Bishops from around the world gather for a group photo at the University of Kent during the 15th Lambeth Conference, in Canterbury, England, July 29, 2022. Friction has been simmering within the global Anglican Communion for many years over its 42 provinces’ sharp differences on whether to recognize same-sex marriage and ordain LGBTQ clergy. In 2022, the divisions have widened, as conservative bishops — notably from Africa and Asia — affirmed their opposition to LGBTQ inclusion and demanded “repentance” by the more liberal provinces with inclusive policies. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP, File)NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) — Conservative Anglican archbishops in Africa are challenging a decision by the Church of England to allow clergy to bless same sex couples’ marriages, warning that the move puts the worldwide Anglican Communion in further jeopardy.
The leaders are reacting to the Feb. 9 vote at the Church of England’s General Synod to permit the offering of prayers and liturgies at civil marriages. The compromise measure included the church’s desire to “lament and repent” its failure “to welcome LGBTQI+ people and for the harm that LGBTQI+ people have experienced — and continue to experience — in churches.”
The church has not changed its doctrine that marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman, but the archbishops of Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria are rejecting the decision to bless the unions as contrary to the teaching of the Bible.
The Church of England joined the Episcopal Church of America, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church of Brazil and a few other member churches in recognizing all civil marriages.
The archbishops, who together represent more than 35 million Anglicans, posted their responses to the Church of England’s decision on their diocesan websites.
“The Church of England is very good at making contradictory statements and expecting everyone to believe both can be true at the same time. That’s what they have done with this decision,” said Archbishop Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu of Uganda in his statement.
Archbishop Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu of Uganda in 2020. Photo courtesy of the Church of Uganda
Kaziimba said that despite the English church’s insi …