Anglican Church moves to give full membership to LGBTI congregants

A document, which outlines guidelines for such members will be sent to the Provincial Synod for approval.

A rainbow flag, representing equality for members of the LGBTI community. Picture: Stock.xchng

JOHANNESBURG - Anglican bishops in Southern Africa have resolved to accept same sex couples into the church, as full members.

In an unprecedented move, Anglican bishops have called on the church's ruling body to adopt a document outlining guidelines for same-sex couples.

Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba believes the move will go a long way to alleviate stigma in the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community.

In a pastoral letter issued to Anglicans today, Archbishop Makgoba says the document outlining guidelines for congregants in same sex unions will be sent to the Provincial Synod for approval when the body meets later this year.

He adds the practical implications of the guidelines allow children of same-sex couples to be baptised, and prevents that they or their parents be stigmatised.

Acknowledging that southern African bishops ha ve been divided over whether to marry same-sex couples, or to allow clergy to enter such civil unions; Makgoba explains most of the dioceses in the region are "predominantly rural where debates of human sexuality do not take priority."

Likening the weight of the move to "the church's deep differences over the imposition of sanctions against apartheid or the ordination of women" into the church, Makgoba says he hopes the call will serve as an olive branch to the LGBTI community.