Another Side of the African Church

Sometimes, the impression is given that all of the African Anglican churches are opposed to the North American Church, hate homosexuals, desire to force their particular theological opinions on the rest of the Communion. This is not true, however. The Most Rev. Njongonkulu Winston Hugh Ndungane, Archbishop of Capetown, and the Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, presents a very different picture of Africa. Here is an excerpt from his statement commenting on the Primates Meeting and their Communiqué.

I am glad that the communiqué from our Primates’ Meeting condemned the victimisation and ostracising of those with homosexual orientation. Too often that has been their experience within the church, and I am very concerned at the sub-text of hatred that exists within Anglicanism, for example in some of the responses to the Windsor Report.
I admit that I am dismayed whenever I hear language that seeks to make distinctions among human beings or discriminates on the basis of things over which we have no control – such as race, colour, gender, or sexual orientation. These are, so to speak, accidents of birth. They are gifts of our created nature, and all of us are worthy of the dignity that comes with being created in the image of God.
Because of just such an ‘accident’, I personally experienced prejudice, exclusion and injustice for over two thirds of my life. The principle of non-discrimination runs strongly in my veins – and indeed, I was imprisoned on Robben Island because of my fundamental belief in the intrinsic worth of every human individual, every child of God.
No, discrimination on grounds like these is wrong. Reconciliation and healing of relationships is the only way forward. That is the experience of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, which lived through the fullness of the apartheid atrocities, and yet found a way forward into freedom, reconciliation and new life together.
Let me be clear about what we have agreed to do. We have not expelled the churches of America and Canada. Nor have they been placed in some sort of limbo, as some press reports suggested. There are no legal provisions for any such actions.
The door to the Americans and Canadians is not shut. We have recognised that this is a deep and complex issue for them, which they must pursue and consider through their own proper constitutional processes. Because of the depth of democratic consultation within these Provinces, we recognise that this may take even a year or two.
And this is right. Because one of the hallmarks of Anglicanism is that we are a synodical church. This means that our deliberations are not just for Bishops. Rather, we consult fully, engaging with clergy and people at every level, right down to the parishes. Bishops, clergy and laity together take council and make decisions. We must give the Americans and Canadians the space to do this, and support them with our prayers.

Read the whole statement.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.