It’s time to remind ourselves of the positive elements (from a pro-LGBT perspective) that are present in the three key documents produced by two Instruments of our Communion in the past 12 years. This is a very deliberately selective reading. Those opposing developments in the Communion choose to focus on those elements in the three documents which support their position. We must do the same.
The Communion has committed itself to a path not simply of listening, but of assuring us that we are full members of the Body of Christ; is unreservedly committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people; that debate on this issue cannot be closed whilst sincerely but radically different positions continue to be held across the Communion; and that any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care.
The Church of Uganda is faced with making a decision about it’s support for or opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the light of commitments made in these documents. The Church of Nigeria may face the same questions if the Same-Sex Marriage Bill is reconsidered.
As each Province begins to consider its response to the final version of the Anglican Covenant, we need to constantly remind our Communion of the positive commitment made to her lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members, in EVERY Province, who are accepted NOW as full members of the Body of Christ.
… recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are 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 commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure 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.
… calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex.
… requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us.
The Dromantine Communique
We also wish to make it quite clear that in our discussion and assessment of the moral appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people. The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship.
The Windsor Report
We remind all in the Communion that Lambeth Resolution 1.10 calls for an ongoing process of listening and discernment, and that Christians of good will need to be prepared to engage honestly and frankly with each other on issues relating to human sexuality. It is vital that the Communion establish processes and structures to facilitate ongoing discussion. One of the deepest realities that the Communion faces is continuing difference on the presenting issue of ministry by and to persons who openly engage in sexually active homosexual relationships. Whilst this report criticises those who have propagated change without sufficient regard to the common life of the Communion, it has to be recognised that debate on this issue cannot be closed whilst sincerely but radically different positions continue to be held across the Communion. The later sections of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 cannot be ignored any more than the first section, as the primates have noted. Moreover, any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care. We urge provinces to be pro-active in support of the call of Lambeth Resolution 64 (1988) for them to “reassess, in the light of … study and because of our concern for human rights, its care for and attitude toward persons of homosexual orientation.”