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Homosexuality debate rages in the Anglican communion

By Jeckonia Otieno | March 6th 2021

 Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit. [File, Standard]

The simmering tension in the Anglican Communion continues after the global head of the church responded to a statement by one of the provinces over homosexuality and the church.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, on Friday, issued a statement condemning the declaration by the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba as homophobic.

“I completely disagree with and condemn this language. It is unacceptable. It dehumanises those human beings of whom the statement speaks,” read Welby’s statement.

He further revealed that he has written to Ndukuba to express his disagreement over the language used in the statement which lambasted the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). He clarified that the language went against the agreed teaching of the Anglican Communion as addressed by resolution I.10 of the Lambeth Conference 1998.

Unconditional love

Welby states: “This resolution both restated a traditional view of Christian marriage and was clear in its condemnation of homophobic actions or words. It affirmed that ‘all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.’”

The head of the church also reiterated his commitment to continuously pray for the people and churches in Nigeria due to economic turmoil, acts of terror, religious violence as well insecurity.

Primate of Nigeria Archbishop Henry Ndukuba has taken issue with the decision to leave the discretion of dealing with homosexuality matters to individual bishops. [Courtesy]

“The mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to show, through its actions and words, that God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ calls us to holiness and hope,” stated Welby.

His statement serves to further stretch the widening gap between the largely conservative African Church and that of the West. On February 26, the Nigerian primate issued a statement condemning a move by the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America to issue a statement, which Ndukuba interpreted as meant to allow homosexuality in the church.


“The struggle with human identity is real and painful for Christians who experience same-sex attraction,” the college wrote.

In his hard-hitting statement which has seemingly not been received well within the communion protocol, Ndukuba took issue with the decision to leave the discretion of dealing with homosexuality matters to individual bishops and their dioceses rather than from the North American diocese as a body.

He observed, “These decisions by ACNA bishops tantamount to a subtle capitulation to recognize and promote same-sex relations among its members exactly the same route of argument adopted by The Episcopal Church (TEC).

Ndukuba mentioned the Jerusalem Declarations by the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) through which the ACNA was formed on the traditional views of the church on several sticky issues.

Erring bishops

“We, therefore, call upon the Archbishop and College of Bishops of ACNA to make an unambiguous statement condemning the actions taken by the gay activists in their midst, denounce their action, dissociate ACNA from the group, discipline erring bishops, priests and laity who signed the offensive Pro-Gay letter,” wrote the Nigerian primate.

The Anglican Church in North America, under the leadership of Archbishop Foley Beach, has been viewed as largely conservative and in sync with orthodox biblical teaching on several issues including marriage. For this reason, it has been connected with several Anglican Communion provinces in Africa notably, the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Anglican Church of Rwanda, Church of Uganda and Church of Nigeria.

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