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Southern Africa Synod to consider resolution on blessing same-sex civil unions

Southern Africa Synod to consider resolution on blessing same-sex civil unions

Press Release from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

 

The forthcoming Provincial Synod is to decide on a proposal to make formal
provision for pastoral care to church members identifying as gay and lesbian.

The proposal is contained in a motion included in the 2nd Agenda Book for
Synod, which is being sent to Dioceses this week.

Announcing the proposal, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said:

‘The motion, tabled by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay, proposes that any
bishop of the church who wishes to do so may make provision for her or his
clergy to provide pastoral care to those who identify as LGBTI.

‘This proposal affirms the assurance already given by our bishops that
church members who identify as LGBTI are loved by God and share in full
membership of our Church as baptised members of the Body of Christ.

‘More controversially, the motion also proposes that clergy who identify
as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions should be licensed to minister
in our parishes.

‘It also suggests that ‘prayers of blessing’ should be able to be offered
for those in same-sex civil unions. However, it specifically rules out the
possibility of marriage under church law.

‘It also accepts that any cleric unwilling to take part in providing
pastoral care to people who identify as LGBTI shall not be obliged to do
so.’

The Archbishop added: ‘Without anticipating what Synod will decide, this
debate is overdue in the top councils of our Church, and I welcome it.’

The full text of the motion to go before the Synod follows:

A MOTION on PASTORAL CARE in a CONTEXT OF DIVERSE HUMAN SEXUALITY

Presented to the PROVINCIAL SYNOD of ACSA in SEPTEMBER 2016

Whereas

The Anglican Communion has wrestled for many years to produce a comprehensive and mutually acceptable pastoral response to the issue of diversity in human sexuality, to homosexuality and to same sex unions.

And whereas

In 1998, Resolution 1.10 adopted by the Lambeth Conference called the Anglican
Communion to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and to assure them
that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful
persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of
Christ, and called on the Communion to minister pastorally and sensitively to
all irrespective of sexual orientation;

And whereas

Anglicans have historically chosen to use Scripture, Tradition and Reason and
Experience when discerning God’s unfolding call to mission, knowing that these pillars provide a helpful space in which many voices can be heard and many insights shared, so that a loving pastoral response to those identifying as LGBT
can be offered

And whereas

Provincial Synods of ACSA have asked the Bishops of our Province provide
guidelines for ministry to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transsexual or intersex (LBGTI), but have been unable to complete these guidelines

And whereas

Lay and ordained Anglicans who identify as LGBTI, throughout the Communion and within our Province and Dioceses are in need of pastoral care and spiritual support and look to the church for help especially when wanting to enter into same-sex unions

Therefore, this Synod resolves

1. That a Bishop may:

1.1. provide for clergy to be especially prepared for a ministry of pastoral
care for those identifying as LGBTI, accepting that any cleric unwilling to
engage in such envisioned pastoral care shall not be obliged to do so;

1.2. provide for pastoral counselling of those identifying as LGBTI;

1.3. provide for the preparation for and the licensing of those in same sex
unions to lay ministries on Parochial, Archidiaconal and Diocesan levels;

1.4. provide for prayers of blessing to be offered for those in same sex civil
unions;

1.5. provide for the licensing for ministry of clergy who identify as LGBTI and
are in legal same sex civil unions;

1.6. provide for the use of Liturgical Rites in regard to the above ministries.

2. That a Bishop may not

2.1. provide For the solemnization of same sex unions by clergy, in terms of
the ACSA Canon on Marriage (Canon 34).

3. That the Archbishop be respectfully requested to establish an Archbishop’s Commission
to:

3.1. Review, reflect on, research and share such theological, pastoral and
prophetic principles emerging from this Motion;

3.2 Recommend further actions, both through Interim Reports, tabled at meetings
of the Synod of Bishops, and through a final Recommendations Report which is to
be tabled at the 2018 meeting of PSC, so that Recommendations, Measures and
Motions can be put forward to the 2019 session of the Provincial Synod.

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Paul Woodrum

Makes one wonder what "full membership in the Body of Christ" means when applied to LGBT members. Begrudged, creeping acceptance?

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David Allen

I'm liking this South African primate better and better. I wasn't crazy about things that he had to complain about when +KJS was our primate, but he seems to have reached a conversion point in the most recent years. Perhaps he will join us all the way in the future and lead the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to full marriage equality.

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