Statement of the Sudanese Bishops to the Lambeth Conference on the ECS Position on Human Sexuality

Statement of the Sudanese Bishops to the Lambeth Conference on the ECS Position on Human Sexuality

July 2008

In view of the present tensions and divisions within the Anglican Communion, and out of deep concern for the unity of the Church, we consider it important to express clearly the position of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) concerning human sexuality.

We believe that God created humankind in his own image; male and female he created them for the continuation of humankind on earth. Women and men were created as God’s agents and stewards on earth We believe that human sexuality is God’s gift to human beings which is rightly ordered only when expressed within the life-long commitment of marriage between one man and one woman.  We require all those in the ministry of the Church to live according to this standard and cannot accept church leaders whose practice is contrary to this.

We reject homosexual practice as contrary to biblical teaching and can accept no place for it within ECS. We strongly oppose developments within the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada in consecrating a practicing homosexual as bishop and in approving a rite for the blessing of same-sex relationships. This has not only caused deep divisions within the Anglican Communion but it has seriously harmed the Church’s witness in Africa and elsewhere, opening the church to ridicule and damaging its credibility in a multi-religious environment.

The unity of the Anglican Communion is of profound significance to us as an expression of our unity within the Body of Christ. It is not something we can treat lightly or allow to be fractured easily. Our unity expresses the essential truth of the Gospel that in Christ we are united across different tribes, cultures and nationalities.  We have come to attend the Lambeth Conference, despite the decision of others to stay away, to appeal to the whole Anglican Communion to uphold our unity and to take the necessary steps to safeguard the precious unity of the Church.

Out of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we appeal to the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada, to demonstrate real commitment to the requests arising from the Windsor process. In particular:
-  To refrain from ordaining practicing homosexuals as bishops or priests
-  To refrain from approving rites of blessing for same-sex relationships
-  To cease court actions with immediate effect;
-  To comply with Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference
-  To respect the authority of the Bible

We believe that such steps are essential for bridging the divisions which have opened up within the Communion.

We affirm our commitment to uphold the four instruments of communion of the Anglican Communion: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council; and call upon all Provinces of the Communion to respect these for the sake of the unity and well-being of the Church.

We appeal to this Lambeth Conference to rescue the Anglican Communion from being divided. We pray that God will heal us from the spirit of division. We pray for God’s strength and wisdom so that we might be built up in unity as the Body of Christ.

The Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul
Archbishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan and Bishop of Juba

7 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Gillian Says:

    Given the appalling number of women and girls being raped in the Darfur area of Sudan, I would think the Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul, Primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, would have far more important issues on his mind at this moment.

    I would hope he would be lobbying his fellow primates, archbishops, and bishops for support in getting the world’s attention and help in healing the conflict in his country.  This should be where all his attention at this time is focused. I am absolutely certain it is where his people wish his attention were focused, where their hearts are crying out for help.

    Dear God, how can the Primate of Sudan care about anything other than the grievous suffering of his people at this time?

    Jesus, please help your people. Lord, have mercy!

  2. cdburt Says:

    The Statement from the Sudanese Episcopal Church is focused on one of the primary issues facing the Anglican Communion. Gillian’s comment is a put down and a distraction. The Lambeth Conference is not assembled to discuss girls being raped in Darfur, although this is an important issue. The Lambeth Conference is faced with preserving the unity of the Anglican Communion. Gillian’s condescending remark that Dr Deng should not care about the problem of homosexuality in Anglican Communion because he has a problem of girls being raped in Darfur is unbelievable! She has totally missed the point. One of the reasons girls are being raped in Darfur is because of Islam, and the Gay marriage thing leaves the church in a morally weak position in confronting Islam.

  3. Gillian Says:

    I would ask you to reread my post. At no point did I say Dr. Deng shouldn’t be concerned with homosexuality, just that right now, I would think there would be other far more important, far more seriously pressing issues on his mind.

    And yes, Lambeth would be an appropriate place to raise the issue of the treatment of women in the Sudan crisis. It is not being condescending to raise this issue - it is being Biblical to point out that Jesus said what ever you do to the least of these, you do to him.

  4. cdburt Says:

    Gillian, What was the purpose of your post, if it was not to say that The Sudanese Anglicans would do better to focus on girls being raped in Darfur rather, than on the immediate problem at hand in the Anglican Communion? Please! Is it your position that the Lambeth Conference should focus its attention on the conflict in Sudan, or that Dr. Deng should not bring up the issue of Anglican disunity caused by the gay issue? I have reread your post and I see no purpose in it at all except to criticize Dr. Deng for the spurious reason that he fails to mention girls being raped in Darfur. Now really! This IS condescension. I believe you owe Dr. Deng an apology.

    I don’t know what you would rather have him say, or anybody else, for that matter. Is Lambeth a place where bishops should pussyfoot around the important issue threatening to divide the Communion? It seems to me that he has given the clearest statement yet of what needs to be done: Robinson should resign and the bishops supporting him should repent and ask for forgiveness. How on earth can you criticize him for doing that?

  5. Gillian Says:

    Now you’ve got it. The point of my original posting was to say that Dr. Deng, the Sudanese Primate, would do better at this point in his country’s crisis to be focusing on what is happening to his country’s women and children rather than on what is happening with an Anglican bishop in the United States.

    Don’t you think Jesus cares more about the women and children being raped by the thousands in Darfur right now? That he thinks that terrible crisis should be the top priority for the Primate of his church in the Sudan?

    Well I do.  And I expected Dr. Deng to be going to Lambeth saying that he needs help from the Communion to focus the world’s leaders’ attention on the crisis in his country and to get aid for his people.

    I think that’s what Jesus would have him do.

    The split in our Communion at this time is less important than how we care for the world’s suffering people.  Jesus commanded us to care for each other and we can find healing as a Church by living this love in practical ways.

    This is what Jesus asks of us.  This is what the women and girls of Sudan desperately need from us.

  6. cdburt Says:

    Gillian, It is you who still have not got it. I would be interested in your comments on what Dr. Deng actually DID say, rather than on what he did NOT say. He offered a prescription for heading off a schism in the Anglican Communion. Correct me if I am wrong; this is the major issue facing Lambeth. You say he should have been talking about something else instead. Your gratuitous remarks to TEACH Dr. Deng what he should be concerned about are condescending in the extreme and an abuse of this blog. You don’t know if he has spoken on the subject of Darfur on other occasions. Why do you pick this occasion to attack him with the implication that he is more concerned about Anglican Unity than he is about girls in his country? Could it be that you are angry about what he actually DID say? If so, please address yourself to that issue.

  7. Gillian Says:

    I would like to commend Dr. Deng for his moving presentation to the Lambeth Conference appealing for help for prayers and support for the situation in Darfur and the ongoing crisis in his country.

    See http://www.aco.org/acns/news.cfm/2008/7/23/ACNS4460
    or
    http://tinyurl.com/6dfw8x
    for the full text.

    May God motivate the world to pray and support his people.  May God bring healing to Sudan.

    Thank you, Dr. Deng.