Zimbabwe Anglican church to sever ties with gays: official

Harare, Zimbabwe - The Anglican church in Zimbabwe Saturday said it will not "stand with homosexuals" at a synod of four southern African Anglican churches in Malawi which is set to revive the issue of gay clerics.

Refering to a diocesan act, a cleric at Harare diocese told AFP that three of the four dioceses in Zimbabwe had "unanimously agreed" to sever ties with dioceses in the Central African province which were in favour of homosexuals.

The Anglican province of Central Africa comprises Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The cleric, speaking on condition of anonymity, said according to the diocesan act, which came into effect on August 4, the Zimbabwe church will "dissociate and sever relationship with any individual, group of people, organisation, institution, diocese, province or people who indulge in or sympathise or compromises with homosexuality".

He said Zimbabwe, along with Zambia and some dioceses of Malawi, will lead the anti-gay lobby at the synod which opens Saturday in Malawi's southern resort district of Mangochi.

There are fears that the Central Africa province would break into three national provinces of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

Botswana does not qualify to be a province because it has only one dioecese instead of the required four.

The chasm in the African Anglican church has partly been sparked by the church's refusal to consecrate a liberal British vicar as bishop-elect of the diocese of Lake Malawi following allegations that he was gay.

Malawian Archbishop Bernard Malango, head of the Anglican Church in Central Africa stopped to confirm Nicholas Henderson amid allegations that the Briton supports gay rights or could be gay himself.

Malango was among the African Anglican primates who vehemently opposed the appointment of an American gay cleric, Gene Robinson, as Bishop of New Hampshire and the Canadian communion's decision to bless same-sex marriages.

Henderson is said to be an active member of a group calling itself Modern Churchpeople Union (MCU) which advocates interests of gay people among other revolutionary ideas.