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Southern Africa Anglican Church leader: ‘gay couples are full members of our church’

Southern Africa Anglican Church leader: ‘gay couples are full members of our church’

The leader of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, which covers Anglicans in South Africa, Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Saint Helena, has issued a pastoral letter affirming that LGBTI people are welcome and full members of his church after meeting with the Synod of his bishops.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba is the spiritual leader of 4 million African Anglicans and his letter is one of the strongest statements by a serving African Christian leader in support of the equality of LGBTI people.

‘We reaffirm our assurance to them that they are loved by God and that all baptized‚ believing and faithful persons‚ regardless of sexual orientation‚ are full members of the Body of Christ,’ new guidelines produced by the Bishops’ Synod read.

‘Many of these are baptized and confirmed members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care‚ moral direction of the Church‚ and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships.’

‘We are of one mind that gay‚ lesbian and transgendered members of our church share in full membership as baptized members of the Body of Christ.’

Archbishop Makgoba wrote that the new guidelines would be important when the children of gay couples who have entered into civil marriages are presented for baptism and confirmation in the church.

‘No child brought for baptism should be refused merely because of the sexual orientation of the parents‚ and particular care should be taken against stigmatizing not only parents but their children too,’ Makgoba wrote.

Makgoba also revealed that the Synod of Bishops had tried to draw up guidelines for clergy who want to bless people in same-sex relationships. However they failed to reach an agreement on the issue.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa also remains bound to the consensus position of the global Anglican Communion in not performing same-sex marriages or ordaining clergy who are in same-sex relationships.

The new guidelines will go to a full Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa for approval in September.

If you would like to read Archbishop Makgoba’s letter in full you can find it published here