New boycott for Church
THE CHURCH of Nigeria will not participate in next month’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka, its primate the Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, announced last week.
The Church of Nigeria will join with Kenya and Uganda in boycotting next month’s meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka.
The leader of the Anglican Communion’s largest province said his Church would not participate in meetings where representatives of the Episcopal Church of the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada were present.
The 15 March announcement follows earlier statements from the Kenyan and Ugandan churches, leaving Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s attempt at reconciling the Communion’s warring factions in tatters.
The Nigerian statement on the ACC Lusaka meeting reaffirms the decision taken in 2005 to change its terms of reference with the Communion — removing the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury as the focus of unity and replacing it with a common faith and order based upon the Book of Common Prayer.
Chapter 1, Section 3 of its con- stitution states it “shall be in full communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and Provinces that hold and maintain the Historic Faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church as the Lord has commanded in His holy word and as the same are received as taught in the Book of Common Prayer and the ordinal of 1662 and in the ThirtyNine Articles of Religion.”
Through its innovations in doctrine and discipline the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada had placed themselves outside the mainstream of Anglican life, he said.
Citing the example of the UK’s relations with the European Union, Archbishop Okoh revived Archbishop Rowan Williams’ proposal of a communion within a communion.
He wrote: “Now the British Prime Minister is asking for a “Special Status” in the European Union for the United Kingdom. The Anglican Communion should begin to think in that direction for those Provinces that may never, for obvious rea- sons, embrace the sexual culture being promoted by some Provinces of the Church over and against the Bible as we received it. “We need a ‘Special Status’.” Archbishop Okoh (pictured) obliquely criticised Archbishop Welby’s performance at the post-Canterbury press conference and addresses to General Synod and the New Wine Conference, especially his apology for “homophobia”, which sources in the Church of Nigeria saw as moral cowardice, local expediency and political correctness on Archbishop Welby’s part.
Nigerian leaders have also spoken with disdain of Archbishop Welby’s repeated use of the imagery of the mutual footwashing by the primates at the January meeting in Canterbury as a sign of the unity of the church — pointing out that contrary to his suggestions that all the primates took part, only 30 of the 38 were present for that portion of the meeting.
Other provinces of the Communion are understood to be weighing their options towards the Lusaka meeting. The GAFCON primates are also scheduled to meet next month in Santiago, Chile and sources tell The Church of England Newspaper they will adopt a unified response to what they see as the disobedience of the American church.