KAMPALA –The Church of Uganda has officially embarked on the process of splitting from Canterbury – the worldwide seat of the Anglican Ecclesiastical -after its decision to bless same-sex marriages and civil partnerships.
In a poll on Thursday – the national assembly of the Church of England voted to allow priests to bless same-sex marriages and civil partnerships but maintained the ban on Church weddings for same couples.
Reports indicate that the blessings are expected to begin later this year after the Church of England refines its guidance and issue supplemental prayers and liturgies for the priests to use.
The decision made by the Church of England general synod comes after five years of discussions about their position on the matter. The general synod comprises of Bishops, clergy and lay people.
The Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu – the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda noted that the resolutions by the General Synod of the Church of England were of great concern.
He told journalists on Friday that the Province would next week start meetings – focusing on splitting from Canterbury around April – when church leaders under the Global Anglican Future Conference- GAFCON movement are scheduled to meet in Kigali, Rwanda.
According to Kaziimba, the House of Bishops and the Provincial Assembly are united on the matter and will not allow walking the path of the Church of England.
The Church of Uganda already cut ties with the Episcopal Church of America, except for those who joined the GAFCON movement which was formed in 2008 in Jerusalem after more than 1,000 members of the Anglican Church broke away from the Lambeth Conference citing moral compromise, doctrinal error, and the collapse of biblical teachings in parts of the Anglican Communion.
At the centre of their disagreement was the 2003 consecration of Reverend Eugene Robinson, an openly gay priest in the USA as Bishop of the New Hampshire Diocese under the Episcopal Church in America. The formation of GAFCON was also informed by the failure by the Archbishop of Canterbury to discipline the Episcopal Church in America for their action.
Kaziimba said the Church of Uganda had more than 200 members scheduled to travel to Kigali in April for the 4th Global GAFCON meeting.
“We will be there with many Bible-believing Archbishops, Bishops, and Anglicans from all over Africa and the world. These are the ones who have not bowed their knee to Baal. (1 Kings 19.18),” said the Archbishop.
Kaziimba noted that the latest development from the Church of England emphasize that the church is under attack.
He appealed to Ugandans and the faithful to follow biblical teachings about marriage – adding that their position on the issue remained rooted in the biblical teachings.
From the first page of the Bible in the book of Genesis to the last page of the Bible in the book of Revelation, it is clear that God’s design for human flourishing is that we are part of a family – a family that is defined as one man and one woman united in holy matrimony for life and, God willing, a union that produces children. God’s Word has said that the only context for sexual relationships is in the context of a marriage of one man and one woman, said the Archbishop.
Kaziimba notes that any other kind of marriage that is not between one man and one woman is a sin.
He criticized the Church of England for changing the message of the Bible and providing opposite teachings to the people.
We now want to ask the Church of England, do you have the integrity to step out of the Anglican Communion because you have departed from the Anglican faith?” God called you to preach a Gospel of repentance and faith. Instead, you’re like Jonah. You have disobeyed and are running in the opposite direction. There is no way we are walking together, said Kaziimba.
The Archbishop called for repentance from the Church of England, together with the Episcopal Church in America, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, and other Provinces which he says have walked away from true teachings of the Bible.
And, if they refuse to repent, then we call on them to have the integrity to form their own Canterbury Communion because what they believe is not Anglicanism and it is not the faith once delivered to the saints. If they want to take their whole church into the belly of a whale, they are free to do that; we are, after all, autonomous Anglican Provinces. They are not free to drag the whole Anglican Communion with them. The Anglican Communion is not an extension of the Church of England, the Church of England has departed from the Anglican faith and are now false teachers, added Kaziimba.
Kaziimba recounted his earlier message to parents and appealed to them to watch over their children and beware of well-funded gay organizations that are recruiting children into homosexuality.
Not only in Kampala but all over the country, they target our poverty and promise our youth money. If you have already been exploited or abused by such groups, please go to your Bishop for prayer, support, and guidance. You will be received with love and compassion. To our Head Teachers -if an organization is bringing money and resources to your school, or inviting your students to a function, do your research. Make sure you know who they really are, appealed Kaziimba.