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Primates concerned by clerics’ disregard of ban

02 May 2014


Off on honeymoon: Canon Jeremy Pemberton (left) and Laurence Cunnington after their marriage ceremony last month

Off on honeymoon: Canon Jeremy Pemberton (left) and Laurence Cunnington after their marriage ceremony last month

THE GAFCON Primates Council has expressed concern about "the state of lay and clerical discipline" in the Church of England with regard to same-sex marriage.

In a communiqué issued after a meeting of the Council in London from Thursday to Saturday last week, the Council said that the House of Bishops' guidance that those in same-sex marriage should be admitted to the full sacramental life of the Church was "an abandonment of pastoral discipline".

It was also "very concerning" that the House of Bishops' prohibition on clergy entering same-sex marriage ( News, 14 February) was "apparently, being openly disregarded". It is understood that at least five members of the clergy are planning to defy the guidance (News, 21 March). The Revd Jeremy Pemberton became the first to do so this month (News, 17 April).

The meeting was attended by the Primates of Sudan, Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, and the Province of the Southern Cone, and by the Most Revd Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, which is seeking to become a province in the Anglican Communion.

The communiqué states: "We believe that the GAFCON movement is emerging as a faithful instrument of unity capable of gathering the majority of faithful Anglicans in communion globally.

"We are now taking practical steps to heal, renew, and revitalise the Communion for future mission by growing our membership, improving the frequency and range of our communication, and setting up networks, which will equip us to fulfil the Great Commission." The Primates were "already eagerly anticipating GAFCON 3 in 2018".

Call to speak out. Members of an LGBT Forum in York have asked the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, to support members of the Anglican Church who oppose anti-gay laws that "threaten the lives of thousands of innocent men and women and will imprison friends and relatives who attempt to help them".

In a letter to the Yorkshire Post published last Friday, Edwina Sykes and David Lewis, who co-chair the forum, drew attention to the plight of the Revd Christopher Senyonjo, a retired Bishop of West Uganda who is risking imprisonment by offering prayer and counselling to gay people.

They wrote: "As someone who has experienced state repression, endangering his own person and family, he [Dr Sentamu] is in a unique position to speak out forcefully against these evil and dangerous ideas which have even been promoted by misled members of his own Church."

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