Another area I want to mention, and for which I ask your prayers, is the development of Pastoral Guidelines in relation to the same-gender civil unions for which South African legislation now provides. Following requests to the Bishops for advice in relation to the pastoral care of people in such unions, and their families, the Synod of Bishops has, over several meetings, produced a document reflecting our common mind on this very sensitive issue. Proposals have now been sent to Dioceses for consultation within archdeaconries and parishes. We are requesting feedback on whether this offers the sort of guidance that those in pastoral ministry seek, in time for our February 2012 Synod of Bishops. PSC will also consider them. Let me underline that this document is not directly about the continuing debate around human sexuality, though it affirms that we uphold the moratoria of the Anglican Communion on the ordination of persons living in a same gender unions to the episcopate; the blessing of same-sex unions; and cross-border incursions by bishops. Rather, this focuses on the human and pastoral realities that we inevitably face in parishes following South Africa’s new legislation.
I am glad that we shall be welcoming two very special guests at Kopanong. The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will join part of the Synod of Bishops meeting that precedes PSC; and the Most Revd Ian Ernst, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, and current Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, will be with us both at SoB and PSC. We hope that through sharing in our meetings, and some other brief visits in Cape Town and Gauteng, they will learn more about ACSA, and we can strengthen our relationships within the Anglican Communion and as brothers and sisters in Christ.
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