Raging gays row puts a damper on historic Lambeth conference
By Jeckonia Otieno | June 8th 2019
The Anglican Church of Kenya has vowed to snub the Lambeth Conference 2020 in an apparent opposition to the mother church’s stance on homosexuality.
Last Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and ACK Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit appeared to read from different scripts after Sapit refused to cede ground over the participation of the Kenyan chapter at the conference.
Of contention is the issue of two gay bishops, an American and a Canadian, who have been invited for the conference that brings together all Anglican Church bishops worldwide.
It happens in Canterbury, England. “Our position is very clear that we shall not attend the Lambeth Conference unless the names of the two gay bishops are struck off the list,” said Dr Sapit.
Defy archbishop’s stance
The Saturday Standard is privy to the fact that the standoff between the Kenyan church and Church of England has persisted over the issue even as word does round that some Kenyan bishops have vowed to defy the archbishop’s stance and attend the meeting in loyalty to the parent church in England.
It is believed that Welby was on a charm offensive to try and woe his Kenyan counterpart to cede ground and attend the conference but Dr Sapit declined his request and stood firm on his conviction as he also avoided the attempts to make a show of financial offer for the construction of the Children and Teens Centre project from Welby.
After the 9.30am church service, the two leaders addressed the media jointly with the issue of gays dominating before Sapit left for Uganda to attend the Martyrs Day celebrations.
Welby on the other hand joined the youth service. This will be the 15th Lambeth Conference since its inception in 1867; the conference serves as a collaborative and consultative forum on a number of issues within the Anglican Communion and comes out with resolutions which significantly affect the Anglican Church worldwide.
“God’s plan for marriage is that it must be between a man and a woman for the purposes of, first of all procreation and second companionship; the traditional view of the Christian marriage is between a male and female and that will continue to be the teaching of the Anglican Church of Kenya,” said Sapit.
He reiterated that the Western countries have given an opportunity for gays to be married in the church, something Sapit says is “against the tradition of the church, culture and understanding.”
On the other hand, Welby said, “There is always, and always has been since the first one in 1867, a controversy around the Lambeth Conference; it is why we meet because when we meet together, we are able to listen to each other.”
Man and woman
During the conference in 1998, a resolution was passed on human sexuality. Resolution I.10 states: “…in view of the teaching of the Scripture, it upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;… cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;”
The Church of Uganda pronounced itself last year during the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) saying Ugandan bishops would not attend the conference.
The Most Rev Stanley Ntagali, who heads the Ugandan congregation said the House of Bishops had made the decision not to attend the conference or any meeting called by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
“We continue to proclaim the gospel of Christ to the nations uncompromisingly,” Archbishop Ntagali is quoted as by Church Times.
The Nigerian and Rwandese churches have openly stated that they will not be party to the conference and more African congregations are expected to follow suit in what could be the biggest conflict within the Anglican Communion worldwide – yet.
The last conference was held in 2008. During the visit to Kenya, Welby sought to differentiate his own view from the view of his office.
“The Bible is clear and I have said, on numerous occasions that my view of Christian marriage is the traditional Christian view of marriage… but I continue to work with, and in our changing culture in England, to listen and to seek to be full of love for those who disagree with me,” Welby said.
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