Nigeria's Bishop Refuses to Attend Council Alongside ECUSA

Voicing a clear objection to the ordination of homosexual bishops in the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Nigeria refused an invitation to join the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates, which began on March 1, 2004, because of the attendance of a representative from the Episcopal Church.

Archbishop Peter Akinola’s statement, which reached the Anglican Communion Office in London last week, reinforced the divisive threats that arose within the 77-million member denomination following last November’s consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church USA – the U.S. branch of the worldwide Communion.

In his statement, Archbishop Akinola, leader of 20 million Nigerian members, said that if he should attend a meeting with representatives of the ECUSA, he would “undermine the Nigerian Church’s position” on the issue of ordaining homosexual bishops.

"Archbishop Akinola is baffled that the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) continues to act as if what ECUSA did does not really matter," said the Venerable Oluranti Odubogun, the General Secretary of the Church of Nigeria, who also re-affirmed earlier statements from the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) that condemned the US Church for Bishop Robinson's consecration. "By carrying out the consecration of Bishop Robinson ECUSA has 'removed itself from the fellowship of the Communion.'"

Currently, 13 of 38 of the diocese in the Communion joined hands against the events that propagated in the ECUSA. They have called upon the leader of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, to take action or speak out against the consecration; Williams has yet to comment.