Ugandan church to boycott Anglican meeting in protest at gay rights reforms

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The Archbishop of Uganda is leading a boycott of the global Anglican Communion, as a rift over LGBT rights worsens.

Deep divisions have arisen in the global Anglican church over LGBT issues, with a stark contrast between teachings in largely pro-LGBT Western churches and hardline anti-gay Anglican churches in Africa and the Global South.

In the past few years, Canadian Scottish and American churches have all sparked anger from hardline African archbishops by modernising on LGBT rights, embracing gay bishops and same-sex unions. The Church of England has also begun to make reforms.

Today, the Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali said he would boycott the next primates meeting of the Anglican Communion, amid fears that the global alliance of Anglican churches is due to permanently shatter.

Speaking to the BBC, Ntagali said he was not prepared to tolerate people with “an unbiblical view of marriage”.

The primates of the Anglican Communion are set to meet in October.

Ahead of the meeting, Welby had written to the primates from around the world to insist that the Church of England remains opposed to same-sex marriage.

He wrote:  “I certainly feel the need to be with you, to share our experience and in prayer and fellowship, to support one another and seek how best we can serve the call to preach the gospel, serve the poor and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”

Nigerian archbishop Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, said: “I support the Bishops’ declaration that doctrine on marriage should not change – that marriage should be a lifelong commitment between a man and woman.

“The Anglican Communion position is set out [opposing same-sex marriage]. That is our lodestar.”

The Anglican Communion had been due to hold its once-a-decade meeting of global bishops, known as a Lambeth Conference, in 2018.

However, the Conference has been indefinitely shelved over fears that there would be a boycott. The last Lambeth Conference to actually be held, in 2008, was also boycotted over LGBT rights.

After demands from Archbishops in 2016, the Anglican Communion ‘punished’ the US Episcopal Church for affirming equal marriage, and warned other churches adopting equality may face the same fate.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby oversaw the decision.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
The Primtes said: “Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage.

“Given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years

“The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.”

At the time, the statement had warned: “Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation.”

Welby has previously admitted there is a “realistic chance” the Anglican Communion will split.

He said: “I think, realistically, we’ve got to say that despite all efforts there is a possibility that we will not hold together, or not hold together for a while.

“I could see circumstances in which there could be people moving apart and then coming back together, depending on what else happens.”

He added: “It would take a long time for the latent underlying link to Canterbury to cease to be an important factor in the way people looked at life and the Communion.

“I’m not saying that that’s inevitable or even more probable than not. I think it’s very much up in the air at the moment. And my suspicion is that the vast majority of people will stay within the Communion, completely.”