From the Diocese of Virginia
A response from the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to the Statement of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Ghana, in which the Ghanaian Bishops support the anti-LGBTQ+ bill currently before the House of Parliament of Ghana.
October 28, 2021
Greetings, to our siblings in Christ in our beloved Anglican Communion, especially the Bishops in the Internal Province of Ghana,
We give thanks for relationships across borders and celebrate our unity in Christ Jesus.
The Triangle of Hope work that we in the Diocese of Virginia share with our sister dioceses of Liverpool, England, and Kumasi, Ghana, has been a growing source of encouragement as we move more fully into God’s Beloved Community. Through this ministry, we strive to be a part of wider efforts to overcome the barbarous injustice of the slave trade and its continuing legacy and impact. We have undertaken this work in a spirit of mutual affection and truth. It is in such a spirit that, even while we continue to address our own challenges to live fully into Jesus’ love and justice, we seek to honor our relationships by speaking truth in love, as St. Paul urges.
We therefore convey that the recent statement of our fellow bishops of the Internal Province of Ghana- Anglican Communion, “Statement In Support of the Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill by the Anglican Church, Ghana (House of Bishops),” concerns us deeply, and so we cannot remain silent on this matter. This measure and its implications are in direct conflict with the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10 statement on human sexuality (full text) and the 2016 Primates’ Meeting Communique (full text). In this Communique all Anglican Primates, pledged “to reject criminal sanctions” against members of the LGBT+ community, and to “condemn homophobic prejudice and violence.”
The proposed legislation places LGBTQI+ persons in danger of violence and harassment and could encourage injustice in other parts of the Anglican Communion as well. We prayerfully and respectfully urge our fellow bishops to remove their support of this deeply concerning legislation, and we ask them to uphold the pledges our Church has made.
In this, we are in agreement with and support of the statements by The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby (full text), who cited both the Lambeth Resolution and the Primates’ Communique, Bishop Paul Bayes of Liverpool (full text), and the Right Rev. Jonathan Frost, Dean of York and Bishop-designate of Portsmouth (full text).
Living in the hope and freedom of Christ that we desire for all God’s children, we commit to and honor our relationships, where in the power of the Holy Spirit, we may work out any differences in love, seeking true reconciliation for all.
The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan and Ecclesiastical Authority
The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
The Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor