Africa / Europe / Faith and religion

Canterbury rally to Anglican leaders: Listen to LGBTI people

African LGBTI activists, church members and their supporters are organizing a trip to Canterbury, England, tomorrow to deliver a message to Anglican Church leaders who are meeting there:

Africans urge Anglican primates to listen to LGBTI people

Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral

Date: Friday 15/01/2016
Time : 1pm-2:30pm
Venue: Canterbury Cathedral
Cathedral House
11 The Precincts
Canterbury
CT1 2EH
United Kingdom

To coincide with the meeting of Anglican Primates in Canterbury this week, the rally ‘Listen to LGBTI people’ is organised by African LGBTI organisation Out and Proud Diamond Group and supported by Peter Tatchell Foundation, House of Rainbow Fellowship and the Kaleidoscope Trust.

We are calling upon the Anglican Primates 2016:

  • To listen to LGBTI people.
  • To understand that the Church is the body of Christ therefore they should not think of breaking  the body of Christ.
  • To preach the gospel of love for all, including LGBTI people.
  • To support LGBTI people in the Church and outside the Church.
  • To campaign against the persecution of LGBTI people in their countries and communities.
Juliet Akao (Photo courtesy of Out and Proud Diamond Group)

Juliet Akao (Photo courtesy of Out and Proud Diamond Group)

“Our appeal is for the Primates to listen to LGBTI people. It saddens us that many of them seem unwilling to do so. They make decisions about us without inviting and listening to the LGBTI faithful. We are African LGBTI people, many of us Anglicans, who simply want to heard. We want an opportunity to speak to the Primates. It is a fair and reasonable request,” said Juliet Akao, member of the African LGBTI organisation Out and Proud Diamond Group.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is hosting  37 Primates to Canterbury this week to reflect and pray together concerning the future of the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. (Photo courtesy of Info.Catho.be)

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called this week’s meeting of Anglican Church leaders to try to keep the issue of homosexuality from creating a schism in the worldwide organization of churches descended from the Church of England. (Photo courtesy of Info.Catho.be)

The gathering which started on 11 January 2016 will come to a close on 16 January 2016. The meeting is an opportunity for Primates to discuss key issues face to face. These will include a review of the structures of the Anglican Communion and deciding together their approach to the next Lambeth Conference. The Anglican Communion isn’t itself a church; it’s a family of churches, spread across 165 countries, with around 85 million members, with 38 provinces and One Lord Jesus Christ.

The agenda has been set by common agreement, with all Primates encouraged to send in contributions. It is likely to include the issues of religiously-motivated violence, the protection of children and vulnerable adults, the environment and human sexuality.

It is very clear that this meeting is composed of the most influential people in the Anglican Church Worldwide among the attendees are the most Revd

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Photo courtesy of Anglicans Ablaze)

Anti-gay Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Photo courtesy of Anglicans Ablaze)

Nicholas Okoh of the Church of Nigeria, the most Revd Stanley Ntagali of the Church of Uganda [Editor’s note: Ntagali walked out the meeting in protest, he announced  on Jan. 13.], and the most Revd Justin Portal Welby of the Church of England among others.

The decisions made in the Primates 2016 meeting will have an ever lasting effect on the members of the Anglican Church worldwide including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Christians. It is not clear yet whether the issue of the LGBTI members of the Church will be at the table. This could be because of the fear from some members who have threatened to break away from the Anglican  Church due to the increased desire in some member churches to include and ordain LGBTI people in the ministry of the Church.

Edwin Sesange (Photo courtesy of WorkersLiberty.org)

Edwin Sesange, co-director of Out and Proud Diamond Group (Photo courtesy of WorkersLiberty.org)

“The Anglican Church has a responsibility to oppose the badge of stigma, shame and harm attached to homosexuality in many countries. It is their responsibility to bring an end to the inhuman treatment of LGBTI people. In many countries, for example, in Uganda and Nigeria, the Church leaders are openly spreading very damaging messages about LGBTI people and their allies. Many people have lost their ministries in the Church because of either being LGBTI or being sympathisers. This can no longer be the position of the Church towards people who were created in God’s image according to the Bible,” said Edwin Sesange, Director of the African LGBTI organisation Out and Proud Diamond Group.

In an Open Letter published in advance of this week’s Canterbury gathering of Primates, senior church figures including cathedral deans, retired bishops and well-known lay figures call on the Church to acknowledge its failure to care for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual Christians.

They plead for the primates to act in Christ-like love “towards those who have been ignored and vilified for too long.” The signatories say: “We have not loved them as we should, and have treated them as a problem to be solved rather than as brothers and sisters in Christ to be embraced and celebrated. We have made them feel second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God, often abandoned and alone.”

They continue: “We, the Church, need to apologise for our part in perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs about LGBTI people, such as the slanderous view that homosexuals have a predisposition to prey on the young.”

The Rev. Jide Macaulay, founder of the House of Rainbow Fellowship in Nigeria. (Colin Stewart photo)

The Rev. Jide Macaulay, the Anglo-Nigerian founder of the House of Rainbow. (Colin Stewart photo)

The signatories include eight retired bishops and a serving bishop, Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson.

“It is unfortunate that there is a blatant misunderstanding of homosexuality by the African churches and Bishops. A complete divorce from the theology of inclusion. It saddens me that little time and effort has been given to these issues on the continent. We have asked the question ‘What would Jesus do?’. LGBT people have the right to be called and identify with the church. It is my hope and prayer that the church and the Bishops will have a change of mind. I don’t believe schism is the answer but a truth towards openness to theology and the Holy Spirit on this matter,” said Rev Jide Macaulay, founder & CEO of the House Of Rainbow Fellowship.

Please join us tomorrow. Share this event widely.

Edwin Sesange
Director
Out and Proud Diamond Group

4 thoughts on “Canterbury rally to Anglican leaders: Listen to LGBTI people

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  4. Pingback: Diaspora African LGBTI activists win status as U.K. charity | 76 CRIMES

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