The impact of the consecration of Gene Robinson, and the blessings of same-sex unions in Canada and the United States has been enormous, writes Grant LeMarquand.
In Muslim-majority countries in our diocese, Bishop Mouneer was immediately faced with a situation in which Muslims condemned Anglicanism and Christianity, as a whole, on the basis of the actions of the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada. Relationships between the Anglican and the Muslim community became very strained. Bishop Mouneer spent countless hours mending those relationships.
Similarly, the Orthodox Churches (Coptic in Egypt and Ethiopia, Orthodox in Ethiopia) found the American actions incomprehensible, and assumed that Anglicans everywhere agreed, especially since, it seemed, that the Communion as a whole did nothing to discipline the US and Canada.
Relationships with Protestant Churches have likewise been difficult. For example, recently, in one town in Ethiopia where a new Anglican church was being planted, members of another denomination went door to door telling people not to join our church because “They will make you into homosexuals.”
Before my time, the former bishop had a large group of Amharic speakers in the church in Addis Ababa who were on the verge of being confirmed. When Gene Robinson was elected and then consecrated, they left en masse. In short, ecumenical and evangelistic efforts have been damaged terribly by these actions.
I must add that no one in our Church has starved to death because of the Episcopal Church’s actions. In fact, our partnerships around the world have strengthened as a result of our stand.
Dr Grant LeMarquand is the Area Bishop for the Horn of Africa.