There is a wide range of beliefs within the Anglican Communion regarding homosexuality.
The majority of followers believe that heterosexuality or celibacy is required of Christians, but believe in tolerance towards others. This differs from secular society in most western democracies, which considers homosexuality to be a normal human variation, and affirms this in law. Some of the more specific issues under study within member churches and dioceses are:.
Anglican churches are diverse in their views, from churches which do not accept any LGBT members, to churches which are happy to have openly same-sex, partnered or married , non-celibate bishops. The nature of the Anglican Communion is such that not all churches or dioceses must agree on all issues in order to share a common faith and baptism. Part of the controversy concerns how much and what sort of disagreement over these issues may exist while still calling it a "common faith".
Regarding "human sexuality", the conference said that it upholds "faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage".
On “Going Episcopal”
Furthermore, it refused to "advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions". In response to the division following the Lambeth Conference of the previous year, most Church of England bishops although not including the then Archibishop of Canterbury George Carey , and many others elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, agreed on a document that upheld the human rights of homosexual people, while recognising and not seeking to resolve division over the morality of homosexual acts. This came shortly after a similar controversy in England when an openly gay priest , Canon Jeffrey John , was appointed to become the Suffragan Bishop of Reading.
Eventually, however, John agreed to withdraw in order to avoid division. In , in the aftermath of Robinson's election as bishop , John was installed as Dean of St Albans , the cathedral there being the site of England's first Christian martyr.
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As a result of the controversy over the ordination of gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions , on 15 October , Anglican leaders from around the world met in Lambeth Palace in an attempt to avoid a schism on the issue. The day after, they released a lengthy statement: We must make clear that recent actions in New Westminster and in the Episcopal Church USA do not express the mind of our Communion as a whole, and these decisions jeopardise our sacramental fellowship with each other.
If his [Gene Robinson's] consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy. In this case, the ministry of this one bishop will not be recognised by most of the Anglican world, and many provinces are likely to consider themselves to be out of Communion with the Episcopal Church USA. This will tear the fabric of our Communion at its deepest level, and may lead to further division on this and further issues as provinces have to decide in consequence whether they can remain in communion with provinces that choose not to break communion with the Episcopal Church USA.
Similar considerations apply to the situation pertaining in the Diocese of New Westminster. We commend the report of that Conference in its entirety to all members of the Anglican Communion, valuing especially its emphasis on the need to listen to the experience of homosexual persons, and [ As Primates, it is not for us to pass judgement on the constitutional processes of another province. We recognise the sensitive balance between provincial autonomy and the expression of critical opinion by others on the internal actions of a province.
In the Archbishop of Canterbury , Rowan Williams , wrote a letter to Anglican churches worldwide in which he condemned comments by bishops outside the Western world for inciting violence against gay men and women. Any words that could make it easier for someone to attack or abuse a homosexual person are words of which we must repent.
Do not think repentance is always something others are called to, but acknowledge the failings we all share, sinful and struggling disciples as we are. In a speech to theology students in Toronto , Williams argued that conservatives have failed to consider the wider context of Romans 1: Romans 2: Bishops from two Anglican provinces, the Province of Rwanda and the Province of South East Asia , consecrated missionary bishops for the United States in January and formally established the Anglican Mission in America now called the Anglican Mission in the Americas later that year.
In , a similar jurisdiction created by the Reformed Episcopal Church and former members and congregations of the Episcopal Church in the USA was officially launched. Four dioceses which withdrew from the Episcopal Church account for the majority of the nearly congregations affiliated with this church, the Anglican Church in North America.
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Neither is a member of the Anglican Communion at present see Anglican realignment. Bishops in Uganda cut relations with the Diocese of New Hampshire following Robinson 's consecration on 2 November The Church of Nigeria declared itself in "impaired communion" with the Episcopal Church on 2 November ,  and nine days later announced it was planning to establish a United States branch of its province to support Nigerian Anglicans living in the U.
The Province of South East Asia broke communion with the Episcopal Church on 20 November , citing Robinson's consecration as the reason for its action. In , the Lambeth Commission on Communion issued a report on homosexuality in the Anglican Communion, which became known as the Windsor Report. This report took a strong stand against same-sex attracted people, recommended a moratorium on further consecrations of openly gay bishops and blessings of same-sex unions and marriages,  and called for all involved in Robinson's consecration "to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion".
Apology by bishops. Ronald H.
Haines, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. The statement apologised to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans for the Windsor Report and for the fact that their voices were not heard by the Conference. By 30 October , the statement had been co-signed by bishops representing every continent except Antarctica. In February , the Primates of the Anglican Communion held a regular meeting at Dromantine in Northern Ireland at which sexual orientation was heavily discussed. Of the 38 Primates, 35 attended. Both the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada were asked to voluntarily withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council , the main formal international entity within the Anglican Communion until the next Lambeth Conference in The episcopal ministry of a person living in a same-sex relationship is not acceptable to the majority of the Communion.
In December , the Diocese of Los Angeles elected Mary Douglas Glasspool , a lesbian priest with a female partner as a suffragan bishop. She was consecrated on 15 May A majority of the primates voted to punish the Episcopal Church for revising its canons and marriage rites allowing same-sex marriage. It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.
Shortly after the meeting of the Anglican primates, Archbishop Justin Welby held a press conference in which he apologised "to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for the hurt and pain they have experienced by the Anglican Communion over the years".
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Welby said, "it is for me a constant source of deep sadness that people are persecuted for their sexuality … I want to take this opportunity personally to say how sorry I am for the hurt and pain in the past and present that the church has caused. Within the Anglican Communion there is diverse opinion over sexual orientation.
The Church of England has been discussing human sexuality, same-sex unions, and marriage. Civil partnerships enable these Christian virtues to be recognised socially and legally in a proper framework. But the Church of England's doctrine on marriage is [that it is between a man and a woman]. In the preface, Archbishop George Carey described it as a document for "careful study and reflection". The conclusion of the document listed questions for reflection.
Instead of enabling open and charitable discussion, it has served as an instrument of management and control. The issue of human sexuality erupted when Jeffrey John , an openly gay priest, was elected Bishop of Reading in May Before he could take up his post there was strong opposition from a minority of bishops and he was persuaded to not proceed with the appointment. However, many senior bishops [ who? Later in he was installed as Dean of St. Further controversy erupted when churches in the Diocese of St Albans decided that they would withhold contributions until further notice to protest this appointment.
St Andrew 's Church in the Hertfordshire town of Chorleywood also announced that it would withhold funds until further notice. Yet, in , reporters confirmed that hundreds of same-sex blessings occur, although unofficially, every year. In , "the majority of Bishops who voted during the whole passage of the Civil Partnerships Act through [the] Lordships' House were in favour of civil partnerships.
On 25 July , the House of Bishops issued a pastoral statement on the "implications of the Civil Partnerships " which came into force on 5 December It also noted that "the new legislation makes no change to the law in relation to marriage". However, it said that if clergy are "approached by people asking for prayer in relation to entering into a civil partnership," they should "respond pastorally and sensitively". Regarding clergy themselves, "entering into a civil partnership" was not considered "intrinsically incompatible with holy orders, provided the person concerned is willing to give assurances to his or her bishop that the relationship is consistent with the standards for the clergy set out in Issues in Human Sexuality House of Bishops, December David Jenkins, the former Bishop of Durham, offered a blessing for a vicar who had entered into a same-sex partnership.
In part it read that nothing should be done "that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions". Its Resolution 1. In , in spite of the action by the General Synod, St Bartholomew's Church in London offered a rite of blessing for two priests entering into a same-sex civil partnership. In , the Diocese of London provided guidelines saying "clergy The working group included Sir Joseph Pilling chairman, four bishops and three advisers.
In , the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, London, the Very Revd David Ison, announced his support for same-sex marriage and said that he had officiated at blessings or prayer services for same-sex couples. Mpho Tutu and her partner.
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Couples approaching the clergy should receive a warm welcome and affirmation". In April , the Church of England's Faith and Order Commission, in a missive to clergy, also communicated that "there was a need for committed same-sex couples to be given recognition and 'compassionate attention' from the Church, including special prayers. It said that the Church should "stand firmly" against "homophobic attitudes" and should repent "for the lack of welcome and acceptance extended to homosexual people in the past, and to demonstrate the unconditional acceptance and love of God in Christ for all people".
The report's key recommendation was "that the church's internal dialogue on the subject of human sexuality might best be addressed through a process of conversations across the church and involving others in the Anglican Communion". This recommendation was endorsed and acted on by the church as recounted later in this section. In January , the College of Bishops  endorsed the Pilling Report recommendation about process of conversations on the issue of homosexuality.
After the legalisation of same-sex marriages, the Church of England communicated that "the option of civil partnership should remain open for same-sex couples. In February , the House of Bishops decreed the following: Still, "gay couples who get married will be able to ask for special prayers in the Church of England after their wedding, the bishops have agreed". A panel of three senior bishops has been set up to advise other bishops on how to apply the guidance when clergy dissent.
The usual format is an informal letter of rebuke and no further action, meaning more and more clergy are choosing to marry their same-sex partners. In April , the Archbishop's Council and House of Bishops asked that the government to continue to offer civil partnerships saying that "The Church of England recognises that same-sex relationships often embody fidelity and mutuality In September , the College of Bishops met for three days. As part of the conversations the college shared the different responses being expressed in the life of the church and the deeply held convictions and experiences that inform them.
Specifically, he demanded to know if Church of England clergy who married a same-sex partner would be disciplined or defrocked. In , the Most Reverend John Sentamu , Archbishop of York , told a lay preacher , Jeremy Timm, that if he persisted with plans to marry his long-time partner, his licence to preach in Anglican churches would be revoked.
As of August , an agreement was reached: Timm would complete existing preaching commitments before revocation. Timm announced his plans to be married in September and to leave the Church of England  and join "Contemplative Fire", a dispersed, diverse and inclusive group that is primarily Anglican. Other bishops and dioceses have supported same-gender marriage and have advocated for the right of gay priests to marry.
Agnes in North Riddish held a "service of blessing" and "ceremony of commitment" for a priest who had resigned to marry his partner. Edmundsbury and Ipswich appointed the Revd Joe Hawes , who is in a civil partnership, as dean of the cathedral. In , the General Synod announced that, in response to the growing support for gay marriage, it will reconsider allowing blessing rites for same-gender couples entering into marriage.
From 10 to 12 July , following the prorogation of the meeting of the General Synod, most "members met in an informal setting in which they listened and were heard as they reflected together on scripture and a changing culture in relation to their understanding of human sexuality". It is our hope that what has been learned through the relationships developed will inform the way the church conducts whatever further formal discussions may be necessary in the future. It is our prayer that the manner in which we express our different views and deep disagreements will bear witness to Jesus who calls us to love as he has loved us.
In September , the Bishop of Grantham, the Rt Rev Nicholas Chamberlain , announced that he is gay and in a celibate relationship with his male partner becoming the first bishop to do so in the Anglican church.