‘A Matter of Grave Consequence’

firemedic58 | Flickr | is.gd/1ERfeX

Seven responses from other Anglican provinces express a consensus that changing the Church’s historic doctrine of marriage is a serious matter.

The letters appear on General Convention’s website. They came in response to an inquiry by the Rev. Canon Jordan Hylden, an appointed member of General Convention’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage and a TLC contributing editor.

Excerpts follow.

Archbishop Philip L. Freier
Anglican Church of Australia

There is little question that changing the doctrine of marriage is a matter of grave consequence, indeed a church-dividing matter.

… [After citing the Anglican Church of Australia’s resolution expressing regrets the Scottish Episcopal Church had authorized same-sex marriage rites]: The proper response to changing community standards in particular contexts concerning marriage is, on this view, wrongly handled at a doctrinal level if it involves a redefinition of the doctrine of marriage but rightly developed with pastoral and liturgical resources.

The Ven. Kibwela K. Anthonio
For the Most Rev. Masiamango K. Zacharie
Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo

In the Province of the Anglican Church of Congo, the only type of marriage that we celebrate is for heterosexual couples. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Article 40 of the Congolese Constitution: “All individuals have the right to marry a person of their choice of the opposite sex and to create a family.” Thus there is no way we can introduce a proposal of the liturgical rite for the marriage of same-sex couples.

Another important point we need to mention is that our churches in Africa are still faithful to the Christian and Biblical worldview, whereas for Westerners, Secularism has become a predominant life. So, in the Province of the Church of Congo we do not have room to talk and discuss about blessing of same-sex unions. Otherwise, it will bring conflicts and division among Christians. The Church has been built for Unity and not for Division.

Secretary General William Nye
The Archbishops’ Council
The Church of England

Changing doctrine is, we believe, a mater that must be undertaken in a highly consultative and ecumenical manner across the major Christian churches of the world as well as among Anglicans globally. … Moreover, the way that TEC handles the accommodation of differing doctrinal views will be significant for our future relationships.

… Despite the careful wording of the preface to the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2, in which the “gift of children” is cited as one of God’s purposes for the two people “when it is God’s will,” it remains that the purposes of marriage as understood through the ages have been substantially altered in this new rite. … The best one can say about effectively erasing one of the key traditional purposes of marriage is that it is a very big step to have undertaken unilaterally in the face of global understandings of our shared traditions across the Church of God.

John Reuben Davies
Convener of the Liturgy Committee
The Scottish Episcopal Church

At the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church 2017, the second reading of an amendment to Canon 31 (Of the Solemnisation of Holy Matrimony) was passed. The amendment, by removing section 1 of the canon, also took away the only doctrinal definition of marriage to be found in the SEC’s Code of Canons. … The point to be noted is that, by contrast with the Episcopal Church, no new definition of marriage has been made explicit in the Code of Canons. In this respect, the SEC has rejected the approach of TEC.

Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo
Episcopal Church of Sudan

The Episcopal Church of Sudan does not approve of same-sex marriage because it does not believe that it is the will of God. As such, the Episcopal Church of Sudan does not approve of trial rites for same-sex marriage as it has been authorized by the Episcopal Church of the USA.

Archbishop Jacob Erasto Chimeledya
Anglican Church of Tanzania

From now onward be informed that we are not having any church partnership. Please do not write me back on this matter.

Archbishop Daniel Yinka Sarfo
Church of the Province of West Africa

Your recent decisions with respect to marriage have drawn a line as a drift from the Catholic and traditional marriage between man and woman to something else which most Anglican Provinces including ours abhor. It is a complete turn from the Book of Common Prayer which makes us Anglicans.

We in the Anglican Church of the Province of West Africa will never permit same-sex marriages to be liturgically celebrated. We believe that same-sex marriage is unbiblical, unnatural, and “taboo” in Africa.

Biretta tip: Simon Sarmiento of Thinking Anglicans


Online Archives