Widening the growing global Anglican rift over homosexuality, Anglican bishops in Africa said Monday they would stop theological training of African clergy in Western institutions. Bishops also were studying creation of a separate "African" theology rejecting gay clergy and same-sex marriages, they said.
The African Anglican leaders, ending a six-day meeting, stopped short of calling for an outright split in the Anglican Church, which some had feared. Africa accounts for about half of the world's 76.5 million Anglicans--and Nigeria's 17.5 million Anglicans are the biggest congregation outside England, where the church has its origins. The African churches are the fastest-growing in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Nigerian archbishop Peter Akinola said the bishops will weigh proposals to build new theological institutions to train its priests on theology consistent with African culture. Top among the decisions reached was the resolution to end theological training for African clergy in Western institutions, perceived by the bishops to have been permeated by concepts such as gay unions, which they consider unwholesome and contrary to the Bible and African culture.
"We need well-resourced, highly rated, and contextually relevant theological institutions that can engage intelligently with our peculiar challenges from an African perspective," the bishops said in a closing statement.