Some notes on Lambeth 1.10

August 5, 1998 Canterbury Press Release #93

The Lambeth Conference approved the following resolution on sexuality by a vote of 526 in favour and 70 against, with 45 abstentions (italics indicate amendments):

“The Conference:

a) commends to the Church the subsection report on human sexuality;

b) in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence [A28] is right for those who are not called to marriage.

c) 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, and we commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual people. [A24] 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.

d) while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, [A36] calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals [27], violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex.

e) cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions, nor the ordination of those involved in such unions;

f) 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;

g) notes the significance of the Kuala Lumpur Statement and the concerns expressed in resolutions IV.26, V.1, V.10, V.23, and V.35 on the authority of Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality and asks the Primates and the ACC to include them in their monitoring process. [A15]”

Notes on amendments

The Resolutions Committee amended the wording of clause (e) for reasons of English grammar.

Then the italic words in clause (d) were proposed by the Archbishop of Tanzania. After several speeches against this change, the amendment was accepted by a vote of 389 to 190.

The word “homophobia” was replaced in clause (d) by “irrational fear of homosexuals” at the request of a Kenyan bishop, Samson Muraluda of Taita Taveta.

The word chastity in clause (b) was replaced by “abstinence” (Bishop Sentamu of Stepney, in London, England).

The words “and we commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual people” to clause (c) were added. This was proposed by Michael Bourke (Suffragan of Wolverhampton, England) and supported by Peter Selby, Bishop of Worcester.

Clause (g) was proposed by Archbishop Michael Peers of Canada, supported by Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford and carried on a voice vote.

The final vote was taken twice due to a confusion about the existence of an option to abstain.

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