UNITED KINGDOM: The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is no longer recognised as the head of the worldwide church, according to the leaders of the Anglican churches in various developing nations, such as South Sudan, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The General Synod, the supreme authority of the Church of England, decided this month to permit clergy to bless couples who are in same-sex marriages, which is the source of their decision.
The conservative Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), which says it speaks for 75% of Anglicans around the world, says that the C of E “left the historical faith” and lost its right to be called the “mother church” of the Anglican Communion.
The C of E bishops’ plan to support optional blessings while keeping the church’s ban on same-sex marriages was meant to be a compromise that would end decades of heated arguments over sexuality.
Conservatives were upset that the church was abandoning traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality. Progressives were outraged that the C of E would continue to consider same-sex couples as “second class,” in their opinion.
Welby praised the new role but declared that he would not personally bestow same-sex blessings to maintain harmony within the Anglican Church worldwide. Also, he reportedly told Parliament that he preferred that the C of E be abolished rather than cause a schism in the world church over sexuality.
Since taking over as Canterbury’s archbishop ten years ago, Welby has worked to keep the entire world church united in the face of acrimonious sexuality disputes. His strategy has been to attempt to “walk together” with parishioners, clergy, and bishops despite what appear to be insurmountable divisions.
The primates of Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda, representing roughly 30 million Anglicans, boycotted the Lambeth conference last summer over sexuality. Every ten years, the Lambeth Conference brings together Anglican bishops from around the world.
In a statement released Monday, the GSFA said that their decision to stop supporting Welby as head of the global church should be seen as “a rebuke in love.”
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