As a diocese, we have long-standing, formal links with the Diocese of Cape Coast in the Anglican Church in Ghana. This is a link built on friendship and mutual respect and we have much valued the relationships we have forged with successive bishops of the diocese. We were, however, dismayed to hear that Ghana’s Anglican bishops have expressed support for the ‘Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill’.
In 2016 a communique was signed by all Anglican Primates, in which they pledged to reject criminal sanctions against members of the LGBTQ+ community, and to challenge homophobia. The Bishop of Edinburgh, The Rt Revd Dr John Armes, is seeking an urgent conversation with the Bishop of Cape Coast, The Rt Revd Victor Atta-Baffoe, so we may understand why he and his colleagues have taken action which appears to contradict this communique.
The bill currently being considered by the Ghanaian Parliament proposes imprisonment of members of the LGBTQ+ community for being who they are, and to criminalise those who wish to support them. We believe this would be a fundamental violation of human rights, which is likely to lead to state-sponsored violence that will threaten the lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community and their friends. As Christians, we believe this stigmatises people and fails to affirm the value of each person as a unique individual, created in God’s image and loved by God.
We remain committed to our friendship with our Anglican brothers and sisters in Cape Coast, as we are committed too to work for the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ Christians in every aspect of church life. Because of this dual commitment and of our shared faith in Jesus Christ we hope we may dare to challenge each other in love. We are fellow disciples, all of us seeking to live faithfully in our own context, all of us fallible. This statement is made in full awareness of this, acknowledging our mutual commitment to speak against injustice wherever it is found.