In a statement released on the Church's website, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba expressed his disappointment over the result of a synod vote about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) marriage unions in the Anglican Church in Southern Africa.
The province of Southern Africa covers Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. Only South Africa allows civil unions between same-sex couples.
The Synod was holding a debate to discuss two issues. The first was whether licenses should be granted to LGBT clergy in same-sex civil unions to minister in parishes. The second was whether bishops should be allowed to bless same-sex civil unions which have been legal in South Africa since 2006.
Both motions failed to receive a majority in the vote. The bishops voted 16 to six against the motion, the laity 41 to 25 against and the clergy 42 to 34 against.
Makgoba expressed his disappointment with the outcome, saying: "I was deeply pained by the outcome of the debate. I was glad I wear glasses or the Synod would have seen the tears."
"We live in a democracy, our Church has strongly advocated democracy, and people on all sides of the debate have to accept the result," he said.
Makgoba concluded with this message for the LGBT Anglican community: "You are loved by God and all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ. We urge you to stick with us to play your full part in the deliberations to come."
By Megan Griffiths