Talk:Homosexuality and the Anglican Communion

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Subsections of section 2[edit]

The subsections of section 2 make it sound as if the subsequent deliberations of the Communion concerning the issue of homosexuality were prompted by the consecration of Bishop Robinson. This is untrue, as the content of the subsections indicate. I think that a general section dealing with the precipitating causes of these deliberations would be in order, with the Lambeth meetings and Windsor Report, etc. following in a subsequent section. Thoughts anyone? Fishhead64 17:37, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Update request[edit]

This article should be updated with information about the recent primates' meeting in Tanzania and the ultimatum sent to the Episcopal Church USA, as discussed here and here. I'd do it myself, but I'm not entirely clear on the precise details of the communique, and it's important to be precise about these things. Anyone up to the challenge? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 02:25, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

COTM nomination[edit]

The nomination of this article for Anglicanism Collaboration of the Month for March was unsuccessful. The COTM is William Wilberforce. It has been automatically renominated for April. Thanks! Fishhead64 16:52, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

The renomination of this article for Anglicanism Collaboration of the Month for April was successful. Editors are invited to begin assessing the needs of this article and improving it. Fishhead64 02:37, 12 April 2007 (UTC)


The introduction to this article seems far too long- nearly a whole page before the contents box. Shouldn't most of the discussion in the introduction be elsewhere? Epeeist smudge 10:17, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I think four paragraphs of LEAD may be a little longer than average for an article this size, but probably not ridiculously long. At any rate, it should be a summary of everything that follows in the rest of the article. —Angr 10:52, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

"Stance of churches" section[edit]

A lot of the information in the "Stance of churches" section seems to come from I'd rather this section be rewritten as regular prose paragraphs highlighting the contrasting views in a general way rather than a list of churches and what they may or may not have said officially. We can still provide a link to the BBC article for further reading or as a reference. —Angr 18:14, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Removing unsourced statements[edit]

I am removing some statements that have been tagged "[citation needed]" for several months and for which I have not been able to find supporting sources:

  1. These different standards have led Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and current leader of the Communion, to call them contradictory. He has also noted in his interpretation of the Bible there are no passages condemning monogamous same-sex relationships. However, Williams has become increasingly cautious in his viewpoints in relation to this issue since his appointment to the English primacy, although he has a history of engagement with the liberal Affirming Catholicism movement and has consistently stated that the Anglican Church needs to engage with gay and lesbian people.[1] (the last statement here is sourced, but without the rest of the paragraph, it makes little sense to include it)
  2. As of 2004, other provinces such as the Episcopal Church in the USA, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, the Anglican Church of Mexico, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa permitted the ordination of non-celibate gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions, with similar reactions. (I'm only removing the "with similar reactions", as I believe that's all the source was requested for. Sources for the statements that these provinces permit ordination of gay clergy and bless same-sex unions don't belong in the lead section of this article.)
  3. Underscoring the divisions within Anglicanism, 14 of the 35 Primates present [at the meeting in Dromantine] refused to take Communion with the group because of their provinces' decisions to partially or completely break communion with the US and Canadian churches.
  4. A number of Anglican provinces, including the second-largest in membership (but largest in church attendance), the Church of Nigeria, threatened to leave the communion if a non-celibate gay man were allowed to be consecrated a bishop. In addition, a minority of priests and congregations within the Episcopal Church were also considering leaving the communion as result.
  5. Archbishop Peter Akinola has been one of the most outspoken critics of ordination of gay clergy and of blessing same-sex unions within in the Anglican Communion.

Once sources for these statements are found, they can be reincorporated into the article. —Angr 19:01, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm also removing the unsourced statement that the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil is "originally Low Church, but now migrating to a Broad Church/High Church style of liturgy", as it doesn't seem to be particularly relevant anyway. —Angr 14:15, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Text that needs to be included[edit]

If the following is not already spoken to in this article, can someone please incorporate it? It was removed from the lead of Christianity and homosexuality because it is too denomination specific.

Within Anglicanism, which still officially regards homosexual sex as sinful, there are theologians who do not regard homosexual acts as sinful.[2] Anglicanism has, therefore, experienced deep divisions over this topic, the most notable example being the consecration of Gene Robinson as a bishop in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, who was the first openly gay bishop in the Communion. It should be noted that the Episcopal Church in the United States, as of a recent Bishops' convocation in Texas, determined that homosexual Episcopalians were full and equal participants in the life of the church, and that "If that means that others reject us and communion with us, as some have already done, we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision."[3] It should also be mentioned that the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams has argued that "the scriptural text conservatives use to argue against homosexuality is misread."[4] These two examples demonstrate significant acceptance of homosexuality by Anglican clergy and also point to additional movement on this issue for the denomination in the future.

Thanks!LCP 20:21, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

No more gay bishops in the US[edit]

This seems rather important. A.Z. 04:49, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

LGBT box[edit]

Is there a serious reason why someone keeps removing the LGBT/Queer Studies box? It was taken out as "vandalism", which is really a wildly inappropriate accusation. I wasn't the one who put it in, but if there are no objections raised, I'll put it back in. Carolynparrishfan 19:14, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Church in New Zealand[edit]

The Statement regarding the Church in New Zealand is incorrect:

Official policy remains that of the Lambeth Conference (all homosexual activity is sin). The Maori and Pasifika tikanga are committed to this. Any participation leads to immediate summary withdrawals of any Bishop's licences, tantamount to immediate Excommunication.

Bishop's licences are granted to clergy, not laity, therefore withdrawing a license isn't excommunication. If a priest loses his/her license, he/she is "inhibited" from celebrating the sacraments. They cannot celebrate communion, marry or bury.

Excommunication means that someone cannot even receive the sacraments. These are entirely two different things. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

2nd openly gay bishop[edit]

I also notice that Bishop Terry Brown of the Diocese of Malaita (Solomon Islands)of the Church of the Province of Melanesia isn't mentioned. He is openly gay and attended the 1998 Lambeth Conference long before Gene Robinson was consecrated.

See: [1]

[2] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:28, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

The Arguments - The Texts..[edit]

Could someone in the know add a section in which the decisive arguments are specified; including any texts referred to, along with interpretation(s)? It is surprising, to say the least, that such a section is not already included. As it stands this article only lists a "summary of issues" followed by indications of who stands where; yet is without indication either as to why these are considered to be the 'issues', or why these are the stands taken.

WigglyWoggly (talk) 06:53, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Blessings for homosexual unions allowed[edit]

Epicsopal bishops can bless gay unions. GLGermann (talk) 09:57, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Very poor, misleading, unnecessarily inflammatory article, rewrite earnestly encouraged[edit]

Article contains no link to "Lambeth I.10" of 1998 - the resolution of the Communion which, at this last 10-yearly Lambeth convention, was clearly maintained as the mind of the Communion. It would seem that since the most important source document is not even mentioned, editors are explicitly dodging the bullet regarding the mind of the Communion on this matter, and trying to highlight those provinces dissenting with the rest of the communion, leaving a very skewed article indeed. Even though the resolution is not referenced, it is said that "it contained a line saying that this would not be the final word ..." or something like that - there IS no such line, or this is a very pointed re-interpretation - a "listening process" is indeed stipulated, but it is nowhere implied that the point of this listening process is for the eventual modification of the Communion's teaching regarding human sexuality. The point of the listening process is to better serve gay and lesbian people amongst us.

Lambeth resulutions ARE "binding" on all churches in the Anglican Communion - there simply is no legislative means of enforcing them. You would need to source this, and also beyond someone's mere opinion, since things have been exceedingly murkied with the activism taken on by a small vocal minority (The Episcopal Church and some other areas & organizations). I fear that this article's writers may be more acquainted with such activist sources and be missing the broader picture.

The article is also riddled with rather explosive language - e.g., Jeffrey John "succumbs," it is presupposed that those who objected to his consecration were "traditionalists," no evidence is given for the various churches cited that they allow same-sex blessings - the Church of Scotland makes clear that it does not explicitly permit such things, it simply has never had a resolution on the matter - inspiring someone to add it to this dubious list. In the long list of "minority groups" (note: language attempting marginalization of such groups), no evidence is given that they are minority groups, and in the case of Australia, very likely that this is a majority group (the Diocese of Sidney being so large, combined with whatever other groupings are there, may well represent a majority of the Church of Australia).

It's added that Jeffrey Johns became canon of a see which was the cite of England's first martyr (are we trying to implicitly associate martyrdom with him? Has anyone even hinted that the man should die? Do you know what martyrdom is?), and it's conveniently left out that Johns claims to be celibate, making his appointment to this post non-controversial if it is regarding his orientation alone - his views, on the other hand, which are not mentioned here, may have contributed to the controversy.

The "debates": Homosexual members of the church/communion: "may they exist?" Likely to prompt hatred amongst gays - has it ever been debated whether homosexual members may "exist" in any part of the Anglican Communion? This also plays into the fear of gays that they are "not allowed to exist" and church-bashing rhetoric that it refuses gays the "right to exist."

Likewise ordinations: the question has to do with ordination of people who engage in homosexual sex, and not people of homosexual orientation (who, if they remain celibate, may be ordained).

The article states at many points that the Anglican Communion is "diverse" or "widely diverse" but takes no account of the fact that Lambeth 2008 made exceedingly clear that Lambeth I.10 remains the "mind of the Communion."

It is claimed that Rowan Williams denounced bishops, when the sourced article only says that he denounced gay bashing in general, and his words were not explicitly aimed at bishops. This is blatant defamation of the Communion in stating that a denunciation of this stature has occurred.

I would encourage a complete re-write with more impartial writers and editors.

The issue of homosexuality in the Communion is a tough one. We do not want actively gay people to feel that it is MORE accepting of the position that gay Christians should be engaging in same-sex intercourse, more than is actually the case - because they could be in for major life disappointment. And we also do not wish to slander the Anglican Communion, no matter how low our own view of its teachings on human sexuality may be.

The resolution of the 1998 Lambeth conference is mentioned in the second sentence of the article, and again in the body of the text, so I don't understand what makes you think it's ignored in the article, but claiming it's "the mind of the Communion" is absurd – any implication that the Anglican Communion is of one mind on this issue is absurd. It's amusing how you object that the term "minority groups" marginalizes them, but you yourself refer to the Episcopal Church as a "small vocal minority". And the Anglican Church of Australia has 23 dioceses, of which the Diocese of Sydney is but 1; 1/23 is 4.35%, which is a small minority. (The number of members in each diocese is irrelevant as the bishop can speak only for himself, not for the opinions of rank-and-file members.) +Angr 20:37, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
It is never mentioned by name, so people can't find it.
You may find it "absurd" that something can be expressed as the "mind of the communion" but this is how the Anglican Communion tends to express itself, you will find the phrase frequently in the writings of the Archbishop of Canterbury and elsewhere. Perhaps you dissent to this terminology, but if so, this article should make clear how it dissents from this phrase, since Lambeth I.10 has clearly remained the mind of the Communion according to the Instruments of Unity of the Communion - I don't have a quick link available, I know it was expressed as such at Lambeth 2008, but you could look at the Archbishop of Canterbury's Advent Letter of 2007 for reference, and then try to find a statement made at Lambeth from him which clearly shows a changing of such mind.
Regarding the Diocese of Sydney - I was speaking in terms of members - I guess you are speaking about power. What I was referring to is not what I propose for publication, this is a talk page, not the article page. As you'll read in the wikipedia article on the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, about 50% of Australian Anglicans live there. TEC has about 700,000+ that attend church weekly, so I can indeed demonstrate that it IS a minority compared to the rest of the Communion - whereas I haven't seen your numbers yet.
You have not addressed the issues of inflammatory language, why Lambeth I.10 is never referred to by name (how Anglicans refer to it, and its proper designation as a Lambeth resolution, nor that it is never linked to in this article), nor the issue of defamation of the Communion. I respectfully await your reply.

MORE regarding "the mind of the Communion

Strangely enough those who like to sow doubt regarding the authority of the Lambeth Conference in the church often accuse others of "literalism" which is a charge I haven't quite understood given the complexity of hermeneutics - N.T. Wright suggests we refrain from using the word "literal" and "literalism" on some occasions, and use the word "concrete," as in a word's "concrete sense" - more frequently.
Regarding the phrase, "the mind of the communion," obviously this is not intended to be used in its most "literal" or "concrete" sense. The Communion does not have a brain, it is composed of many individuals who all have different minds. Since Lambeth is not a legislative body, what it expresses is more issues of doctrine, core values, and directions, rather than the "If you don't do this than this is the consequence" type thing. The crisis here is regarding the exceedingly explicit violation of the values and directions set out by the Lambeth Conference; however, in the end, TEC can really only be asked to comply with the directives, with the only possible recourse of the rest of the Communion in issuing further directives. So these resolutions are not laws, or canons, as dioceses and churches have. The term we tend to use for this is thus "the mind of the Communion."
See (about the Advent Letter); ; It should be added that the "mind of the Communion" is also expressed through the other Instruments of Unity - the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, the Primates' Meetings, and the Anglican Consultative Council - but the Lambeth Conference being the first and foremost.
The situation is very confusing since there is a great deal of controversy in the Communion surrounding the issue of homosexuality - however, it is not about what the Communion believes about human sexuality. The controversy is, rather, what the proper way is of dealing with provinces, dioceses, parishes, and individual clergy members who contravene the expressed mind of the Communion on these matters. One can look through the history of the last few Primates' Meetings to see the various proposals, and also how, in particular, The Episcopal Church has reacted to them. There is controversy surrounding the proposed Anglican Covenant; the controversy is not, "is same-sex intercourse a good thing in the eyes of God?" - it is rather, "what should be our reaction to parts of the communion which continue to insist on teaching this, in contravention of the expressed mind of the Communion?" Indeed, since some whole provinces have come out vehemently against the Anglican Communion's teaching on sexuality, many would have cause to doubt that this is the "mind of the communion" - and that this would be more important than what has been decided via the Instruments of Unity. However, this is not how Anglicans refer to things.
The problem with this article is, aside from the factual errors, the inflammatory language, and the unsourced claims, the general tenor which fails to acknowledge what the mind of the Communion is on the matter, and where exactly the controversy lies. The article strongly conveys the impression - and boldly states - that homosexuality itself is "controversial" in the Communion. It may be in provinces of the Communion which vehemently dissent from the mind of the Communion on this matter, but in the Communion itself, it is not. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

The problem with this POV is that this is one understanding of the mind of the Communion, whereas others differ on this, and point out that historically the Communion has not had the type of structure and sanctions underpinning such authority in the way that the Catholic Church has. There is no one mind of the Communion - it is split, and of two minds (although some would like to think that where it accords with their view, that is the one mind that counts. The Archbishop himself has acknowledged that he has no power by which he can impose his authority in a directive way that would be necessary to impose what some see as the mind of the Communion on those who are of a different mind within that Communion, and to do so would be a departure from Anglican tradition, particularly in the case of provinces that established a certain independence at the same time as gaining independence from the Crown. The Archbishop has described his position as 'primus inter pares' (first amongst equals) in this respect, as he is not the head of the Communion, the only head being the English monarch as head of one part of that Communion - the Church of England, and he being her minister. However, all you describe is actually WP:OFFTOPIC for this article, and in the context of this article is WP:OR. The reality is that many (most?) Anglicans in the USA, UK and other countries simply do not see it this way, and regardless of any smoke-and-mirrors exercise that makes them magically disappear in a puff of smoke, they don't, and that is reflected in the article - whether you WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT or not. OK? If some Anglicans don't like that, by all means describe that, but don't try and pretend it is not the case. Mish (talk) 23:04, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Mish, agreed here that the Lambeth Conference is not a legislative body - it is nonetheless involved in expressing "the mind of the Communion." There are Anglicans who dissent, but the article should make clearer that this is a position of dissent departing from what we in the Communion know of as the "mind of the Communion." The Archbishop of Canterbury is also one of the four Instruments of Unity of the Communion, which you would know if you had read what I wrote above. Provinces do indeed have a high degree of independence, but choose nonetheless to bind themselves to the Anglican Communion and to respect its Instruments of Unity. No one is making anyone go up into a puff of smoke.
The controversy does indeed need to be accurately represented, including the viewpoints of those who dissent from the "mind of the communion" as I'm describing here. Much admirable work has gone toward this end. But it has been much too enthusiastic and insinuates controversy at a level where there is none - at the level of the Communion, there is resounding agreement. This last Lambeth Conference made this quite clear. The controversy at Communion-level is how to respond to provinces, dioceses, parishes, and individuals who dissent and teach and act contrary to Lambeth I.10 (this would include excluding people of homosexual orientation from pastoral care, by the way - excluding people in such a way is forbidden by Lambeth I.10). Other controversies do rage within other provinces, as in North America. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:46, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
I understand, but it would be best if you could draft what you would like inserted/replaced - preferably re-writing the section concerned - and present it here for review. Although people are supposed to write from a NPOV, if people have occupied a framework for 30-40 years where they understood the mind of the Communion to be different from what has been asserted over the past ten years or so (and seemingly endorsed by bishops and clergy), I can understand how it would be difficult to write in a way that this was not the case. OK? Mish (talk) 19:26, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Mish, thanks. Don't quite understand you with if people have occupied a framework for 30-40 years where they understood the mind of the Communion to be different from what has been asserted over the past ten years or so (and seemingly endorsed by bishops and clergy), I can understand how it would be difficult to write in a way that this was not the case. OK - makes me think you have a rather monolithic view about "what has been asserted" - but I think I can guess ;) - and yes, I can empathize that writing this type of article could be difficult for those who aren't much aware of the happenings at Lambeth, the acts of the other Instruments of the Communion, and a knowledge of the Communion's recent history which somewhat goes beyond what usually hits the press. Many in The Episcopal Church are also rather busy in "revisioning" history and reality on these matters, which tends to mold opinions in a manner which ... ignore some of the most central facts here, and tend to present viewpoints as facts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:30, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
No, what I mean is that for many Anglicans, the message they were receiving was this was not a problem. Gay priests were being ordained, bishops seemingly approved, I met one (recently retired) at an LGCM conference, fully supportive, gay and lesbian priests were (and still are) living together with partners, and only in some diocese was this a problem, most priests I knew outside of Conservative Evangelicalism certainly did not consider being gay an issue amongst the laity. This was not recent, it goes back at least forty years. Then came 'Some Issues' which threw many people. Now history is being re-written to say that this never happened, that the church has never been this way, and because the policy was one of ensuring this was kept in the closet (don't ask, don't tell), a kind of deniability operated. Sure, Lambeth says one thing, but many bishops didn't seem to go along with this, and what changed was Carey, who shifted the balance in the House of Bishops towards Conservative Evangelicalism. Before that there had been a balance between CEs, Liberals and Anglo-Catholics, and within that diversity was unity. What was lost was unity in favour of uniformity, and because the communion always was diverse and not uniform, ny trying to impose a uniformity that is only understood that way by one section of the Communion, it has fragmented the Communion. I cannot approach this from any other viewpoint, because I have witnessed it for myself, and I can see no other understanding as anything other than partisan. This led me leaving the church myself, and having lost my faith is something I will never forgive - because I am no longer called upon to forgive. Instead, I can hate the people who did this to the church I once loved - people tainted by pentecostalism and fundamentalism, and other doctrines alien to the communion presenting themselves as 'truly Christian' and wiping away generations of theology and biblical scholarship in favour of a literal understanding which elevated an English interpretation/translation of the bible made in the late 20th century to 'the Word of God'. I don't buy it. We have about six words known to have been spoken by Jesus, the rest is all in translation - from Aramaic to memory, from memory to Greek, and from Greek to English, and nowhere does he discuss the issues Lambeth have spent the past few decades wasting time over (while the churches themselves lost most of the people who attended), nowhere does he discuss turning faith into fund-raising projects for church roofs, halls, lighting systems, etc. So, simply write what you think should go in, and other editors can have a look at it. Mish (talk) 10:57, 2 October 2009 (UTC)
Mish, it breaks my heart to hear how you lost your faith, and certainly the other things which you must have gone through in your experience in church. Ideas do have consequences, and they're sometimes tragic. I wish I could say more and wish I knew your situation better. I was hoping someone else would take up the task of writing this (a different matter - but the evolution within the CofE will be a somewhat different history from the Communion at large - it sounds like part of what might have happened here is simply the response of the Church to the neo-orthodoxy of Barth et al, and hermeneutics of Thistleton & Gadamer etc..), there was a lot of pretty naive stuff going on in the "liberal" branches of many churches at that time, but none of this is directly applicable to the issue of human sexuality (though certainly would have had implications). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:29, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Election of anglican bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool[edit]

In December 2010 open lesbian anglican bishop Mary Douglas Glasspool was elcted in Los Angeles. (talk) 20:32, 29 March 2010 (UTC)


Reverend Mally Lloyd and the Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, two high-level Episcopal priests, married in Massachusetts on New Year’s Day 2011.

Church in Wales[edit]

Gay clergy is in Church in Wales allowed. In 2011, Church in Wales gives pensions for gay partners of anglican clergy. The Church of England General Synod approved the change in 2010.

Far too short a time period[edit]

This article fails to go back before 1990, whereas the issue has been rattling around the CofE since the 1950s, and there were various crises over the years that informed the present situation: the response to decriminalisation in the 60s, the attitude of bishops then and since (Don't ask / don't tell). As a result this article is much less than encyclopedic and need a radical reworking. Ender's Shadow Snr (talk) 10:30, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Needs updating[edit]

Could somebody familiar with the issues update this part please? It is now after 2008.

Homosexuality, specifically the consecration of Gene Robinson, is anticipated to be a major issue at the 2008 Lambeth Conference. A group of conservative bishops opposed to homosexual ordination and marriage, including most of the "global south", will be gathering in June 2008 at the Global Anglican Future Conference.[1]

(no WP account so posting as anon) (talk) 19:47, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Church of England[edit]

In 2013, Church of England plans blessing of gay couples. (talk) 02:20, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Williams, Rowan (1992). "Doctrine and ecclesiology". In Jeffrey John (ed.). Living Tradition: Affirming Catholicism in the Anglican Church. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley. pp. 29–43. ISBN 0232519811. 
  2. ^ See the work of Rowan Williams, John Spong, Living in Sin?
  3. ^ Episcopal Resolution, Navasota, TX, Associated Press, posted on 30 March 2007.
  4. ^ Reuters, posted 17 April 2007