ACNS 3827 | SOUTHERN AFRICA | 17 MAY 2004
Statement from the Archbishop of Southern Africa:
Archbishop calls on Church Community for understanding over gay appointments
The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane, has called for the understanding and patience of the Church community in Africa in the wake of criticism by the African Provinces of the ordination of openly gay persons. “As the Church of the Province in Southern Africa, we are committed to partnership in the Anglican Communion and to deepening the bonds of affection which bind us together,” said the Archbishop. “We are committed to ongoing discussion on human sexuality as requested by the Lambeth Conference. We give our full support to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s commission on the crisis that is affecting us as the Anglican Communion.”
Archbishop Ndungane said the Church of the Province of Southern Africa was committed to working together with the Anglican Provinces of Africa in the very many issues that face Africa as a continent.
“We recognise the depth of pain that has been caused through the consecration of an actively gay person to the position of bishop and we understand the reaction felt by many of the people, especially members of the Anglican Church in Africa. “As the Church we are called to understand more deeply the very complex issues surrounding human sexuality, and to admit that our understanding of these issues is evolving. “It is necessary that we acknowledge that the Church is the Body of Christ and that we are called to minister to all its members even when we may not agree with their choices. “In Africa, we have the wisdom of the philosophy that claims we become ourselves through other people. In times of conflict and disagreement it is vital that we apply this lesson to our conduct. “As we seek answers to questions of human sexuality and in other areas of conflict it is important that we remember that as the Church we are called to be a family. This relationship means that while we may have differences we need to work together to find solutions through dialogue, prayer and an ever greater understanding of each other.”