Canadian and American missioners wanting to work for the Anglican Church in the Province of the West Indies will be restricted to those willing to “accept” the church’s standard of teaching and practice on homosexuality, which bans the blessing of same-sex unions but condemns “irrational fear of homosexuals.”
All Anglican bishops of the West Indies have been asked to enforce the new ruling, which was contained in a statement.
Canon Philip Wadham, Latin America/ Caribbean co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada’s partnerships department, said the statement merely advises missioners that they are to abide by the rules and regulations of the diocese while they are working there.
“It’s just meant to clarify where they stand as a province to prevent any confusion so that any missioner going there will be aware of the standard teaching and practice and will be required to accept that,” said Mr. Wadham. “That’s the situation that exists here, too. A priest is under the direction of the bishop and abides by the regulations of the diocese.”
The statement, which arose out of discussions on human sexuality and sexual ethics, said that the province’s “state of impaired communion” with the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster continues.
The statement reads in part, “permission to function within this province will be restricted to those persons who accept our standard of teaching and practices set out in the Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10.”
That resolution, approved by the Lambeth Conference of worldwide Anglican bishops in 1998, rejected homosexual practice as “incompatible with Scripture” but condemned “irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and commercialization of sex.”
Archbishop Drexel Gomez, primate (senior bishop) of the West Indies, a church province based in the Bahamas, did not reply to the Anglican Journal’s request for an interview.