Former Queen’s Chaplain Resigns his Orders in the C.of E.

Former Queen’s Chaplain Gavin Ashenden quits ‘liberal’ Church of England

A former Queen’s chaplain has quit as a Church of England priest after a long-running objection to what he saw as the liberalising trend of the CofE.

Canon Gavin Ashenden made the unusual move of resigning his orders on Friday, Christian Today can reveal, leaving more than 35 years of ordained ministry.

Gavin Ashenden used to present the BBC’s weekly Faith and Ethics radio programme and was a member of general synod for 20 years.ashenden.org
An ardent conservative on both sexuality and women priests, Rev Ashenden confirmed to Christian Today he had signed the ‘deed of relinquishment’ under the Clerical Disabilities Act 1870. This starts a six-month interim period before he officially leaves the Church.

He declined to comment on the move until his six-month waiting time is up.

It comes after the long-standing critic of the Church left his post as Queen’s chaplain in January following a row over a Quran reading in Glasgow Cathedral. The Shropshire-based priest criticised the decision by Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, for inviting a reading from the Islamic holy book at the Epiphany service on January 6.

‘After a conversation instigated by officials at Buckingham Palace, I decided the most honourable course of action was to resign,’ he said at the time pointing to ‘a very important convention that the Queen should not be drawn into publics affairs where she is deemed to be taking a position’.

His decision to leave ministry in the Church could lead others to follow suit. A number of conservative Anglicans have voiced their concern about the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for a ‘radical, new Christian inclusion’ after a report maintaining a largely conservative stance on sexuality was rejected by the CofE’s ruling general synod.

‘There is no sign the Church of England is going to reconsider its policy of accommodation with the secular culture,’ Ashenden said in a previous interview with Christian Today. ‘It has abandoned certain key and apostolic norms,’ he added, warning the CofE would collapse within decades because of its refusal to adhere to conservative Christianity.

He contrasted the year-on-year decline in England with the rapidly growing churches in Russia and China and said the difference was they had ‘not made an accommodation with the culture’. He said in the January interview: ‘There are two kinds of Anglicanism. A secular Anglicanism and a traditional biblical Anglicanism. ‘I see myself and others as very soon having to make a choice.’  He described himself as ‘in limbo’ between the CofE and other Anglican churches around the world.

‘I certainly look at worldwide Anglicanism and I associate myself with some parts of the Anglican church that have kept the biblical faith. And I increasingly disassociate myself with parts like the Church of England.’

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If this article from the publication ‘CHRISTIAN TODAY’ seems like an explosive burst of conservative annoyance with the current trajectory of the Church of England; then it does reflect a certain minority trend within that Church that has set itself against any openness towards the revision of institutional sexism, Islamophobia, and homophobia that has prevented it from preaching the Gospel of inclusion to people in the modern era.

In his recent diatribe against the Cathedral of St. Mary’s, Glasgow, for allowing a Muslim Quran Reading to take place during a joint service of worship, the Revd. Gavin Ashenden found himself at odds with the Buckingham Palace authorities, causing him to resign his post as a chaplain to the Queen. In his interview with ‘Christian Today’ He makes this observation about his dissatisfaction with the Church of England:

“There is no sign the Church of England is going to reconsider its policy of accommodation with the secular culture. It has abandoned certain key and apostolic norms,’ he added, warning the CofE would collapse within decades because of its refusal to adhere to conservative Christianity.”

Known to be uncomfortable with both women’s ordination and the accommodation of LGBTI people in the Church’s ministry and mission – as well as its openness to dialogue with other religions – Mr. Ashendon seems to be aligning himself with the likes of ACNA and the GAFCON Provinces of the Anglican Communion, whose militant opposition to the more inclusive culture of the Church of England and other Western Provinces of the Church – like TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada, who have ordained both women and gay ordinands into their Churches – has led them into a culture of separatism from the Canterbury-led Communion.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Local Catholics have a say on Rome’s Representative

Priests and lay Catholics consulted

Priests and lay Catholics are being consulted over who Rome’s next Vicar General will be.

This is the first time a consultation process has been set up for this purpose.

Usually the Pope is completely responsible for choosing the Vicar General.

The current Vicar General, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, is 77. He will retire mid next month.

Roman priests and lay Catholics have until 12 April to make “suggestions on the profile of the next vicar and also eventually several names”.

In all, 36 leaders of the Roman diocese are involved in the consultation process.

The diocese includes 334 parishes and caters for 2.8 million people.

Fr Luc Forestier, director of the Institute of Religious Studies at the Catholic Institute of Paris says although “consultation before appointing a bishop is, in itself, something quite normal,” the current consultation is unusual.

He says its novelty is that “it has taken place publicly among all the faithful even if they are not widely informed”.

Source

  • La Croix
  • Image: Watson CPA Group
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Another change of image for the world-wide Roman Catholic Church under Pope Francis!

Where, formerly, the reigning Pontiff reserved the right to appoint, without consultation from the local people,  his representatives as Papal delegates to different parts of the Church; this new initiative makes plain that Pope Francis is keen on promoting a degree of collegiality in appointments and administration that was hitherto unthinkable.

In granting to the faithful laity and clergy in New Zealand a say in whom they might prefer to represent the Pope in their part of the world; Pope Francis is sending a very clear message that – on his watch as Supreme Pontiff of the worldwide Catholic Church – he will welcome input from the people directly affected by the appointment of his Papal Delegate.

This move is totally in line with the Pope’s wish for a greater degree of collegiality among the bishops of the Church, and his desire for local consultation on matters pertaining to the administration of the Church’s business – which, primarily, is to bring the redeeming message of the Gospel to every creature – not as an imposition from ‘above’, but rather as an exercise requiring total involvement from the grass roots. This move will encourage every Roman Catholic to realise they have a share in the work of the Gospel.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch

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Bishop unpacks Archbishops’ invitation

11 March 2017

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Design Group meets for ‘Lambeth 2020’

Lambeth Design Group puts down foundations for Lambeth 2020 planning

Posted on: March 10, 2017 1:47 PM

Related Categories: Other News

The Lambeth Design Group has been meeting this week at the Anglican Communion Office in London, to plan for Lambeth 2020. The group, coming together for the first time, has been chaired by the Archbishop of Capetown, Thabo Makgoba, who described the initial sessions as “very encouraging.” An early decision was to fix the venue for Canterbury, starting in the last week of July, 2020.

Among those taking part was the Bishop of Nairobi, Joel Waweru Mwangi, the Bishop of Sabah, Melter Jiki Tais, the Bishop of Dallas, Dr George Sumner, the Moderator of the Church of North India and Bishop of Amritsar, Pradeep Samantaroy, the Revd Dr Robert Heaney of Virginia Theological Seminary, Mrs Josephine Mujawiyera from Rwanda and Ms Cathrine Ngangira, a member of the Community of St Anselm at Lambeth Palace.

ACNS LC Design Grp 1

Archbishop Thabo described the atmosphere as robust: “We didn’t gloss over the issues before us and we acknowledged we can only do it through the prayers of others and through an interrogation of the missional issues before us.” Archbishop Thabo said the theme that emerged for Lambeth 2020, God’s Church for God’s world, would encourage a celebration of difference: “I am humbled by the fact that in spite of the challenges there are people that are willing to celebrate the gift of the Anglican Communion and the fact that we were addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, that is an affirmation of the process.”

ACNS LC Design Grp 3

Bishop Samantaroy described the theme of “God’s Church for God’s world as “inclusive and contemporary – because it gives room to include a lot of issues and is theologically very rich; I am hopeful the ambience of Lambeth 2020 will be a celebration of our diversity.”Josephine Mujawiyera said the week showed that whilst “we are all different in the Church,  we can talk the same language. Everyone here has been concerned about Lambeth 2020 and tackling the issues that are affecting the Communion.There is  a feeling that the group is responsible for and working towards the success of Lambeth 2020. We have a desire that the outcome of 2020 should be a strengthening of the Communion, despite our differences.” The Revd Robert Heaney said there was  a good spirit in the room and that difficult issues weren’t avoided: “As followers of Jesus how can we not have hope –  even amid conflict and differences?” Cathrine Ngangira, in her early twenties, from Zimbabwe said it was really exciting to be part of the group : “When I received the invitation to be part of this I thought maybe it was a dream. Walking into morning prayer on the first day I shivered. Being the only young person I am positively looking forward to working in this team and to the conference. I feel this is going to be exciting.  But not easy. However this week, what we have managed to cover, I am encouraged by the coming together and the fellowship -we have become more like family. We come from all these different places and this week we have shaped the structure of how we are going to get to Lambeth 2020.”

 

ACNS LC Design Grp 4

Archbishop Thabo said the role of spouses at Lambeth 2020 was also being examined,with the possibility of them being brought more into the mainstream of proceedings rather than having a parallel programme – “to reflect that we do ministry together and that spouses help Bishops to fulfil their ministry.”

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon said:  “the team, coming from diverse cultural backgrounds,  blended very well. The half-day retreat with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the midday Eucharist helped to get us focused on Christ and His Church of which the Communion is a part. I praise the Lord for what we were able to achieve even at this first meeting.I am encouraged and hopeful of bigger and better things ahead.”

Archbishop Thabo:“God is smiling because there is a group of dedicated Episcopalians and Anglicans from all over the Anglican Communion, put together by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Secretary General, who are committed to birthing an innovative, creative Lambeth Conference, where we could listen to each other under God and in our own contexts and commit, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to participate in what God is up to in the world.”

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I can’t think of anyone better than the Archbishop of Capetown. Primate of the Anglican Church of South Africa, ++ Thabo Makgoba, to Chair the first meeting of the Lambeth 2020 Design Group in London, recently. The successor of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his post as Primate of A.C.S.A., and member of the Primates’ Council of the world-wide Anglican Communion, Archbishop Thabo is a stand-alone supporter in the Global South of the new inclusivism that most Western Provinces of the Communion seek to encourage in the future mission of the Churches of our Communion.

Whether, or not, the members of the GAFCON Provinces of the Communion; who have conjured up their own ‘Primates Council’ – constituted separately from the ACC Primates Council, because of their opposition to the more liberal interpretation of Scripture relating to gender and sexuality issues embraced by the non-Global South Provinces –  will choose to attend ‘LAMBETH 2020’ is yet to be ascertained. However, that the Archbishop of Canterbury, ‘Primus-inter-pares’ of the Anglican Communion The Rt. Revd Justin Welby is hopeful that there will be no ‘non-starters’ at this newly-called Lambeth Conference cannot be doubted.

Of course, no ‘Design group’, of itself, can hope to determine the future of the Anglican Communion. But if this first meeting is anything to go by; its participants are keen to do what they can to repair the damage done in the Communion by separatist activities in the GAFCON Provinces; by seeking ways to accommodate the cultural differences that so obviously exist between the Global South and Western Provinces of the Church on matters of gender and sexuality that have so polarised the differing understandings of how best the Anglican Communion might co-exist into the future.

The prayers of all of us will need to be exercised in order to bring about the good fruits of a desire for unity that has been expressed by so many of us – despite differences of opinion and threats of schism on matters that affects our common humanity.

“Jesus, mercy; Mary, pray!”

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Pope Francis and Married Priests

Married men’s ordination open for consideration

Married men’s ordination could be considered as a solution to the lack of vocations, Pope Francis says.

In his first ever interview with a German newspaper yesterday, Francis discussed his attitude to the consecration of married men.

He said the shortage of priests around the world is an “enormous problem” that must be resolved.

At the same time though, he said “Voluntary celibacy is not the answer” to resolving the lack of clergy.

Instead, he stressed the importance of prayer to overcome the vocations crisis.

If the current regulation of celibacy for priests were changed and married men were considered, Francis said those selected would need to be viri probati, married men proven in faith and virtue.

The tasks these men would undertake would also need to be decided, he said.

The Church already allows some married non-Catholic clergymen who become Catholics to be ordained priests.

Furthermore, in some places – like Mexico – married deacons, selected by their bishops, are filling the roles of priests in areas where there are none.

Source

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Here is the latest news of Pope Francis dealing with the prospect of fewer priestly vocations in the Roman Catholic Church. In his interview with a German news source, the Pope raises the possibility of including married men amongst the candidates for priestly ordination in the Catholic Church.

Of course, there are already married men serving in Roman Catholic parishes around the world – including those ex-Anglican priests who renounced their Anglican Orders to be re-ordained in the Catholic Church; mostly on the issue of women being ordained in the Anglican Churches. 

That Pope Francis is determined to bring renewal to the Catholic Church in ways that are decidedly uncomfortable for some of its conservatives is now becoming more obvious. Here is one indication of the unrest being stirred up by a small clique of U.S. conservatives, rallying support against the Supreme Pontiff – a now unknown but rarely exhibited form of protest:

Latest News:     Ultra conservative group in USA orchestrating proxy war with Pope

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, new Zealand

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S/S Marriage Blessing in the C. of E.

Lambeth Palace letter suggests ‘indistinguishable’ blessing after same-sex marriage

Madeleine Davies by Madeleine Davies ‘CHURCH TIMES’ Posted: 03 Mar 2017 @ 12:04
Click to enlarge

“Blessed”: Matthew and Richard Edwards on their wedding day last year. The couple went on to have a service at St Paul’s, Birmingham

A LETTER from Lambeth Palace has said that a church service after a same-sex marriage can be “almost indistinguishable from a wedding”.

The letter was written to Dr Richard and Matthew Edwards, who married last year in Birmingham Register Office. Both are members of the PCC at St Paul’s, Birmingham. Dr Edwards is the treasurer, and Matthew Edwards the vice-chair and a churchwarden. They have been together for five years, and got engaged in 2015. Before they married, they wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury for guidance.

The letter they received in response, written by the Archbishop’s correspondence secretary, Andrew Nunn, demonstrates the Church of England’s ambivalence on the question of same-sex marriage. He states: “marriage in an Anglican church is not an option for you.” On the other hand, he describes the practice of having a blessing in church after a civil ceremony. “The church ceremony can be arranged so as to be almost indistinguishable from a wedding, but without the legalities.”

A Lambeth Palace spokeswoman said on Wednesday: “The correspondence secretary was intending to refer to marriages and blessings which take place in denominations other than the Church of England.”

Mr Nunn writes that Archbishop Welby had been “shaken” by the reaction in the House of Lords to the Bishops’ opposition to the same-sex marriage legislation. Same-sex marriage had “become something of a shibboleth for those opposed to homosexuality more generally. . .”

He continues: “I am really sorry that you cannot have the church wedding that you want so much. However you get around the issue, I very much hope that your wedding is a happy and joyful occasion, and that your lives together are everything and more that you dream of.”

Dr and Mr Edwards went on to have a service at St Paul’s, conducted in front of 170 guests, in June last year (News, 17 June). It was, Dr Edwards said last week, “as close to the real deal as it could be, and we enjoyed every moment. I hope it encourages other gay couples to do the same — particularly whilst we wait for the day when they can do the legal bits, too. . .

“We wanted a church service for all of our family and friends, and for the choirs in which we sung and conducted to be involved, and to be able to sing sacred music. We wanted my mother, a lay reader, to lead some prayers, and we wanted Bible readings, not secular poems. The register office could offer none of this.” Tim Knight, a friend and composer, was commissioned to set to the text Ubi Caritas.

The service — “A service of thanksgiving following the marriage of Richard and Matthew” — was designed with the help of the Vicar, the Revd Mary Gilbert, and included a blessing of the rings.

Dr Edwards said that on the wedding day, Ms Gilbert put a rainbow flag up on the church flagpole, prompting another churchwarden to request its removal. The churchwarden resigned, and left the church shortly afterwards. It is understood that a complaint was made to the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, who said at the time that he was “in the process of establishing what occurred”. Dr Edwards said that he had been “shocked to the core” by this, having been unaware that any member of the congregation was unhappy about the service.

He has heard nothing from Bishop Urquhart, but understands that he wrote a brief letter to Ms Gilbert, passing on his good wishes. Neither the Bishop nor Ms Gilbert could not be reached to confirm this.

Both Dr Edwards and Mr Edwards were listed on OneBodyOneFaith’s Rainbow List, launched last week. Last week, Ben Franks, a member of the PCC at St Paul’s and a lay representative for Birmingham at the General Synod, said that the current guidance put clergy in a “very difficult situation, pastorally”. They were being approached by “faithful committed Christians” in same-sex relationships who wanted to “feel welcome and affirmed in the eyes of the congregation, and in the eyes of God”.

Clergy would like to be able to offer prayers, but, he said, “there isn’t really a definition of what that means”. While he thought it was unlikely that an authorised liturgy would be forthcoming, he believes that there is “room for a commended liturgy”.

In October, St Paul’s launched a monthly “Rainbow Eucharist” service.

Dr Edwards believes that the current guidance from the Bishops, which prohibits a blessing in church, is “homophobic. It does not recognise the love which we share. . . It saddens us, but we were very blessed to have such a caring and understanding priest in Mary.”

He welcomed the Archbishops’ recent letter, but said that it “seems a bit late. I will, however, take them at their word, and watch the next stages closely. . . I do hope there will be tangible and valued involvement of real gay people.”

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Last week’s CHURCH TIMES revealed the existence of a Letter from Lambeth Palace, in response to a letter from Dr.Matthew and Mr.Richard Edwards – written before their Civil Marriage – suggesting that a Church Blessing could be virtually indistinguishable from a Marriage liturgy. The Palace response, by the Archbishop’s correspondence secretary, Andrew Nunn, was described in the article in this way:

“marriage in an Anglican church is not an option for you.” On the other hand, he describes the practice of having a blessing in church after a civil ceremony. “The church ceremony can be arranged so as to be almost indistinguishable from a wedding, but without the legalities.”

The result was that the couple were given a post-wedding ceremony in the local church in which both were active parishioners:

“Dr and Mr Edwards went on to have a service at St Paul’s, conducted in front of 170 guests, in June last year (News, 17 June). It was, Dr Edwards said last week, “as close to the real deal as it could be, and we enjoyed every moment. I hope it encourages other gay couples to do the same, particularly whilst we wait for the day when they can do the legal bits too.We wanted a church service for all of our family and friends, and for the choirs in which we sang and conducted to be involved, and to be able to sing sacred music. We wanted my mother, a lay reader, to lead some prayers, and we wanted Bible readings, not secular poems. The register office could offer none of this.”

‘Tim Knight, a friend and composer, was commissioned to set music to the text Ubi Caritas’.

The irony here is the choice of the special setting of ‘Ubi Caritas’ – words meaning “Where Charity and Love are; there is God” – a theme that fitted in perfectly with the ceremony offered by their local parish church. The Church of England, despite its proclamation of care and concern for faithful, committed relationship by same-sex couples in the Church, seems still unable to officially and openly embrace the prospect of ‘Same-Sex Blessings.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Global Anglicans for decriminalisation of LGBTI people

Anglicans are for the Decriminalization of LGBT People Worldwide

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of consensual same-gender intimacy in England and Wales, and the Church of England played a significant role in that historic achievement.

Maurice Tomlinson writes:

It was a 1955 Church committee report that proposed ending criminal sanctions for same-sex conduct, and this contributed to the government-appointed Wolfenden Committee (largely comprised of Anglicans) recommending decriminalization in 1959.

However, anti-gay laws still exist across the Commonwealth, and 38 of 53 countries maintain these archaic relics of British colonization. Church teaching inspired these dreadful statutes, but our beloved Church also called for their repeal, acting according to guiding tenets of Scripture. Consensus on decriminalization has proven difficult amongst independent Provinces because some senior clerics have argued that anti-sodomy laws are critical bulwarks against marriage-equality.

Yet a significant breakthrough occurred last year when the Primates met at Lambeth. The 38 Province heads agreed to the following statement against criminalization:

The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. This conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. The Primates reaffirmed their rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.

The Global Anglican Communion opposes criminal sanctions against LGBTI people. [1]

Archbishop Justin Welby stressed that the unanimous view of the Primates is that ‘the criminalization of LGBTIQ people is entirely wrong’ when he confronted President Mugabe of Zimbabwe of on this very issue.

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, says that for African Anglicans decriminalization is ‘the single most pressing issue around human sexuality’ and went on to say that:

The struggle for the legal, social, spiritual and physical safety of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is our issue in Nigeria and other places in Africa. The prophetic task for African Anglicans is to denounce violence and civil disabilities that are supported by members of our own communities and leadership.

He rightly says that African Anglicans must take a lead in this urgent task.

I am a Jamaican and as a Caribbean national challenging the anti-sodomy laws in the Caribbean, the only remaining such statutes in the Western hemisphere, I was overjoyed! These laws enshrine punishment ranging from ten years imprisonment in Jamaica to life imprisonment and hard labour in Barbados. Belize and Trinidad and Tobago also ban the entry of LGBT people.

Although largely unenforced in the Caribbean, anti-sodomy laws provide cover for homophobic abuses by state and non-state actors. For example, police often refuse to investigate anti-gay attacks because homosexuals are “unapprehended criminals.” I have also attended police stations to assist gays who were found in intimate positions and blackmailed by police officers. Home invasions and forceful evictions of gays are also common. Most worrying is the fact that the anti-sodomy laws directly contribute to a public health crisis, driving men who have sex with men (MSM) underground and away from effective HIV prevention, treatment, care and support interventions. As a result, Jamaica has the highest HIV prevalence rate amongst MSM in the western hemisphere (33%). Many of these men also have relationships with women to “mask” or “cure” their homosexuality, thus multiplying psychological and physical harms.

The resilience of these laws is due to religious influence. During the height of the AIDS epidemic, pastors defended the laws as proof of God’s punishment against gays and deemed them necessary to prevent the spread of HIV. This was erroneous and deadly, as the laws actually prevented life-saving HIV interventions from reaching MSM. This misguided “gays=AIDS” rhetoric has been replaced by fear mongering about the threat of marriage-equality despite the fact that marriage is not a major preoccupation in most Caribbean societies (e.g., ~85% of Jamaican children are born out of wedlock), and certainly Caribbean LGBT people have not been campaigning for marriage.

The Diocese of Belize had initially joined as an interested party to oppose a constitutional challenge to that country’s anti-sodomy law, but when the Chief Justice of Belize rightly struck down the statue last year the diocese did not join in an appeal. Sadly, the appeal was mounted by our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters who astonishingly argued that the law was necessary because, inter alia, they deem Belize to be a theocracy. In 2017, their position is incomprehensible.

Thankfully, the Archbishop of the West Indies and Anglican Bishop of Barbados subsequently issued a statement condemning faiths that demean LGBT people, and reaffirmed that the Anglican Church supports all children of God, regardless of sexual orientation.

Archbishop John Holder is not alone. Courageous Anglicans such as Fr Sean Major-Campbell in Jamaica, who washed the feet of lesbians on World Human Rights Day 2014 and Alice Mogwe, who has defended the rights of LGBT people in Botswana, have taken up the cause. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, says that he would rather go to hell than serve a homophobic God.

Responding to misinformation about decriminalization and the Primates’ statement, Anglicans for Decriminalization was formed in late 2016 to spread the good news about the Primates’ call for decriminalization across our 85 million+ Communion. We are also encouraging signatures for a petition supporting decriminalization, which will be presented to all governments where anti-gay laws exist and the Anglican Church has a witness. We have had encouraging notes from across the Communion, including from the Bishops of the Upper Shire in Malawi, Accra in Ghana, Guyana, and Kingston, Jamaica. This year I will be meeting with The secretary General of the Anglican Communion to identify ways that we can collaborate on decriminalization work.

Fifty years is a long time to wait for the end of an unjust law, especially one that destroys lives.

We pray that, in 2017, the Anglican Church globally will finish the work started by the Church of England so long ago.

It is time for justice, and for all Anglicans to support decriminalization.  

To learn more about Anglicans for Decriminalization, email anglicansfordecriminalization@outlook.com.

Maurice Tomlinson is a Jamaican lawyer, law lecturer and HIV and LGBTI activist.  He fled to Canada after receiving death threats for his work and is now a senior policy analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.  At the Legal Network Maurice continues his collaboration with Caribbean groups to challenge anti-gay laws and attitudes across the region. Maurice was the inaugural winner if the David Kato Vision and Voice Award which honours the slain Ugandan LGBTI activist.  Maurice is an parishoner at St. Jude’s Anglican, Oakville in the diocese of Niagara and his partner, the Captain the Rev. Tom Decker, is a Anglican chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces.

 

[1]The Primates of the Anglican Communion have consistently condemned ‘the victimisation and diminishment’ of any person due to their sexuality and in 2007 they supported the Don’t Throw Stones Statement. This was endorsed by the ACC in Jamaica in 2009 and confirmed by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion later that year. The time has come to put these fine words into action. The Primates’ Meeting in Dublin in 2011 condemned the homophobic murder of David Kato in Uganda.

The Primate of Wales was unable to attend and the Primate of Uganda had left before the communiqué was issued.

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This article, written by a Jamaican Anglican, refers to statements made by prominent Anglicans in Jamaica and elsewhere – including the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Rt. Revd. Justin Welby – that have specifically condemned homophobia and sexism that still persists in certain Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion – especially, in this instance, in Jamaica in the West Indies Province. Fr.Maurice Tomlinson writes:

“Thankfully, the Archbishop of the West Indies and Anglican Bishop of Barbados issued a statement condemning faiths that demean LGBT people and reaffirmed that the Anglican Church supports all children of God, regardless of sexual orientation. Archbishop John Holder is not alone. Courageous Anglicans such as Fr Sean Major-Campbell in Jamaica, who washed the feet of lesbians on World Human Rights Day 2014 and Alice Mogwe, who has defended the rights of LGBT people in Botswana, have taken up the cause. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, says that he would rather go to hell than serve a homophobic God.”

Despite this evidence of official Anglican protests against the criminalisation of LGBTI people in member countries, the persecution still continues. The real question is, how long can such outdated understandings of human gender and sexuality continue to be fostered by Anglicans who are fellow members of the Anglican Communion?

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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