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LAMBETH: Anglican Fudge Over Sexuality Threatens Reconciliation and Unity

LAMBETH: Anglican Fudge Over Sexuality Threatens Reconciliation and Unity

By David W. Virtue in Canterbury
August 2, 2022

Clearly stung by constant questioning over Lambeth Resolution 1:10, Anglican leaders here are playing a high stakes game hoping that they will be able to paste over the binding Resolution, or change the narrative by focusing on bigger issues of climate change, inequality, safeguarding, evangelism and mission.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Primate of Southern Africa and Chair of the Lambeth Conference Design Group, appealed to listeners to move away from the issue and concentrate on other church issues. "A lot of attention needs to focus on inequality, climate change, evangelism and mission and the other calls. My hope is that the spirit of the conference is not just about not agreeing and agreeing, to have different perspectives and be prepared to wrestle with scripture. We are not yet there in agreeing on how to deal with human sexuality."

But where in scripture have they found that God blesses same sex behavior?

Bishop Tim Thornton, the Archbishop of Canterbury's personal assistant involved in the "Calls" here in Canterbury, reinforced that this conference was about meeting each other to listen and pray with each other. "This is not a legislative body. The provinces are autonomous."

Challenged by Global South bishops led by Sudanese Archbishop Justin Badi who are demanding that the bishops and the ABC reaffirm Lambeth Resolution 1:10, Thornton said, "I don't know, I am constantly saddened that the important issues are being crowded out by one single issue."

Thornton said they should not get hung up on one issue; but would they say that if the issue were the denial of the divinity of Christ?

Thornton said the "Call" sessions are confidential, so nothing would be revealed about what bishops say on the issue. Voting has been cancelled so no numbers would ever be known. "There is no plenary session nor separate plenary on Human Dignity," he said.

"The process we have designed allows all voices to be heard. Notes will go back to drafting groups to determine the mind of the groups."

When asked by a Church of England newspaper reporter asked how the conversation with Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda is going that affirms 1:10 as a priority, and how Archbishop Welby would respond; Archbishop Thabo, clearly threatened by the question said; "We are all wrestling with the experiences of God's people. Our hope is that the Bible study groups in their feedback written and verbal will enable the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council to hear the mind of the conference and come up with practical steps."

"We need to speak with each other not at each other," Thabo said.

He said that the issue of human dignity goes beyond the call of 1:10 and deals with legacies of colonialism and unjust economic systems.

"My appeal is to move beyond sexuality. We have no right to discriminate or change people. All are created equal, that is fundamental behind the Human Dignity call rather than debate. It is bigger than that. We must celebrate all God's gifts.

Questioned about the fact that Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda are all members of GAFCON, overlapping with the GSFA and the impact on the Lambeth Conference, Makgoba said that in engaging in mediation we must bring [to the table] all the elements to bring reconciliation. People must bring their issues; otherwise we are not able to find a way forward. I hope and believe we can focus on economic issues. Truth and reconciliation are very painful." He alluded to black-on-black violence in South Africa. He said how to handle conflict and disagreement demands embracing a new course. He also berated news gatherers saying, "the Global South gets most of its news through commercial agencies."

Leaders of the Global South will issue a press release later today calling on all the bishops and Archbishop of Canterbury to re-affirm Lambeth Resolution1:10 as the biblical and sexual standard of the Communion. It is not known at this time what the outcome of that will be.


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