The bishops of the united churches of South Asia on Saturday urged the Anglican Communion to resolve its differences over human sexuality “by a continuing process of listening and healing, where we may be willing to forgive and accept one another generously and move towards true reconciliation.”
They invited the entire Anglican Communion “to do some heart-searching and in humility walk the Calvary road so that our differences, self-justifications and arrogant attitudes may be crucified and that we all experience the power of the resurrection…”
At the same time, however, the bishops said that they “acknowledge the biblical norms on human sexuality and urge that within the Anglican Communion this may be upheld for the effective witness of the gospel.”
Bishops John Wilson Gladstone (Church of South India), Brojen Malakar (Church of North India), Alexander John Malik (Church of Pakistan), and Paul. S. Sarker (Church of Bangladesh) signed the statement, copies of which were given to the media.
“We are saddened and disturbed by the fractured nature of the Anglican Communion today, which seems to have been primarily caused by the issue of human sexuality,” the bishops’ statement said. “We do feel the pain of the absence of some bishops who have kept themselves away from this fellowship.” (More than 230 bishops and primates who oppose more liberal views on homosexuality have boycotted the once-a-decade conference of bishops here.)
The bishops also applauded the initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in organizing the Walk of Witness, where the world’s Anglican bishops and leaders of various faith communities took to the streets of London urging governments to fulfill their promise to halve poverty by 2015 as part of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
“We call upon the Anglican Communion to seriously take up this challenge and help to restore the dignity of the exploited and abused humanity. They will certainly mean an equitable sharing of resources within the Communion,” the bishops said.
They also urged the nearly 80-million Anglicans worldwide to “stand in solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed religious minorities” and work for “equitable justice to all, especially to the women, children and dalits of South Asia and other parts of the world.”. (Dalits, often called untouchables, are people who in traditional Indian society are regarded as the lowest caste and perform the most menial of tasks.)