In ‘Crying Wolf’ on the issue of the Church of England’s acceptance of Same-Sex Blessings, some Anglicans in the Global South (GSFA) are already blaming the mother Church of England for GSFA’s schismatic threat to sever its constituent Anglican Provinces from the Mother Church of England – and therefore from the rest of the world-wide Anglican Communion. Though notionally separate from the more radical homophobic dissent of the GAFCON Churches, whose disdain for the A.C.C. was evident in their refusal to accept the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the 2022 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops from around the world; GSFA – Churches of the Global South (some of whose bishops WERE present at Lambeth, but failed to persuade the Conference to affirm the former homophobic content of Lambeth 1:10) – have now sided with GAFCON and the Australian Diocese of Sydney in their threat to leave the Anglican Communion – on the grounds of their own claim to ‘Anglican Orthodoxy’, based on an outdated theology of ‘Sola Scriptura’, which, in a few selected verses appears to condemn intimate same-sex relationships – despite an O.T. refence to the relationship between David and Jonathan; which the Patriarch described as superior to that of men with women – despite his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba
Schism is actually the intentional departure of a section of the Church from its parent body. Therefore, the claim that the Church of England is responsible for GSFA’s threatened departure from the A.C.C., is an egregious avoidance of the actual situation. This reminds me of a notice I once saw in the rear window of a car: “Feeling the absence of God? Guess who moved!”
Here is a copy of the contentious article about the situation, published on the oxymoronically-name “Anglican MAINSTREAM” blog, which because of its denigration of the ANGLICAN COMMUNION Churches – including the Church of England – ought to be re-named “ANGLICAN SLIPSTREAM” – which more truly describes its combative conservative preoccupation with an alternative theological stance on sexuality and gender realities from that of most other Anglicans remaining loyal to their Lambeth/Canterbury foundation while yet affirming the new understanding of the inclusive nature of the Mission of Christ’s Church in the reconciliation and redemption of the whole world to God.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
Archbishop of Canterbury ‘risks break-up of Anglican Communion’ over gay marriage
Conservative bishops warn of split if General Synod votes to bless same-sex unions next month
ByGabriella Swerling, SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR24 January 2023 • 6:30pm
The Archbishop of Canterbury risks breaking up the Anglican Communion over same-sex marriage blessings that “rewrite God’s law”, conservative bishops from around the world have warned.
The Most Rev Justin Welby, has sparked division between the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The row came after Church of England bishops rejected calls to conduct same-sex marriages and instead announced proposals to bless those who have already had civil marriage or partnership ceremonies. The recommendations will be debated at the General Synod, the Church’s legislative body, from Feb 6 to 9.
The proposals have prompted anger from the conservative Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), which represents churches on every continent.
It has criticised the Archbishop, warning that if the General Synod vote to bless same-sex marriages, the Church of England will violate the “clear and canonical teaching of the Bible”, which would “inevitably lead to a re-configuration and a restructuring of the communion as we currently know it”.
The Most Rev Justin Badi Arama, Primate of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and the GSFA chairman, described the blessings as “a farcical compromise” and said:“If Synod votes to back the bishops’ recommendations, then it is foreseeable that several Global South provinces will also be in impaired communion with the Church of England.”
His comments came as the Most Rev Welby prepares to make a historic visit to South Sudan with Pope Francis and Rev Iain Greenshields, the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, next week.
Lambeth Palace confirmed on Tuesday that he would be hosted by the Primate of South Sudan during the trip and “looks forward to spending time with Archbishop Badi and the leaders and congregations of the Anglican Church of South Sudan”.
The Rev Paul Eddy, a spokesman for the GSFA, said that if the Synod voted in favour of the blessings, then the Archbishop of Canterbury would be the first in history “to take the Church of England out of the Anglican Communion – it’s that radical”.
He added: “The Church of England missionaries went across the world planting churches and evangelising. It founded the Anglican Communion as we know it, so he’d be rewriting centuries of history. If Welby goes ahead with this decision, it will lead to the break-off of the Church of England from the Anglican Communion.”
Tensions within the communion, which represent 85 million Anglicans worldwide, came to a head at last year’s Lambeth Conference in Canterbury. The conference, which same-sex spouses were barred from attending, was dominated by divisions and debate over same-sex marriage.
Jayne Ozanne, a General Synod member and LGBT+ campaigner who has tabled a motion to overturn the Church’s ban on same-sex marriage, accused the GSFA of “holding the Church to ransom with their homophobic rhetoric that puts many innocent lives at risk”.
She said: “In the Book of Acts, God tells Peter never to call those he has created impure or unclean, particularly those who by their birth and nature are different, neither should they. It is unbiblical and un-Christian.”
On Tuesday, the Most Rev Welby revealed the personal toll the debate had taken on him, telling Sky News that equality campaigners say “we’ve got it wrong as a Church” and that blessings do not go far enough.
He said: “I’m getting equal amounts of flak from the other side about having compromised traditional Christian standards.” Asked whether he found it difficult that he could not bless same sex unions, he said it was “uncomfortable, personally”.
Last week, the Archbishop said he was “extremely joyful” at proposals that would allow clergy to offer blessings in churches following a civil marriage or partnership, but would not personally conduct the blessings in order to remain a figure of “unity” for the Anglican Communion.
In contrast, the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, second in command of the Church of England, said he would personally bless same-sex marriages.
Speaking in the Commons following an urgent question on the bishops’ proposals, Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said: “Nothing made it harder for me to come out as a gay Anglican than the Church’s teaching on sexual orientation and human sexuality.
“And in the end, I made the choice that I think many young gay Anglicans did, of choosing to be myself and choosing not to go to church.”
Mr Streeting said the prayers proposed by bishops may be “beautiful” but “do not go far enough to bridging that divide and closing that distance between Christians and their God”.