Anglican Church votes against blessings for same-sex couples

2016-09-30 22:02
Thabo Makgoba (Netwerk24)

Thabo Makgoba (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has rejected a proposal to allow "prayers of blessing" to be offered for people in same-sex civil unions under South African law.

In a statement released on Friday evening Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said 16 bishops voted against the proposal while six were in favour.

Sixty-two percent of the lay representatives to the synod (church council) voted against the proposal, while 55% of the clergy also voted against it.

The vote was taken by the church's top legislative body, the provincial synod, following a proposal which was brought by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay - which stretches from the northern suburbs of Cape Town to the Namibian border.

Before announcing the results to the church, which includes Anglicans in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and on the island of St Helena, Makgoba said the process had left a "palpable pain" within the church.

"If one is pained and hurt, it pains me too and I have learned as a priest that there are no losers or winners in the kingdom of God.”

Further discussion

"The pain on both sides is palpable and tangible and the image of a double-edged sword pierces me," he said.

Makgoba said "all was not lost" however, as the matter could be taken up again at the next provincial synod in 2019.

The church could also consider raising it at the next worldwide meeting of Anglican bishops in 2020, he added.

In the meantime the church could continue to discuss the matter at a local level in parishes and dioceses "so that we can continue to discern together the mind of God," he said.

Part of the proposal also included a motion that bishops provide for clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions to be licenced to minister in parishes.

However, this section of the proposal was withdrawn by the proposers before the debate began, he said.

Read more on:    thabo makgoba  |  religion  |  gay rights

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