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21 Feb, 2023 12:17

Decision on LGBT blessings splits Anglican church

A number of figures have rejected the Archbishop of Canterbury as their spiritual leader following the recent vote
Decision on LGBT blessings splits Anglican church

A group of 12 Anglican archbishops from around the world have announced that they no longer believe the Church of England to be their “mother church” after the General Synod voted to allow priests to conduct blessings of same-sex couples in civil union. 

In a seven-point statement published on Monday, the conservative Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) said that with “great sorrow” it is no longer able to recognize the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as “first among equals” in the global communion. The GSFA claims to represent some 75% of Anglicans worldwide. 

“We pray that our withdrawal of support for him to lead the whole communion is received by him as an admonishment in love,” the press statement read. 

The GSFA also claimed that through its actions, the Church of England had “departed from the historic faith” and disqualified itself as the “mother church” of the Anglican communion. The archbishops who signed the statement insisted that the decision by churches in the UK, the US, and New Zealand to allow same-sex marriage or blessings had “taken the path of false teaching.”  

“This breaks our hearts and we pray for the revisionist provinces to return to ‘the faith once delivered’ and to us,” the GSFA Primates wrote, adding that “we do not accept the view that we can still ‘walk together’ with the revisionist provinces.”

On February 9, the two leaders of the Church of England, Archbishop Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, announced the decision by the General Synod to “publicly, unreservedly, and joyfully welcome same-sex couples in church.” It was also stated that clergy would be allowed to conduct blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples who are already married or are in a civil union.  

The decision, however, fueled the heated disputes within the church. Progressives were angered by the move, claiming that it did not go far enough to offer full equality and allow same-sex marriages. Conservatives, on the other hand, argued that holy matrimony should be reserved for a union between a man and a woman.