Anglicanism involves tens of millions of Christians, and is the main Christian denomination in many countries – including its birthplace England, Canada and some African nations.
The Anglican Communion is made up of 42 different “provinces” – which are member Churches from all around the globe. But while these Churches all follow Anglicanism, a deep divide has developed regarding LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Queer) issues – especially the debate over same-sex marriage.
Its 42 provinces have differing opinions on the topic of LGBTQ issues. This divide is threatening the very fabric of Anglicanism, and a split seems to be inevitable soon. But where does each individual Church fall in the issue?
The Anglican Communion
Back in the 16th Century, King Henry VIII of England founded a new Church after splitting away from the then-dominant Catholic Church. Thus, the Anglican Church was born.
By the late 1500s, Anglicanism had spread as far as Canada, with missionaries travelling to many countries to spread the word about Anglicanism. It proved very popular, and attracted many followers.
In the latter stages of the 19th Century, Anglicanism reached Africa, with Reverend Samuel Ajayi Crowther becoming the first African man to lead an Anglican Church, with the Nigerian Anglican Church being founded in the process. Sadly, Nigerian Christians are facing genocide in the modern-day.
In recent decades, the “Lambeth Conference” has taken place, which invites members from all 42 Anglican Church provinces to visit the United Kingdom for a conference, where key topics are discussed.
In recent years, the Anglican position on LGBTQ issues has resulted in internal conflict. Sharp differences exist, especially on same-sex marriage and whether or not those who identify as LGBTQ should be ordained as clergy.
This came to a head at the 2022 Lambeth Conference, where the topic was discussed. Welby himself acknowledged that there was “deep disagreement” within the communion about the topic.
Welby himself has sent out mixed signals. He said that it is important to respect the conservative teachings on sexuality, which involves validating the 1998 declaration at the Lambeth Conference that same-sex marriage is a sin.
However, he has also said that any province that dissents and therefore accepts same-sex marriage, should not face any disciplinary action. It makes it appear as if he is trying to please everyone by effectively sitting on the fence.
The signs are that Welby is warming to the idea. In 2016, the US Episcopal Church – one of the biggest Anglican communions – were banned from representation and voting on key issues within the Anglican Communion after they accepted same-sex marriage.
Anglican Episcopal Churches That SUPPORT LGBTQ and Same-sex Marriage
Of the 42 provinces, the following have expressed support for LGBTQ issues and same-sex marriage, with some even performing services:
- American Episcopal Church
- Scottish Episcopal Church
- The Church of Wales
- The Anglican Church of Canada
- The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
- Episcopal Anglican Church of Brasil
- The Church of South India
- Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
- Anglican Church of Korea
- Anglican Church in Central America
Anglican Episcopal Churches That OPPOSE LGBTQ and Same-sex Marriage
Three of the provinces refused to attend the most recent Lambeth Conference, owing to the recent push towards LGBTQ rights. This is something these African provinces are fundamentally opposed to:
- The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
- Anglican Church of Rwanda
- The Church of the Province of Uganda
Many other provinces are opposed to LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage:
- The Church of Bangladesh
- The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
- The Episcopal/Anglican Province of Alexandria (Egypt)
- Congo Anglican Church
- Anglican Church of Chile
- The Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma)
- Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan
- Church of the Province of South East Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam)
- Anglican Church of South America
- Church of the Province of Central Africa
- Anglican Church of Kenya
- Anglican Church of Tanzania
- Episcopal Church of Sudan
- Anglican Church of Angola and Mozambique
- Anglican Church of Mexico
- Anglican Church of Burundi
- The Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
- The Church of North India
- The Church of Pakistan
Anglican Episcopal Churches That do not have a public position on LGBTQ and Same-sex Marriage
Then there are some provinces that do not have an official public position. Many of these are de facto against LGBTQ and same-sex marriage, but many merely “tow the party line” in following what the leaders say.
The Church of England are on this list, as while they do not officially support same-sex marriage, there are signs that it is increasingly moving in this direction.
Many of these Churches have strong liberal wings to them that have been pushing for LGBTQ issues, albeit up against conservative wings. This makes them undecided.
- The Church of England
- The Church of Ireland
- Anglican Church of Australia
- Anglican Church of Southern Africa
- Church in the Province of the West Indies
- Anglican Church of Melanesia
- The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East
- The Anglican Communion in Japan
- Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
- The Episcopal Church of the Philippines
Archbishop Justin Welby Needs to Return to Jesus, not be woke
One of the main issues facing the Anglican Communion is its leader – the Archbishop of Canterbury – Justin Welby. Instead of focusing on religion, Welby seems to be focusing more on “politically correct” discussion, championing awareness of climate change, ETC.
But this isn’t for the Church to get involved with. Welby needs to stop being woke, and focus on the real issues. Numbers are just going to keep dropping if his approach doesn’t change.
The Bible is God’s word, and its position on homosexuality and other LGBTQ issues are very clear. If we are following the word of Jesus Christ – our Lord and Saviour – then same-sex marriage must be opposed, along with ordaining LGBTQ clergy. We must follow the word of the Lord.
A civil war within Anglicanism is regretful, but a split seems sadly inevitable. LGBTQ issues won’t go away, and it is time for a decision to be made, and stuck to. If this means a split takes place, then it is a shame.
Bishop Williams Aladekugbe of the Nigerian province put it best while speaking to the Associated Press. He said that same-sex unions are “ungodly and devilish”. In response to opposition within the Anglican communion, Aladekugbe says that “if they don’t worship God the way we worship him, if they don’t believe in what we believe in, let us divide and we go our own way”.
But ultimately, Anglicanism should be following the word of God, which is clearly expressed in the Holy Bible. This is a critical moment for the Anglican Church.