Hundreds of orthodox Anglicans were urged on Friday to uphold Scripture as the church in the West continues to abandon Christ's path.
"The Western world has become afraid or is unwilling to acknowledge that there is right and wrong – that there is good and evil," Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria, told members of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. "The West, Nations and Church, are disinheriting their Christian inheritance."
Okoh was bringing greetings to CANA members who gathered in Herndon, Va., this week for their annual council meeting. CANA was established by the Church of Nigeria three years ago for those who were discontent with the liberal direction of The Episcopal Church – the U.S. body of Anglicanism – but who still wanted to remain tied with the global Anglican Communion.
Currently, CANA has over 90 congregations and over 230 clergy in 34 states plus the District of Columbia and Canada. Also, as a founding partner of the Anglican Church in North America – which is seen as a rival body to The Episcopal Church – CANA helped establish two dioceses in the Great Lakes Region and around Atlanta.
Bishop Martyn Minns, who leads CANA, reminded members that they are in the midst of a crisis and "a tide of pollution" threatens the church.
"A church that was renowned for its aesthetics in music and liturgy, a beautiful church with a love for history and a global vision is now seen as the church that has lost its way and forgotten its message," Minns said in his address Friday. "A church that was full of life and missionary zeal is now shrinking rapidly and struggling to survive."
He didn't place all the blame for the crisis on The Episcopal Church, but said the U.S. body's actions have made it a major contributor.
While citing the 2003 consecration of the first openly gay bishop in New Hampshire and this year's ordination of a partnered lesbian in Los Angeles, Minns noted that "beneath these high profile events lie a host of decisions which simply confirm that TEC does not 'share the faith and order of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion.'"
Amid the crisis, he urged CANA members to be the "Church in the World" by holding fast to sound teaching, offering acceptable worship to God and loving their brethren and others.
"If we are to be God's Church in the world then we must be a people who believe that God has spoken and that what God has said is true and is useful for exposing what is false and rescuing us from lies and deceit," he said. "It is only by trusting in the Word of God that we truly become the People of God."