The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has urged its bishops to provide guidelines for giving pastoral care to same-sex couples who have entered civil unions under South African law.
The Church’s ruling Provincial Synod, currently meeting in Benoni, South Africa, on Friday adopted a resolution urging its Synod of Bishops to finalise guidelines “as soon as possible”.
The Church neither marries same-sex couples, nor ordains or licenses priests or deacons who live in same-sex unions. This is in line with the practice of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
However, in the words of the Right Revd Martin Breytenbach, Bishop of St Mark the Evangelist, during a debate at the Synod, “civil unions are a reality, whether we like it or not.”
Proposing the resolution, Bishop Breytenbach acknowledged he was on the “conservative” side of the debate. But, he continued, all God’s people needed pastoral care and “we have people in our church who are same-gender couples who regard themselves as married, even though I find it difficult to accept.”