A meeting of Anglican clerics mid next month in Zambia might not take place after countries in Africa that make up the largest congregation, announced they would boycott it over same-sex marriages.
Anglican bishops in Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria have indicated they will stay away from the conference until a “godly order” is restored in the Church.
“We regret our inability to attend the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia,” Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, the primate of the Church of Nigeria said in a statement on the church’s website on Sunday.
“As long as we are candidates for whom every opportunity in the Anglican communion should be explored to gradually teach us to embrace the new sex culture, it will be unwise to deliberately walk into a well-prepared camp of recruitment, blackmail, indoctrination and toxic relationship.”
The conference in Lusaka — the 16th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) — starts on April 8 to 19 and is supposed to bring together Anglican bishops, priests and laity from across the world.
Generally, it is supposed to discuss how to keep the gospel, despite continuing challenges from secular forces. But the question of whether to accept same-sex marriages as part of the church’s culture has caused divisions, once again.
Archbishops Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Stanley Ntagali of Uganda and Okoh of Nigeria say attending the conference would amount to violating the teachings of Christ on which the Anglican Church stands.
The three countries cumulatively host about 42 million of the estimated 57 million Anglicans in Africa. The three also belong to a conservative group of the church’s leaders called the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon) formed in 2008 to protest the ordination of openly-gay priests in the American arm of the church, the Episcopal Church, back in 2003.
The Zambian meeting is still controversial and the three leaders say they do not want to be part of a conference where the Church of Canada, which also supports homosexuality, will be attending.