On 5 March 2023, the Egypt Council of Churches (ECC) issued a statement vis-à-vis the stance of the Episcopal/Anglican Church in Egypt regarding the decision by the Church of England to bless same-sex couples. The statement read:
“The Egypt Council of Churches welcomes and supports the statement issued by the Episcopal Church in Egypt, in which it declared its firm adherence to the teachings of the Bible regarding marriage being a sacred, permanent bond between one man and one woman … and that any other form of bond between two of the same gender is absolutely rejected.
“The five member Churches in the ECC confirm their adherence to the teachings of Christ and the Bible regarding this matter.”
The statement was signed by Rev. Yeshua Yacoub, Secretary-General of Egypt’s Council of Churches.
In February 2023, the Church of England’s General Synod voted to let priests bless same-sex couples living in a civil marriage or partnership.
In response, the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) issued a press statement on 20 February announcing that ten Primates of the GSFA met virtually on 13 February 2023 under chairmanship of Archbishop Justin Badi (Chairman of GSFA & Primate of South Sudan) to discuss their response. They declared their “great sorrow at the recent decision of the Church of England’s General Synod” regarding the blessing of same sex unions, remarking that the Church of England had departed from the historic faith passed down from the Apostles by this innovation in the liturgies of the Church and her pastoral practice (contravening her own Canon A5) … and had thus disqualified herself from leading the Communion as the historic “Mother” Church. “Indeed, the Church of England has chosen to break communion with those provinces who remain faithful to the historic biblical faith expressed in the Anglican formularies.”
The statement noted the ten GFSA Primates could no longer recognise the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury. “As much as the GSFA Primates also want to keep the unity of the visible Church and the fabric of the Anglican Communion, our calling to be ‘a holy remnant’ does not allow us to be ‘in communion’ with those provinces that have departed from the historic faith and taken the path of false teaching. This breaks our hearts and we pray for the revisionist provinces to return to ‘the faith once delivered’ (Jude 3) and to us.”
The statement went on to announce that: “With the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury forfeiting their leadership role of the global Communion, GSFA Primates will expeditiously meet, consult and work with other orthodox Primates in the Anglican Church across the nations to re-set the Communion on its biblical foundation.
“Given the action by the Church of England’s General Synod, we believe it is no longer possible to continue in the way the Communion is. We do not accept the view that we can still ‘walk together’ …”
Yet, the signatory Primates declare: “We will not walk away from the Communion that has so richly blessed us and for whose faithfulness to God and His word our forebears have paid a costly price. What happened in the Church of England has only served to strengthen our resolve to work together to re-set the Communion, and to ensure that the re-set Communion is marked by reform and renewal.
“Only then will the Anglican Church as a whole be able to be God’s channel of light and transformation in a dark and broken world.
“To this end, GSFA will work humbly, boldly and charitably with other orthodox parts of the global Anglican Church … We will ask God to purify and build up our churches so that we can authentically and passionately take the Gospel out to our respective nations and assigned fields.
“This is what we in GSFA are looking forward to as we prepare for our first GSFA Assembly under our Covenantal Structure (Cairo, 2019), which will be from 28 – 31 May 2024 in Cairo.”
The Statement was endorsed by the GSFA Primates of South Sudan, Chile, Indian Ocean, Congo, Myanmar, North Africa, Bangladesh, Uganda, Sudan, Alexandria, Brazil, and Melanesia.
Noteworthy is that the Episcopal / Anglican diocese in Egypt is one of the dioceses of the province of Alexandria; it includes under its leadership 10 countries in Egypt, with North Africa, and the Horn of Africa and Gambella.
, had given a word before the Synod of the Church of England during which he confirmed the view of GSFA on marriage and sexual relations. The Archbishop stressed that in this regard there was a red line never to be crossed: that it was unacceptable to bless same-sex unions. He said that 75 per cent of the Anglican Communion across the world do not accept crossing that line.
8 March 2023
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