Anglican Church Synod of Bishops agree on pastoral care for LGBTQI members

Published Mar 6, 2023


Johannesburg - The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has resolved to craft special prayers for couples in same-sex relationships.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town said the bishops agreed at a meeting last week to prepare formal prayers suitable for providing pastoral care to couples in same-sex civil unions.

This includes baptising children of same-sex couples and confirming LGBTQI Anglicans, appealing for guidelines on the form of prayers they are to use when ministering to them, for example, when they bless their houses or meals in their homes.

Makgoba said they also engaged over four sessions in a quietly impassioned but respectful debate with one another over the Commission’s proposal.

“That, as we have previously declared, ‘We are of one mind that gay, lesbian and transgender members of our church share in full membership as baptised members of the Body of Christ.’ All Anglicans, of whatever sexual orientation, are equally deserving of our pastoral care.

“That whatever our views on the sacrament of marriage under church law for LGBTQI persons, we accepted that we were not debating any change to our Canon on Holy Matrimony, endorsed in our Prayer Book, which declares that marriage by divine institution is a lifelong and exclusive union and partnership between one man and one woman.

“That whatever our different interpretations of Scripture and understandings of where the Holy Spirit is leading us, we fully accept one another’s integrity in our debates on the matter.

“On the other side of the debate were those of us who believe that all, irrespective of sexual orientation, are made in the image of God and that we are called to extend God’s love and grace to all, but who nevertheless also believe that we must hold true to Scripture and uphold tradition as it has been received down the ages. Those of us who hold this view believe that our calling is not to conform to the world but to be salt and light to the world.”

At issue, therefore, was how to provide pastoral care to LGBTQI members of their church while at the same time respecting the consciences of those opposed to the blessing of same-sex unions.

The Star