The leader of the global Anglican Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury “affirms validity” of the 1998 “gay sex is sin” declaration to appease the conservative bishops but will not sanction those churches that bless the same-sex marriage.
Those that bless same-sex marriage are churches in Scotland, Wales, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, and Mexico. In contrast, those strongly opposed to this practice are from churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda.
Debate on legalizing same-sex marriage continues, especially among religious groups. Some institutions under the Anglican church remain firmly against same-sex marriage; some have opened up and accepted it. Last September, a church in Wales was at odds with the Church of England after the former voted to bless same-sex marriage while the other forbids this practice. This has also caused bitter divisions among churches and their congregants.
Justin Welby affirmed the validity of the 1998 declaration of same-sex marriage as a sin during the Lambeth conference with around 650 attending bishops. Most attendees in the conference also concur that questioning the biblical teaching is “unthinkable.”
“In many countries, [it] would make the church a victim of derision, contempt, and even attack. For many churches, to change traditional teaching challenges their very existence.” Welby said.
The affirmation of Welby over the church’s traditional stance has provoked anger for some LGBTQ+ equality campaigners. “Many LGBT+ people have historically been wounded by the church and particularly hurt by the events of the past few weeks. They look forward to the day when we all may feel truly welcomed, valued, and affirmed,” said a statement signed by some ninety bishops, including eight archbishops.
During the talk, some produced documents outraged the religious groups that backed the same-sex marriage practice.
The original documents, called “Lambeth Calls,” stated that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. The document further states, "It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that same-gender marriage is not permissible.” Further, legitimizing this practice “cannot be advised.”
Bishop John Harvey Taylor of Los Angeles said the statement is the complete opposite of healing and reconciliation as this “divides, hurts, scapegoats, and denies.”
Eighty-five million people from 165 countries are members of the Anglican church. Most of the church’s growth comes from the young people of sub-Saharan Africa, who strongly oppose the blessing of same-sex marriage.
Justin Badi Arama, a conservative archbishop from South Sudan and the leader of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches, which he claims, represents 75 percent of all Anglicans, said that his church is growing because it is biblically faithful. He says the Church of England is shrinking because it does not respect the scriptures.
In 2009, Mary Glasspool was elected suffragan bishop of Los Angeles. She is the second openly gay and first lesbian bishop of the Anglican Community. Glasspool attended the conference and said she prays for Welby every day. She noted that some conservative bishops refuse to receive communion with her. “It feels so bad when anyone for any reason is not receiving Communion. That feels bad! That’s not who we are as the church. We’re trying to express our oneness in Christ”, she said.
What's it like to be a same-sex couple at the #LambethConference? Bishop Mary Glasspool and her wife, Becki Sander, shared their experience with ENS. https://t.co/5UDdP1xSgE pic.twitter.com/AOezERXhNS
— Episcopal News Service (@episcopal_news) July 30, 2022