According to a letter released by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has agreed to begin recognition of same-sex couples as full fledged members in churches. The church still however rejects blessing same sex unions and will refuse to ordain those involved in same sex unions into its rank.
The letter allows same-sex partners to be welcomed into church congregations as full members. In a statement released by the body of the bishops of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, a draft of Pastoral Guidelines declares that; ‘We reaffirm our assurance to them that they are loved by God and that all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ. Many of these are baptized and confirmed members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships.’
It’s not immediately evident how far-reaching the consequences or as may be perceived by a minority circle, advantages that this position by the Southern Anglican Church will get to. It appears that the move may help alleviate the stigma in the church and surrounding community of the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender community, but even breakthroughs of this regard in the past, have only worked to strengthen the resolve of those who do not accept the LGBT community.
There is also left to consider, the light in which the Anglican Church of Southern Africa may begin to be viewed in despite the many clarifications presented in the letter and the statement. On one hand are the people who will view the granted membership as a compromise on the church’s part and on the other are those who will take offense at the church’s maintained position on marriage and ordinations of same-sex couples.