THE Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Revd Ezekiel Kondo, has urged other Primates who hold to a traditional position on marriage and sexuality to attend next year’s Lambeth Conference, so that they can “speak within, not without”.
Archbishop Kondo recorded an interview last month with Canon Alistair Macdonald-Radcliff, Priest Assisting at St George’s, Hanover Square, when the two were in Cairo for the inauguration of the Province of Alexandria (News, 15 October). Archbishop Kondo spoke of the need to “challenge the evil ideas within the Lambeth Conference, so that our voice is heard — not speaking from outside: we’ve got to be there. . . I encourage all the Provinces to participate in the Lambeth Conference this time.”
He hoped that the Primates of Nigeria and Uganda, who are expected to boycott the gathering, would change their mind, and “bring their strength into that Conference”.
Sexuality should be a priority for the Lambeth Conference, he said: “It has been taking so long, people talking about it.” Challenging the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman was “very, very difficult for many, many people, who cannot comprehend. I think a decision really needs to be put to this.”
Asked about the possibility that the Church of England might recognise long-term same-sex relationships, he warned: “I’m afraid the Communion may break up, because the majority of the Global South do not accept that at all. That would be a very, very decisive issue for unity.”
He went on to talk about the Church in Arab, Islamic countries. He said: “They cannot completely understand what the Church is doing on the issue of sexuality. . . This is a very serious issue. The governments have the right to close down the churches; so does the Anglican Communion want the churches to be closed down in Egypt, Sudan, and all other Arabic countries? I don’t think so.”
While expressing agreement with its teaching on marriage, he suggested that the conservative GAFCON network, due to hold a conference next summer, was “a body that is going to the extreme, excluding others who they think they are not GAFCON people, and I think it is important that really we should be the uniting factor rather than divided. . .
“We want biblical teaching, but, at the same time, we want to recognise that these other people have got their own way of thinking; so we need also to challenge that.”
Asked about a growing emphasis on the autonomy of the Communion’s provinces and obligations to the Communion as a whole, he suggested that the Communion “needs to really think more about the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury”. The Communion saw the Archbishop of Canterbury as “a bishop among equals”; but when division arose, “who can really come in to resolve this issue?”
Archbishop Kondo was speaking before last month’s military coup in Sudan (News, 29 October).