Cape Town - It is only a matter of time before the Anglican Church of Southern Africa comes "to the right resolution” on the blessing of same-sex civil unions, says Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu-Van Furth.
This was in response to the church’s decision by its legislative body, the synod, not to offer prayers of blessing to people in same-sex civil unions.
Twenty-two Anglican church leaders from across South Africa came together to cast their vote. Sixteen leaders were against the proposal, while six supported it.
Sixty-two percent of the lay representatives to the church council voted against the proposal alongside 55 percent of the clergy.
Another motion suggested that bishops should be allowed to licence members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community - and who are in same-sex civil unions - allowing them to practise as ministers. This proposal was withdrawn before the debate began.
Tutu-Van Furth was forced to leave her calling when she married her long-time Dutch girlfriend, Marceline van Furth, after the church suggested her licence be revoked. She said the Anglican Church of Southern Africa was God’s church, “and we will come to the right resolution in God’s time”.
“Clearly this is not over. The LGBTI community is not going anywhere. When the ordination of women first came to the provincial synod it failed, but when it was brought back, it was ultimately passed by more than two-thirds majority.
“I am certain that when the church has prayed, has recognised that the people who are LGBTI are sitting in their pews, are preaching from their pulpits and are living in their communities, they will ultimately recognise the truth that Jesus who was the Christ of the marginalised is also the Jesus Christ of the LGBTI.”
Psychologist Sharon Cox from LGBTI support group The Triangle Project and the Micha Group, said: “At the core of our socio-identity injustices are our faith structures, which have yet to be fully held accountable for the ways in which these institutions perpetuate oppression, division, violence, pain and stigma.
“The recent rejection of the proposal within the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to allow prayers of blessing for those whom the constitution has enshrined the right to be wed under same-sex civil unions, is deplorable.”
She went on to say the ideologies held by the church undermined the ethics of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus whose practice of love was never divisive.
“Furthermore, such religious positions contradict our constitutional identities as equal citizens in South Africa. That the Anglican Church’s position contravenes our constitution is disappointing to say the least.”