Members of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting this week in Scotland have today shared in a unique experience of testimony and witness. A group of gay and lesbian Christians have shared with us their own story and pilgrimage. As the ACC is a representative gathering of the world wide Anglican Communion, the reaction to such testimonies is broad and diverse. The whole area of human sexuality is complex, personal and comes wrapped in cultural understandings. Speaking for myself, I come from Tanzania in Africa, and from a church which holds the traditional teaching on human sexuality and marriage.
I am thus grateful for this hearing today as it is consistent with the communion we share and the nature of a consultative body such as the ACC. Listening to everyone and to each other is a cardinal principle of consultation and communion. Hence, the call from the 1998 Lambeth Conference that there should be a listening process with church members who are homosexuals has begun today. Today's sharing has provoked in me and in many of us the desire to pray for one another remembering that we are all children of God in need of redemption and the freedom found in our relationship with the Risen Christ and in our fellowship with each other.
As part of the response to the Lambeth Conference resolution, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in consultation with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, has initiated a consultation between bishops representing all shades of opinion within the Communion. The first gathering of the group will take place in November in New York.
The Rt Revd Simon Chiwanga
Bishop of Mpwapwa