Gays and lesbians welcomed into South African church

Haru Mutasa of Grahamstown reports that gays and lesbians have been welcomed into the Anglican Church of South Africa.

Resolution 39 of the Church of the Province of South Africa (CPSU) referring strictly to homosexuality and its acceptance by the Anglican church was unanimously passed in Bloemfontein on 26 September 2002 at the annual provincial Anglican senate.

Dean of the province Bishop David Russell told ECN: “Homosexuals have suffered cruel rejection in the past in society and especially so by the church. This has been wrong and the church acknowledges that it has been wrong!”.

However Bishop Russell said the church wants to make it clear that it does not condone sexual promiscuity and other misuses of the gift of human sexuality. He said: “We are not opening our doors to just any kind of behaviour. It is not a radical resolution that has been passed. It will not disturb those of our followers with a more conservative view. We are just being more accepting of people who have been unfairly stigmatised. It can be compared to the issue of stigmatising those with HIV/AIDS.” Bishop Russell said another reason for passing the resolution was because the Anglican church want gays and lesbians to feel welcome as fellow Christians in the body of Christ. He said: “The resolution has been passed at a national level. It will take continuous debates and listening to each other before homosexuals are fully accepted by the general public.”

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