Orthodox bishops say they will not take Holy Communion with gay-bishops

Orthodox bishops say they will not take Holy Communion with gay-bishops
Bishops of the Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England. [Photo: Courtesy]

​The Orthodox bishops have resolved not to share the Holy Communion table with their gay colleagues.

The bishops came to the conclusion during the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches comprising 25 provinces, who attended 15th Lambeth Conference.

The conference, as a gathering of all the bishops of the Anglican Communion worldwide, is held every 10 years, was held in Canterbury, the headquarters of the Anglican Communion in England.

The bishops had’ petitioned again​​st same-sex marriage and or conducting of gay weddings by some provinces of the Anglican Communion and gay-bishops.

“The bishops also want the Communion to impose sanctions on Provinces which ordain bishops in same-sex relations, and conduct same sex weddings – something which has led to schism in the Church,” the statement read.

“They have also revealed that at the two Conference’ Eucharists at Canterbury Cathedral, orthodox bishops will not receive Holy Communion alongside gay-partnered bishops, and those who endorse same-sex unions in the Church’s faith and order. They shall remain seated.”

The Primate of Episcopal Church of South Sudan, and the chairman of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican (GSFA) churches, the Most Rev Dr Justin Badi Arama, early this week said they would soon give their position on gay-marriage, by reaffirming the Lambeth resolution 1.10, which they said was the rightful and official teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality.

“Two weeks ago, I set out the four priorities of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches as Bishops gathered for the Lambeth Conference. These were unity of the orthodox, Biblical Faithfulness, not breaking off from the communion, but being a holy remnant, and a deep commitment to world mission,” Badi said.

The Primate said the orthodox bishops of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican (GSFA) churches would table their resolution before the Anglican Communion by Monday as Bishops including the Archbishop of Canterbury reaffirm their commitment to Lambeth resolution as the official teaching on marriage and sexuality.

“As you watch this today, I will have just announced to the media that the GSFA is to table its own resolution at the conference. We will give every Bishop the opportunity to reaffirm Lambeth 1.10 as the Anglican Communion’s official teaching on marriage and sexuality,” he added.

“On Monday, we will talk to you again as we give bishops the text of the resolution and the way in which they can sign up.”

The orthodox bishops represent 75% of the Anglican Communion and will urge the communion to sanction provinces that ordain bishops who are gay practitioners who are with same sex partners and conduct same sex weddings.

Lambeth 1.10 (1) is said to have been passed at the Lambeth Conference of 1998. Many bishops agreed that marriage is between one man and one woman and sexual abstinence outside marriage is the Biblical teaching.

The resolution further listened to homosexual persons and gave them their assurance that they were loved by God and all the people who are baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation were members of the Body of Christ.

However, the Episcopal Church of America (TEC), the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales, later ordained gay married bishops and conducted gay weddings.

The orthodox bishops in the Global South had been pushing for implementation of Lambeth 1.10 since the ordination of the United States’ gay bishop, Gene Robinson in 2003 and what is called the breaches of moratoriums in Windsor Report of 2004.

Primate Badi said, “we have taken this action as if we are to ’walk together’ as a Communion, it must be based on a shared commitment to Holy Scripture. To us in our provinces, this is not primarily about gay sexual practices and unions, but rather that Anglicans look first and foremost to be guided in their faith and order by Scripture, and not by the passing cultural waves of Western society.”

“Sadly, some provinces are adapting the teaching of the Church to try to appear relevant, and to make discipleship easier as a way of reversing fast-declining church attendance. But as disciples, we are not told in Scripture to mold Jesus into ‘our’ image, but to be continually transformed by the Spirit into ‘His’ image,” he argued.

James Wong, the Archbishop of the Province of Indian Ocean said the world could not be mended when the Anglican Communion is apart.

“At this conference, we are being asked to look at the needs of our broken world, and to offer hope. But we cannot mend a broken world when the Anglican Church is so broken and fractured,” Wong said.

“All provinces must remember that they are part of one body, and one Communion. Unfortunately, some provinces put emphasis on being autonomous, and forget the necessity of being interdependent.”