Church of Uganda and the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) have finally denounced Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury as the head of the global Anglican Church. “The GFSA is no longer able to recognize the present Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Hon & Most Revd Justin Welby, as the ‘first among equals’ leader of the global communion,” the statement signed by the primates reads in part.
The statement is jointly signed by the chairman of the Global South, Archbishop Justin Badi of South Sudan, and the Provincial Archbishops of Chile, the Indian Ocean, Congo, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Uganda, Sudan, Alexandria, and Melanesia. The move stems from a recent decision by the General Synod of the Church of Englands to permit clergy to bless same-sex couples.
In their statement, primates also accuse Welby of having regrettably led the House of Bishops in England to support the motion on “Living in Love and Faith” well knowing that doing so would go against the orders and beliefs of the orthodox provinces in the Communion, whose citizens make up the majority of the world’s flock.
The clerics also note that the Church of England has strayed from the historic faith and is no longer regarded as the “mother church” of the Anglican communion. “Given this action by the Church of England’s General Synod, we believe it is no longer possible to continue in the way the Communion is. We do not accept the view that we can still ‘walk together’ with the revisionist provinces,” the statement added.
They further stated that as GSFA Primates, they would swiftly meet, consult with, and work with other orthodox Primates in the Anglican Church across the nations to restore the Communion to its biblical foundation in light of the Church of England’s loss of its position as the global Communion leader. The decision was not a surprise for Ugandans where Church Of Uganda Archbishop, Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has been warning the faithful since December 2022 that they would begin the necessary procedures to leave Canterbury, once it officially declared its support for same-sex unions.
When the national assembly of the Church of England chose to preserve the prohibition on Church weddings for same couples while allowing priests to bless same-sex marriages and civil partnerships, Kaziimba reiterated the position of the Church of Uganda on the subject.
“And, if they refuse to repent, then we call on them to have the integrity to form their own Canterbury Communion because what they believe is not Anglicanism and it is not the faith once delivered to the saints. If they want to take their whole church into the belly of a whale, they are free to do that; we are, after all, autonomous Anglican Provinces. They are not free to drag the whole Anglican Communion with them. The Anglican Communion is not an extension of the Church of England, the Church of England has departed from the Anglican faith and are now false teachers,” Kaziimba said.
The church of England has for long been the historical progenitor of Anglican churches around the world under what is termed as Anglican Communion, a loose federation whose bishops recognize the Archbishop of Canterbury in England as their spiritual leader. However, over the past decades, a section of Anglicans in Africa and other parts of the global South has become increasingly critical of the socially progressive tendencies of their mother church and others in the west.
This criticism has focused particularly on same-sex marriage and related LGBT rights. To this effect, the conservative Anglican churches had over the years been severing ties with churches that espouse liberal views on homosexuality, including the Episcopal Church in the United States.