Nigerian Anglicans Redefine Relationship with Communion

The Church of Nigeria redefined its relationship with the Anglican Communion on Thursday, as a result of the ongoing unresolved debate over homosexuality and same-sex blessings with its liberal counterparts in the Communion.

Nigerian Anglicans Redefine Relationship with CommAnglican Archbishops Peter Akinola, right, of Nigeria and Gregory Venables of Argentina attended a news conference where they discussed their opposition to the U.S. Episcopal Church position on gay issues, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2005. Archbishop Akinola also

"With a careful rewording of her constitution, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) redefined her relationship with all other Anglican Churches," declared a statement released from the offices of the Archbishop on Thursday.

The decision was made on the last day of the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria, running Sept. 10-14, which was led by Archbishop of Nigeria Peter Akinola in the Onitsha Diocese.

According to the released statement, all former references to "communion with the see of Canterbury" were deleted from the Constitution. As a result, the official name 'the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)' will be changed to "The Church of Nigeria."

"This Church", according to the statement, "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."

Acknowledgment to the 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer and the historic Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion was also emphasized.

In addition, a new section was added to the Constitution, as stated by the announcement, "to create convocations, chaplaincies of like-minded faithful outside Nigeria and to appoint persons within or outside Nigeria to administer them and the Primate shall give Episcopal Oversight."

According to the statement, this may give "legal teeth to the Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in Americas (CANA) formed to give a worshiping refuge to thousands in the USA who no longer feel welcomed to worship in the liberal churches especially with the recent theological innovations encouraging practices which the Nigerians recognize as sin."

Archbishop Akinola is one of the most outspoken conservative figures. While defending the traditional biblical view of sexuality and marriage, Akinola sternly condemns the consecration of homosexual clergy and the practice of same-sex blessings in many Western Anglican churches.

As the Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, Akinola has been leading many like-minded Anglicans from Global South to urge liberal Anglicans to repent. They have also signaled their intent of "walking away" from the Anglican Communion.

The conservative voice of Africans has been very influential as Africa has a large Anglican population. Out of the Anglican Church