Of the bishops meeting for the Lambeth Conference this fortnight, 175 have signed an additional public statement that affirms and celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people as full, beloved members of God’s family.
On 2 August, the 600+ bishops meeting for the Lambeth Conference considered the Lambeth Call on Human Dignity, which talked about the God-given worth of all people and acknowledged the strongly held opposing views on marriage and human sexuality that are a reality in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
On the same day, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops released a statement in support of full inclusion of LGBT+ people in the life of the church and committed to tackling discrimination and prejudice against those of differing sexualities and gender identities.
By the evening of 7 August, the number of bishops and archbishops signed on to the affirmation of LGBT+ people had grown to 175, with three bishops in Southern Africa newly signing on since 5 August.
Archbishop Don Tamihere, whose signature tops the list alongside Archbishop Philip Richardson, said that when he was invited, he was happy to sign.
“Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa have been consistent in our support for the inclusion and protection of our takatapuhi whānau. God’s love is unconditional.”
The five initial primates that signed the statement were: Primus Mark Strange (Scotland), Presiding Bishop Michael Curry (Episcopal Church USA), Archbishop Naudal Alves Gomes (Brazil), Archbishop Linda Nicholls (Canada) and Archbishop Andy Johns (Wales).
The statement has also been signed by Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy (Perth), Archbishop Michael Lewis (Cyprus and the Gulf), Archbishop Anne Germond (Algoma and Moosonee) and Lynne McNaughton (British Colombia and Yukon), and Bishop of Auckland Ross Bay, as well as diocesan and assistant bishops from across the USA, Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Mexico, Southern Africa and Wales.
The online statement which includes a full list of the signatories can be found here.
The full text of the statement follows below.
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“So then, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” – Ephesians 2:19
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” – John 13:34
God is Love! This love revealed by Jesus, described in the Scriptures and proclaimed by the Church, is Good News for all – without exception. That is why we believe that LGBT+ people are a precious part of God’s creation – for each of us is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14), and all are equally loved.
We recognize that many LGBT+ people have historically been wounded by the Church and particularly hurt by the events of the last few weeks. We wish to affirm the holiness of their love wherever it is found in committed relationships.
We therefore commit to working with our siblings across the Communion to listen to their stories and understand their contexts, which vary greatly. However, we will never shy away from tackling discrimination and prejudice against those of differing sexualities and gender identities.
Together, we will speak healing and hope to our broken world and look forward to the day when all may feel truly welcomed, valued and affirmed.