Episcopal proposal: Don’t let anti-gay churches block LGBT aid

The Episcopal Church is considering a proposal to repeal a rule that currently restricts wealthy parishes and mission groups from aiding gay-friendly organizations in countries where the Anglican Church is anti-gay.

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda (Photo via Wikipedia)
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda (Photo via Wikipedia)

The proposed resolution, titled “The Episcopal Church Honors Bishop Christopher Senyonjo by expanding mission partnerships with Non-Governmental Organizations,” is scheduled for discussion at 7:30 a.m. Monday, July 9, in Room 6 of the Downtown Marriott before the World Missions Committee of the church’s General Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The resolution praises Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda as “globally recognized as an Anglican champion for LGBT inclusion,” but notes that he “was inhibited by the Anglican Church of Uganda and stripped of his pension and rights to exercise his ministry because of his inclusive welcome of LGBT people in his chapel at the St Paul’s Centre and his defense of their Constitutional rights.” It adds:

Even though Bishop Christopher’s ministry of inclusion is consistent with the Episcopal Church’s teaching and practice, the bishop has been unable to secure funding from any of the Church’s key mission resources. This is due to a policy that requires the Archbishop and Province to approve any grant application from their region. This policy can lead to support for policies that support criminalization and persecution of LGBT people or other activities which contradict Episcopal values.

To remedy the situation, the proposed resolution states:

“General Convention support[s] Anglican and other ministries engaged in the intersection of rights, development and justice consistent with our mission priorities and Millennium Development Goals; …

[The] World Mission Committee urges funding organizations of the Episcopal Church to expand partner relationships with other Non-Government Organizations whose missions are consistent with the mission goals of the Episcopal Church. These new partnerships can augment our mission commitment in areas where there may be no significant Anglican presence or where the policies and programs of a Province may be in opposition to the inclusive values of the Episcopal Church and current [gay=friendly] American foreign policy towards LGBT people.

Speaking before the World Mission Committee last week, Senyonjo said, “The prophetic leadership of the Episcopal Church is needed more than ever in the global south, where LGBT-inclusive programs need moral and financial support.”

The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which provides financial support for Senyonjo’s work, said, “We need to expand our mission to include churches and organizations who share our values of inclusion and reconciliation. There is an inadvertent inconsistency between what Episcopalians ‘say and do’ domestically on LGBT inclusion and who we fund internationally.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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