The Listening Process

Reports from the Provinces - The Church of the Province of Central Africa.

The Church of the Province of Central Africa is beginning to consider how it might enter into a listening process, both to the experience of homosexual people and to the experience of Anglican Churches around the world. The Province believes that this is not something to be rushed into and needs careful consideration.

Up to this point the Province has not been involved in any consideration of homosexuality and has therefore not issued any statement from the Provincial Synod or House of Bishops.

In the cultures of Central Africa homosexuality is not something talked about. It is known in the prisons and cases are reported to those in authority. It is also known in the community, but it is often not acknowledged or named and when it is named, it is named negatively.

The communities of Central Africa take time to consider issues and any listening process should not be hurried into and should reflect the customs of listening which lead to consensus rather than quick declarations which could lead to divisions.

There is an awareness that in order to comprehend the thoughts of partners across the Communion there should be a careful consideration of human sexuality. However, it is understood that this will not be easy and it will take time.

The church has taken a positive role in enabling a good response to the tragedy of AIDS/HIV. It has worked hard to end the stigmatisation of those suffering from the virus.

The Archbishop has offered his own reflections. He comments that the response from Africa to the liberals calling for full acceptance of gay and lesbian weddings and the presence of homosexuals in every part of the church has been loud.

He says:

“While we accept being called ‘LOUD voices from Africa’ because we maintain a stand that is different from those that assume have a still and angelic voice on the issue of homosexuality, we totally agree that the listening process if vital not because we want  to compromise our position rather hoping that we will reach a point to understand one another for the sake of witnessing a redemptive wrought in the Anglican Communion.”

He continues:

“I strongly believe that gays and lesbians are God’s people so that they deserve as much love and respect as do heterosexuals, and that means listening and loving before judgement; gay bashing in any word or deed is clearly wrong for anyone who wishes to identify with Jesus. However, one remarkable thing I would like to share is that God and His Son Jesus Christ do not tolerate sin.”