Skip to comments.African Anglicans Make New Push to Split Over Homosexuality Issue
Posted on 06/28/2005 10:03:04 PM PDT by sionnsar
Nairobi, Kenya (CNSNews.com) - Anglicans in Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda have started a process that could lead to a split within the "mother" Church of England over the homosexuality dispute.
Church leaders in Kenya have signed a document on the Anglican Global Initiative (AGI), which envisages the churches forming a new communion separate from American, Canadian and European churches supporting homosexual ordinations and same-sex "marriage."
The church in the three African countries already has refused any further financial assistance from the U.S. Episcopal Church.
The AGI will be chaired by Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola and West Indies Archbishop Drexel Gomez.
The latest crisis in the 77 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion started when homosexual priest Gene Robinson was consecrated as bishop of New Hampshire in November 2003 while churches in Canada began blessing same-sex "marriages."
The AGI document proposes to set up a "church within a church," governed by an independent constitution and autonomous decision-making synods.
It says the independent group should be headed by two conservative archbishops from the developing world "to affiliate and unite in love, holiness and true godly fellowship through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"
It wants an Anglican federation set up to replace the existing Communion, to allow individual synods to implement their own systems and decisions unique to their cultural situations, but in strict accordance to biblical teaching.
The provincial synod in Kenya, the supreme decision making body of the church, will meet in the Kenyan capital later this week to ratify the document.
The formation of the new body will happen only when the churches present their decision to the Communion's next Lambeth Conference, in 2008.
The gathering is where the global Anglican Church makes decisions on doctrinal and structural issues.
The document says the delay is an act of good faith on the part of the conservatives, who hope that a solution may yet be found in the next three years.
Senior bishops meeting in Northern Ireland last February asked churches in the U.S. and Canada to withdraw from a primary church body for three years while they gave further consideration to the row over homosexuality.
They also urged churches to apply a moratorium on the ordination of practicing homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions.
Bishop Gideon Ireri, head of the Justice, Peace, Gender and Family Commission of the Kenyan church, said a split would mark the saddest day for the Communion.
"It will be the most painful decision to make. If we take the move we will have sacrificed a great set of traditions, ethos and practices that we have stored up for ourselves over the years," he said.
"In the face of sin," however, there were few options open for the conservatives, he said.
"But it will not be a loss to us, it will be the American church that will have itself to blame for self-ex-communicating itself," Ireri argued.
In his prelude to the document, Akinola says: "We cannot continue to be in communion with people who have taken a step outside the biblical boundaries."
"When we sit down globally as a communion, I am going to sit in a meeting with a man who is marrying a fellow man ... I mean it's just not possible. I cannot see myself doing it."
Head of Anglican Church in Kenya, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, said he was willing to forgo Western church assistance if that was the step needed "to remind the Episcopal Church of its mission."
"The mission is to preach the Great Commission," he said, "but what kind of Gospel are they preaching now, saying there should be a union of people of the same sex?"
"If money is being used to disgrace the Gospel, then we don't need it," he added.
The Great Commission is Jesus' instruction to his followers to go out and make disciples in all nations.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.