Anglicans could ‘formally disassociate’ from Church of England after same-sex blessings vote
General Synod voted for offering blessings to lesbian and gay couples who are married or in civil partnerships - Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe
The Church of England is facing the break-up of the Anglican Communion following its vote on same-sex blessings, the Telegraph understands.
Sources close to the conservative Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), which represents churches on every continent and the majority of Anglicans worldwide, have said that they fully expect the organisation to “formally disassociate” from both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England.
Their warning comes after the General Synod, the Church’s lawmaking body, this month voted in favour of offering blessings to lesbian and gay couples who have already been married or had a civil partnership.
However, the vote has angered both progressives who claim that it does not go far enough to offer full equality because the church still prohibits same-sex marriages, and conservatives who claim that Holy Matrimony should only be between a man and a woman.
The GSFA is expected to make a formal announcement on Monday regarding its future ties with the Church of England and the Most Rev Justin Welby.
It is understood that the GSFA believes that the Church of England essentially voted to leave the Anglican Communion after voting through blessings for same-sex couples.
One source said of the Most Rev Welby, who is head of the worldwide Anglican Communion: “He has committed heresy as far as the Global South is concerned, and led the Church of England away from the Anglican Communion.”
They added that they “fully expect the Global South to formally disassociate from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England because the Church of England essentially voted to leave the Anglican Communion when it passed blessings for same-sex couples”.
Ahead of the landmark vote, which has divided both the Church of England as well as the more conservative Anglican Communion, conservative bishops from around the world warned that the Archbishop risked breaking up the international network over same-sex marriage blessings that “rewrite God’s law”.
Leaders from Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya have already spoken out to criticise the result.
The Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Rev Dr Jackson Ole Sapit, has criticised the “powerful secular voices that have captured the Church of England” and said he was “saddened by the departure of our mother church from the true gospel”.
‘Deviant, revisionist actions’
Most recently, this week, the Most Rev’d Dr Henry C. Ndukuba, Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria – a country which is home to a third of Anglicans worldwide – released a scathing comment criticising the “deviant, revisionist actions of some Western Anglican Churches, including the Church of England [that] are negatively affecting the image, moral credibility and evangelical activities of faithful Anglican Christians”.
He added that his church would be forced to “take steps to redefine our relationship with those who persist in wilful disobedience to God’s Word” and Jesus Christ “into disrepute”.
“If the Archbishop of Canterbury and his Bishops deny the faith and mislead the church, then what would ordinary congregants do? Hence, the fate of Christianity and the Church have experienced a terrible decline, loss and irrelevance in the secular and post-Christian Western world.”
A spokesperson for the Archbishop of Canterbury said they would not comment on speculation from anonymous sources.