The Anglican Church of Southern Africa on Friday rejected a proposal to allow “prayers of blessing” to be offered for people in same-sex civil unions under South African law.
After announcing the vote‚ Archbishop Thabo Makgoba called for silence “as we bring before God the pain that this outcome will cause to some members of this synod‚ some members of our parishes‚ some members of our church”‚ said a statement issued by the office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town.
The vote was taken by the church’s Provincial Synod on a proposal by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay‚ which stretches from the northern suburbs of Cape Town to the Namibian border.
Opposition to the proposal was strongest among bishops‚ with 16 voting against and six in favour. Sixty-two percent of lay representatives to the synod voted against it (41 votes to 25)‚ and 55 percent of clergy (42 to 34).
The church includes Anglicans in Angola‚ Lesotho‚ Mozambique‚ Namibia‚ South Africa‚ Swaziland and the island of St Helena.
Same-sex marriage is allowed only under South African civil law.
Before announcing the result‚ Makgoba spoke of the “palpable pain” in the church over the vote.
“The pain on both sides is palpable and tangible‚ and the image of a double-edged sword pierces me.”
But‚ he said‚ the issue might hopefully be taken up again at the next Provincial Synod in 2019.
The matter could also be raised at the worldwide meeting of Anglican bishops in 2020 and that it could be discussed at the local level in parishes and dioceses “so that we can continue to discern together the mind of God”.
The initial motion before the Synod also proposed that bishops could provide for clergy who identify as lesbian‚ gay‚ bisexual‚ trans or inter sex and are in legal same-sex civil unions to be licensed to minister in parishes.
But the proposers withdrew this section before debate began. — TMG Digital
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