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Blessing same-sex couples in C of E ‘divisive’ for Communion, says Archbishop of South Sudan

25 January 2023

GSFA

The Archbishop of South Sudan, the Most Revd Justin Badi-Arama

The Archbishop of South Sudan, the Most Revd Justin Badi-Arama

ANY move by the Church of England to bless same-sex couples will exacerbate divisions in the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of South Sudan, the Most Revd Justin Badi-Arama, has said.

“What the English bishops are recommending constitutes unfaithfulness to the God who has spoken through His written word,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Archbishop Badi chairs the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), a body which says that it represents 75 per cent of Anglicans around the world. At the Lambeth Conference last summer, 125 bishops out of more than 600 in attendance anonymously signed a statement reaffirming Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which defines holy matrimony as between a man and a woman.

On Friday, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that the Bishops’ proposals “fall very clearly” within Resolution 1.10.

A note from the Church of England Legal Office, distributed to Synod members on Wednesday morning, asserts that “nothing contained in the draft prayers would amount to, or be indicative of, a departure from the doctrine contained in Canon B30 [Holy Matrimony]”.

Archbishop Badi’s statement reaffirmed the GSFA’s commitment to remain in the Anglican Communion, while raising concerns about its structures. “Anglican ecclesiology requires that provinces don’t act independently of each other,” Archbishop Badi said, and warned that “a Synod vote in favour of the bishops’ proposals would be a major step in revisionism. . . It will inevitably lead to a re-configuration, and a re-structuring of the Communion as we currently know it.”

A spokesperson for the Anglican Communion Office said: “The 42 member Churches of the Anglican Communion are independent and autonomous, but interdependent. It is a fundamental principle of the Anglican Communion that no province can bind another province.”

In a conversation with LGBTQ+ protesters outside Lambeth Palace on Monday evening, Archbishop Welby reaffirmed his decision not to personally make use of the new resources, saying that he had a “global responsibility” to the Anglican Communion (News, 24 January).

Last Friday, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Most Revd Linda Nicholls, said: “As part of the Anglican Communion, the decisions of one part of the family affect other parts of the family.”

In a statement, Archbishop Nicholls referred to the complex situation in Canada concerning same-sex marriage. “The news from the Church of England will open painful wounds for many about our discussions and our inability to discern a way forward together,” she said.

In 2016, a measure was passed to change canon law to allow same-sex marriage in the Church of Canada, but fell on a second reading in 2019.

In her statement, Archbishop Nicholls noted that “some dioceses, after lengthy theological reflection and discernment, have made pastoral provisions for the blessing of same-sex committed relationships or marriage.”

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