communion.
The GSFA schedule for launching the Resolution and collating results was delayed due to deferred meetings during the Conference and reliance on Wi-Fi for delegates to sign up. The GSFA says it will therefore update the number of bishops signing up to reaffirm. It will also develop a process for those primates and bishops who, for a variety of reasons, did not attend the 2022 Conference to indicate their reaffirmation.
GSFA Primates believe the Lambeth 1.10 reaffirmation marks the start of a ‘resetting’ of the Anglican Communion back to its biblical roots.
After the Lambeth Conference draws to a close today, further announcements shall be made by the GSFA head office in Singapore. All bishops have been assured of the confidentiality of the voting process, and that their name will always remain anonymous. At lunchtime today, the process by which bishops voted (the taking a photo of their official Lambeth Conference Pass, and emailing it to a dedicated email address, with a note of the number of worshipers under their episcopal care) was Independently verified.
Debbie Buggs, who is a Chartered Accountant individually checked all email reaffirmations to ensure the information was accurately transferred from email to the official record, and that each affirmation recorded has been validated by a relevant Bishop’s Lambeth Conference Pass.
Miss Buggs said: “I can confirm that the numbers recorded correctly summarise the reaffirmations and the data provided. Each submission has been validated by a photograph of the relevant Bishop’s Conference Pass.”
Archbishop Justin Badi, Primate of South Sudan and Chairman of the GSFA said: “I give thanks to God for all the bishops who have reaffirmed Lambeth 1.10 – in its entirety – as the official teaching of the Anglican Communion on Marriage and Sexuality. We have been greatly encouraged by the bishops throughout the world at this Conference who have expressed their support, in whatever form, for the Communion to be governed by Biblical authority.”
“Lambeth Resolution I.10 is rooted in Holy Scripture, to which Anglicans look for the basis of our common life and order.
“The GSFA bishops came to this Conference just over a week ago with four aims:
● to foster the Unity of the Orthodox,
● to sound a ‘Clarion Call’ to Biblical Faithfulness, including seeking the ‘re-affirmation of Lambeth 1.10’ as the ‘official teaching’ of the Anglican Church on marriage and sexuality,
● to stand by our principle of not being a ‘breakaway group’ from the Anglican Communion – but being a part of the ‘holy remnant’ that God has preserved in the Anglican Communion, and
● to spur on the faithful in the Communion to get the Gospel out into the world
“We gave thanks to God that by His grace, and in His strength, we return home having started to fulfil these priorities which shall remain our core priorities as a fellowship as we move forward.
“GSFA shall update member churches, and others in due course. We intend to keep up our continued participation in shaping the Communion for the future, and to step up our work of mission and ministry in a world of great need. We are looking forward to our first GSFA Global Assembly, under our new Covenantal Structure, in 2024.”