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.

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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.

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