The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has revealed that same-sex partners in South Africa should be welcomed into the church as full members, according to a letter released by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town.
In a statement, the bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa declared in draft Pastoral Guidelines that: “We are of one mind that gay, lesbian and transgendered members of our church share in full membership as baptised members of the Body of Christ…”
“We reaffirm our assurance to them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ”.
The position will certainly help in efforts to alleviate stigma in the church and LGBT community.
The issues of homosexuality and sexual orientation remain contentious within the Christian faith and the decision by the Synod of Bishops is likely going to ruffle feathers.
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is generally regarded as the most liberal Anglican province in Africa on issues such as homosexuality and the ordination of women.
However, the church maintained its policy on blessing same-sex unions saying, we “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions”.
The decision will likely cause deep consternation particularly for members who feel the church should marry same-sex couples and also allow its clergy to enter same sex unions.