Sexual Politics in Episcopal Church Affect Churches in Africa |

TBC Staff

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How sexual politics in the Episcopal Church affects churches in Africa [Excerpts]

A Sudanese priest recently had an eye-opening introduction to the U.S. Episcopal Church. John, a clergyman from the Episcopal Church of Sudan, sent an inquiry to the "justice missioner" on the website of the Diocese of Newark. The justice missioner responded to John’s email and informed him that her focus was advocacy for people with disabilities, people of color, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community.

Although fluent in English, John found this language incomprehensible. He knew Americans talked openly about homosexuality, but he was bewildered by the terms "transgender" and "intersex." John asked the justice missioner if she prayed for healing of individuals with these disorders. She informed him that they didn’t need healing, only "full inclusion" in the church. John told her he was sorry that the diocese was leaving people in sexual brokenness. He urged her to bring them to transformation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. With that, he never heard from the justice missioner again.

John is a former "Lost Boy," one of some 33,000 southern Sudanese children who fled attacks by government-sponsored militias during Sudan’s more than two decades of civil war. He survived a three-year trek from Sudan to Ethiopia to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. Now he is the pastor of over 1,000 refugees at Kakuma.

John assumed that a church justice office would focus on human-rights issues like genocide in Sudan, religious persecution, poverty, hunger, and human trafficking. What he did not know was that in the U.S. Episcopal Church, affirming one’s sexual orientation is as much a justice and human-rights issue as genocide.