“A proposal to make formal provision for pastoral care to church members identifying as gay and lesbian” will be on the agenda at the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s Provincial Synod‚ which will take place late in September.
The same item for debate also says “clergy who identify as LGBTI (lesbian‚ gay‚ bisexual‚ trans‚ and/or intersex) and are in legal same-sex civil unions should be licensed to minister in our parishes”.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town said in a statement on Wednesday: “The motion‚ tabled by the Diocese of Saldanha Bay‚ proposes that any bishop of the church who wishes to do so may make provision for her or his clergy to provide pastoral care to those who identify as LGBTI.”
The motion also provided an opt-out as it “accepts that any cleric unwilling to take part in providing pastoral care to people who identify as LGBTI shall not be obliged to do so”.
Makgoba said the item also “affirms the assurance already given by our bishops that church members who identify as LGBTI are loved by God and share in full membership of our church as baptised members of the Body of Christ”.
“More controversially‚ the motion also proposes that clergy who identify as LGBTI and are in legal same-sex civil unions should be licensed to minister in our parishes.”
While “it specifically rules out the possibility of marriage under church law”‚ the motion does suggest “that ‘prayers of blessing’ should be able to be offered for those in same-sex civil unions”.
The agenda containing the proposal is being sent to dioceses of the church this week.