Crisis Comes to Church of England

by Robert Lundy, AAC


2013 brought the spiritual crisis of the Anglican Communion home to its mother church. No longer would unseemly arguments and debates over sexuality and the authority of holy scripture be solely associated with the North American cousins. Sadly, you might say that the Anglican Communion’s chickens have come home to roost in the Church of England.


Archbishop Justin Welby was installed as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury on March 21, 2013. Welby was a dramatic change from his predecessor, Rowan Williams, with his evangelical background, experience in the business world, plain-spoken nature and clean shaven face. The archbishop was quickly probed by reporters on where he stands regarding homosexuality and the church. The incoming Primate seemed to strategically assert his appreciation for the love evident in some homosexual relationships, sternly condemned “homophobia” and yet stopped short of an unequivocal, unapologetic endorsement of the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage.


This tactic was also on display in the UK House of Lords when the Church of England’s bishops had the opportunity to speak for or against Parliament’s same-sex marriage bill. Again, like most of his bishops, Welby, while opposing the bill for the “confusion” it would create, claimed:


“It is clearly essential that stable and faithful same sex relationships should, where those involved want it, be recognised and supported with as much dignity and the same legal effect as marriage.”


The archbishop went on to say:


“It is also necessary to express, as has been done already, total rejection of homophobic language, which is wrong – and more than that, sickening.”


In its own house of bishops, the Church of England removed a ban on bishops who were in civil partnerships if they remained celibate.


Reactions from the rest of the communion to these developments were quick to come. The majority of Anglican parishioners are in churches which reject such innovations. Nine leaders from the Global South Anglican network, a group of Anglican archbishops speaking for the majority non-Western Provinces signed a letter opposing the move.


Read here

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