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Anglican leaders rejected the leadership of the archbishop of Canterbury in a scathing letter after the Church of England voted earlier this month to offer blessings for same-sex couples.
The statement against Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was signed by archbishops from 10 of the 42 provinces of the global Anglican Communion who represent conservative provinces, mostly in Africa and Asia, that believe homosexuality goes against the Bible.
“The Church of England has chosen to break communion with those provinces who remain faithful to the historic biblical faith,” said the statement from members of the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches.
The archbishops claimed the Church of England “has departed from the historic faith passed down from the Apostles by this innovation in the liturgies of the Church and her pastoral practice,” and drifted into “false teaching.” It is therefore “disqualified” from being the leader of global Anglicanism, the letter stated.
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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, front, fourth from right, with bishops from around the world at University of Kent in Canterbury during the 15th Lambeth Conference on July 29, 2022. (Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
The archbishops further said that they were “no longer able to recognize the present Archbishop of Canterbury as the first among equals leader of the global communion.”
“[Welby] has sadly led his House of Bishops to make the recommendations that undergirded the General Synod Motion on ‘Living in Love & Faith,’ knowing that they run contrary to the faith [and] order of the orthodox provinces in the Communion whose people constitute the majority in the global flock,” the clerics wrote.
The statement was signed by GSFA chair Archbishop Justin Badi of South Sudan, along with the archbishops of Chile, the Indian Ocean, Congo, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Uganda, Sudan, Alexandria and Melanesia.
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Archbishops in 10 of the 42 provinces of the Anglican Communion said they were no longer able to recognize Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as their spiritual leader. (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
The archbishops said that they would continue to work 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,” they added.
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The letter comes amid deep global divisions among Anglicans regarding gender and sexuality. Following two days of extensive debate, the General Synod voted earlier this month in favor of offering prayers for God’s blessing on same-sex couples.
“The Church of England has chosen to break communion with those provinces who remain faithful to the historic biblical faith.”
The three houses of the Synod, which serves as a sort of parliament for the U.K.’s established church, voted overwhelmingly to support the motion, but stopped short of changing the church’s formal doctrine regarding marriage being between one man and one woman.
The Synod also voted to “lament and repent” for not being welcoming toward LGBTQI+ people, according to a press release.
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Lambeth Palace, which serves as the archbishop of Canterbury’s official residence in London, acknowledged the letter from GSFA in a statement and said “we fully appreciate their position.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby leads the opening service of the 15th Lambeth Conference at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent on July 31, 2022. (Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
“The deep disagreements that exist across the Anglican Communion on sexuality and marriage are not new,” a spokesperson for the Church of England said, noting that “no province can bind another province, and no Instrument of Communion has any jurisdictional authority over any province.”
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“In a world of conflict, suffering and uncertainty, we must remember that more unites us than divides us,” the spokesperson said. “Despite our differences, we must find ways to continue walking and working together as followers of Jesus Christ to serve those in need.”
Jon Brown is a writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected].