Anglican leaders reject the Archbishop of Canterbury


February 21, 2023 | 16:54

Anglican leaders rejected the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury in a scathing letter after the Church of England voted earlier this month to offer blessings to same-sex couples.

The statement against Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was signed by archbishops from 10 of the 42 provinces of the global Anglican Communion representing conservative provinces, mostly in Africa and Asia, which believe homosexuality is against the Bible.

“The Church of England has chosen to break communion with those provinces that remain faithful to the historic biblical faith,” said the statement from members of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches.

The archbishops claimed that the Church of England “has departed from the historic faith handed down from the apostles by this innovation in the Church’s liturgies and her pastoral practice”, drifting into “false teaching”. It is therefore “disqualified” from being the leader of global Anglicanism, the letter says.

The archbishops further said they were “no longer able to recognize the current Archbishop of Canterbury as the first among equal leaders of the global communion.”

Archbishops from 10 of the 42 provinces of the global Anglican Communion signed a statement against the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
REUTERS/ Paul Grover

“(Welby) has unfortunately led his House of Bishops to make the recommendations which formed the basis of the general synod movement of ‘Living in love and faith’, knowing that they are contrary to the faith (and) order of the Orthodox Provinces in the Eucharist whose people make up the majority of the global herd,” the priests wrote.

The statement was signed by GSFA head Archbishop Justin Badi of South Sudan, along with the archbishops of Chile, the Indian Ocean, Congo, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Uganda, Sudan, Alexandria and Melanesia.

The archbishops said they would continue to work to “restore the Eucharist, and to ensure that the restored Eucharist is characterized by reform and renewal.”

Only then will the Anglican Church as a whole be able to be God’s channel of light and transformation in a dark and broken world,” they added.

The letter comes amid deep global divisions among Anglicans over gender and sexuality. After two days of extensive debate, the Synod voted earlier this month to pray for God’s blessing on same-sex couples.

The three houses of the synod, which acts as a kind of parliament for Britain’s established church, voted overwhelmingly to support the proposal, but stopped short of changing the church’s formal doctrine of marriage between one man and one woman.

The Synod also voted to “complain and repent” for not being welcoming to LGBTQI+ people, according to a press release.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, are considering a proposal about the church’s failure to welcome LGBTQI+ people.
AP/James Manning

Lambeth Palace, which serves as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official residence in London, acknowledged the letter from the GSFA in a statement, saying “we fully appreciate their position.”

“The deep disagreements that exist across the Anglican communion over sexuality and marriage are not new,” a Church of England spokesman said, noting that “no province can bind another province, and no instrument of communion has any jurisdictional authority over any province.”

“In a world of conflict, suffering and uncertainty, we must remember that more unites us than divides us,” the spokesperson said. “Despite our differences, we must find ways to continue walking and working together as followers of Jesus Christ to serve those in need.”

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