The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa have resolved to craft special prayers for couples in same-sex relationships, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town announced on Monday.
However, the bishops were unable to reach consensus on blessing same-sex unions during church services and ruled out church marriages for same-sex couples, he said in a statement from the synod of bishops which met last week.
At their meeting the bishops could not agree upon a proposal to allow local churches to conduct formal blessings of same sex unions and said in a statement that “the divisions within the Synod of Bishops reflect the divisions in the church as a whole, and we are not at peace with one another on this issue.”
Makgoba told the meeting that the church is already baptising the children of same-sex couples and conducting confirmation services for LGBTQ+ Anglicans. He challenged the bishops to “develop prayers of affirmation and acknowledgement for all faithful Anglicans with which all of us can agree.”
The synod agreed to consider drafts for the formal prayers at their next meeting in September before presenting them to church ruling bodies.
The Southern African bishops’ decision comes several weeks after a resolution by the General Synod of the Church of England to bless same-sex marriages and civil partnerships was denounced by a group of 12 archbishops of the global Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches which represents 75% of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The GFSA leaders say Church of England’s decision to allow the blessing of same-sex unions has departed from orthodox Christian teaching on marriage — and, as a result, that its communion with the mother church has been broken, and the Archbishop of Canterbury has forfeited his leadership role within Anglicanism.
In its decision The Church of England tried to reach a compromise by agreeing to bless same-sex relationships while not allowing same-sex couples to marry in their churches.
Ahead of that General Synod, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, articulated the dilemma behind a growing schism between liberal church leaders and those who uphold the authority of Scripture, saying: “What we are proposing today will appear to go too far for some and not nearly far enough for others.”
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