Thinking Anglicans

Church of Nigeria reacts to Archbishop of Canterbury's Resignation

from the website of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

Church of Nigeria reacts to Archbishop of Canterbury’s Resignation

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized, with issues of revisionist interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and human sexuality as stumbling blocks to oneness, evangelism and mission all around the Anglican world.

It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”. The lowest ebb of this degeneration came in 2008, when there were, so to say, two “Lambeth” Conferences one in the UK, and an alternative one, GAFCON in Jerusalem. The trend continued recently when many Global South Primates decided not to attend the last Primates’ meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Since Dr. Rowan Williams did not resign in 2008, over the split Lambeth Conference, one would have expected him to stay on in office, and work assiduously to ‘mend the net’ or repair the breach, before bowing out of office. The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed”.

For us, the announcement does not present any opportunity for excitement. It is not good news here, until whoever comes as the next leader pulls back the Communion from the edge of total destruction. To this end, we commit our Church, the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to serious fasting and prayers that God will do “a new thing”, in the Communion.

Nevertheless, we join others to continue in prayer for Dr. Rowan Williams and his family for a more fruitful endeavour in their post – Canterbury life.

+Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

60
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
60 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
44 Comment authors
MarkBrunsonJCFLapinbizarre/Roger MortimerSkilboc.r.seitz Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

Good grief! Does the Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicolas Okoh, know how to say anything nice? Is he capable of looking inward and the taking of ANY responsibility for his OWN actions or the words that come out of his mouth? Blaming anyone/everyone that gets in the way of his all-around righteousness, and Selective Scriptural outcasting of ¨differently oriented¨ people at Church seems to be the operational standard for prentending that he, and mostly people only like him, represent God, the Anglican Communion and Good News in general, he knows all there is to being a holy and wise Primate and… Read more »

sjh
Guest
sjh

Sheer nastiness.

Geoff
Guest

‘It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”’

Was his grace trying for a sentence here? Or does he just think the allusion he’s trying to make is so à propos it doesn’t even bear making explicit (say, with a verb)? Either way it’s not landing for me.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

“Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized ….” Talk about chutzpah!!! On the bright side, crystal clear indication to those responsible for the selection of Dr Williams’ successor, that any attempt to appease these people is doomed to failure.

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

I’m struggling a bit to get outraged by the Church of Nigeria statement. It seems to me that those getting outraged have been trying to deny reality for some time. Yes, the communion really is as fractured as it appears to be from this and it needs new ideas and new ways of finding ideas to help mend what can be mended and let be those things which can’t. It really is far too simplistic to paint Archbishop Rowan as the great victim in all of this. Yes, this is a rude statement about him. However, he has never had… Read more »

Donald Philip Veitch
Guest
Donald Philip Veitch

For clarity, excellent. It’s succinctness almost makes it a “bill of indictment” or a “summons/warrant” issued by a Judge or Magistrate. Clear and direct, short and “indicting.” The realignment and refocus elsewhere, painful at times, will continue.

fr dougal
Guest
fr dougal

The Communion was nowhere near united and happy in 2002 – there had been severe grief at Lambeth 1998! This mitred muppet has a selective memory as well as a self-absolving denier. If the Communion is in a mess it is because everyone the USA and Nigeria included has contributed to the current disfunction. Frankly I’m no longer bothered if I’m in Communion with Nigeria – they can paddle their own canoe and god can sort it out after the parousia!

Pluralist
Guest

I think this particularly nasty epistle shows why Rowan Williams was so wrong to bend to them in his Advent Letter of 2007.

Prior Aelred
Guest

The Nigerian Church has always been consistent about all of this (which is why the Proposed Anglican Covenant has always been pointless).

Eric Beresford
Guest
Eric Beresford

The communion was deeply divided long before Rowan Williams became Archbishop of Canterbury. In fact, it came close to falling apart in 1988 when the bishops said the consecration of women would be church dividing. The conflict led to the formation of the Eames Commission which produced the Virginia report whose recommendations were rejected by all provinces that considered them. This did not prevent the same recommendations reappearing in the covenant proposals. Things have certainly got worse, and if you want to understand why simply reread this nasty, ungracious, uncharitable letter. The claim, clearly expressed here, that everybody has to… Read more »

Susan
Guest

Well, I’m so happy to read that the Church of Nigeria will be fasting and praying that God will do a “new thing” in the Communion. Wonder what +Okoh will think if that “new thing” is just the thing he does not want(as in a movement in the direction of inclusion for the LGBT community)? I’m sure he’ll rail against it just the way he has been doing all along. What a bore.

Allie
Guest
Allie

“‘The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed’.”

A happy family since 2002? Fr. Dougal says we’ve been arguing since 1998? I was under the impression we’ve been arguing since 1534. +Rowan attempts to appease the Nigerian church were the start of much of the current events. This statement is brash, rude, petty, Unanglican, and hits unChristian rather hard as well. I’m thankful the members of the Church of Nigeria with whom I’ve been acquainted have not mirrored this attitude.

rjb
Guest
rjb

Like Fr Dougal, I was especially surprised by the Archbishop’s claim that in 2002 the Anglican Communion was “a happy family.” That’s certainly not how I remember it, though it’s a popular claim in some quarters. Lord Carey of Clifton, for example, is fond of saying that “when I left office at the end of 2002 I felt the Anglican Communion was in good heart,” the barely-unspoken implication being that the rot set in under the tenure of his successor. This is arrant nonsense, of course, and if the rifts in the church are perhaps more visible a decade later… Read more »

Tunde
Guest
Tunde

By 2002, we were all able to write here as a family though with some differences. Now, as fr Dougal indicated above, it soon became evident we may need different canoes because there is a big difference between the LGBT god and God who created the universe. No one asked for appeasement. We only asked that we all should serve God on HIS terms. The Holy Bible tells us of a transforming New Birth to reach Eternal Life. Jesus still saves!

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Eric Beresford is correct in every respect.

“we’ve been arguing since 1534” Yes!
In fact the English Church has been going at it for centuries before that too!

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

The comments by The Archbishop of All Nigeria are mean and quite extreme. Shameful, really. Disenfranchisement of the glbt members of the Church seems to be his goal and this is why he is dangerous. It is not acceptable to devalue other human beings for any reason. There will always be rifts and disagreements in the institutional Church but it hardly spells the end of what we call the Anglican Communion.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby
Joel
Guest

It seems convenient for him that the alternate Lambeth Council was somehow the ABC’s fault. Not… like, any of the participating bishops or anything. Obviously.

David Ross Lyon
Guest
David Ross Lyon

Indeed, The Holy Spirit has been doing a “new thing” in the Communion…” come and see “..

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Two cannot walk together unless they have agreed…”

And here I thought we all had agreed that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. Anything beyond that–especially comparatively little things like opinions about sexuality–is on a par with families not agreeing about what to serve for dinner.

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

What price the Covenant’s much-vaunted ‘bonds of affection’?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Such an ungraciously dismissive attack on the current Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury! This is the hallmark of the Primates of GAFCON, who took upon themselves the task of trying to high-jack the Anglican Communion with their Conference of dissident Anglicans in Jerusalem, in 2008, from which issued the invidious ‘Jerusalem Declaration‘, intended to replace the ‘Instruments of Unity‘ of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Why not simply let these ignorant premodern bigots go? Unity is really nothing to welcome or to be commended in itself.

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

Lapinbizarre has it exactly right. Chutzpah indeed. Creating dissension and discord and then complaining about the lack of unity. Seeming to declare that only you have the True Vision of Jesus and the Gospels, then becoming confused and upset when everyone doesn’t agree with you. Giving tacit or explicit approval to nasty legislation, or depictions of GLBT people, then wondering why people call you names.
Fr. Dougal also has it right. Lambeth 1.10 was literally Godawful.

abbeymouse
Guest
abbeymouse

Those in the C of E still to vote on the Covenant, please note. These are the people whom this fiasco is supposed to keep on side.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

The language of fear and desperation. He may be surprised to find that the next Archbishop of Canterbury will not have the same patience with him.

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

What kind of troglodytes in remotissimo loco could have with bold face termed “the Anglican Communion in 2002 … a happy family”? They seem to be oblivious to all that transpired between Limuru in 1973, and 2002 — a 29-year nap in the cave perhaps? But who can take such a statement seriously?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family.”

Ah, yes. Because there was only singing&dancing re Lambeth ’98! O_o

{sarcasm/Off}

Abuja deigns to look towards Cantuar (which he’d sworn off), ONLY to sneer.

Sad to say, as soon as there’s an OFFICIAL break in the Anglican Communion (w/ Okoh outside it, and Nigeria—esp. Nigerian LGBTs—a mission field for the Gospel that their “Anglican” church has denied them), the better.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“there is a big difference between the LGBT god and God who created the universe”

Q.E.D.

Kyrie eleison!

[@ Tunde. Today in my TEC parish, we buried an elderly priest…who happened to have been gay (He’d been w/ his partner many decades). He had touched so many lives w/ the Love of Christ: a holier man you could never meet. I will ask *his* intercessory prayers for you, and the Church of Nigeria.]

Randal Oulton
Guest
Randal Oulton

The Anglican Church of Nigeria is currently still involved in a financial scandal on account of one of their Bishops selling “knighthoods” to guileless people in New York State.

Given that, I wouldn’t be half surprised if the Primate’s next note didn’t come by email and end with urging us to send money to a London lawyer so we can get our share of a certain amount of money.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

Hark! A voice from the past! I see Bishop Tunde is still mopping up after the Primate(s) of Nigeria.

Father David
Guest
Father David

As Matthew Arnold wrote in 1832 – “The Church of England as it now stands no human power can save.” For the Church of England read – “The Anglican Communion”.

Davis Mac-Iyalla
Guest
Davis Mac-Iyalla

@Randal, have I been missing anything from Nigeria just reading your comment “ The Anglican Church of Nigeria is currently still involved in a financial scandal on account of one of their Bishops selling “knighthoods” to guileless people in New York Stat” Bishop Tunde, there is only one God of the church and universe. LGBTI people don’t have a different God. The reaction from the Church of Nigeria is too uncharitable to Canterbury who in the past was playing softly, softly to their aggressive demands. One God, one people All one is Christ Jesus One God, one people All one… Read more »

Toadpipe
Guest
Toadpipe

An interesting statement, both for its polished and nuanced content and even more so for its timing. He is possibly writing as a reaction not to the announcement but to the generous tributes being paid to Rowan Williams from all quarters in the UK, including those who are theologically opposed to him. This has clearly got under someone’s skin, but I would have thought the timing was too neat for the impetus for this to have come anywhere other than from the UK or the USA. No corrective was needed or looked for at this stage within the church; he… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Dear Father David….it was actually Matthew’s Dad Thomas ( Headmaster of Rugby) and the context was the Dissenters backing the new Whig government which TA thought would bring down Establishment…….but you are right, the Anglican Comm as now is,is finished. They say the Abp’s job is impossible but I dont think being Primate of All England is an impossible job…its the Anglican Communion dimension that makes it impossible. I hope the Crown Appointment Commission will chose first and foremost a Primate for the National Church…those Provinces which wish to be in communion with the See of Canterbury can continue to… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Dear Perry, Thank you for that correction – I took the quotation and given author from the current York Course with its most appropriate title in the present circumstances “Handing on the Torch” (page 14). Always wise to check the sources! I agree with your comment entirely – The cartoon in the Times on the day after Rowan’s announcement also seems to agree as it shewed Rowan as the bridge arching between the Liberal and Traditional wings of the Church and above him was the single word – “SNAP”.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

“Revisionist interpretation of Holy Scriptures”?? Is he KIDDING? Does he really think revision of interpretation of the bible is something new–or more importantly–undesirable?

HE IS NOT AN ANGLICAN.

Eric Beresford
Guest
Eric Beresford

Actually, I doubt very much that the Anglican Communion is finished. The claim that the Anglican Communion was disintegrating always had to contend with the contrary evidence provided by the health and vibrancy of most of the bilateral diocesan partnership. What is threatened at this time is not the communion, but the instruments of unity that were intended to give expression to and further that communion but which have become instead soapboxes for polemic. It is perhaps good to remember that the ACC is the only instrument with any authority and it dates to 1967. The primates only began to… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Its sad that a Church with leadership like this has 18 million members. That the Anglican Communion was a happy family before Rowan is utter drivel.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Again I am agreeing with Eric Beresford! Indeed if mixed judiciously with the back-row-of-the-cinema reflection from Toadpipe, you almost have it all!! But those provinces who have taken the Covenant into their lives HAVE recognised and empowered the other instruments. It is, after all, one of the major changes wrought by the Covenant – the Covenant that does nothing – that supposedly leaves everything just as it was! I think that in no small way the rejection of the Covenant is a rejection of these “soapboxes for polemic” along with those like Fulcrum and their foreign allies who have flogged… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

I think Eric Beresford is quite correct, except that I do believe GAFCON will decide to “walk apart.” The notion that the CofE (& the society in which it is set) was more akin to the African (etc.) churches than to the North Americans never had any credibility. I don’t think that there is anything that anyone could have done at this time to prevent this situation, any more than successive Roman emperors could really reconcile the Latins & Greeks & non-Chalcedonians.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Perhaps an appropriate first-move for the next ABC would be for him to invite All provincial Archbishops to A Eucharistic Congress at Lambeth.
The constituency of the Anglican Communion could well then be decided on who accepted the invitation and took part in the Eucharistic con-Celebration.

Colin Coward
Guest

Prior Aelred writes that he believes GAFCON will decide to “walk apart.” I’m in Kenya at the moment, working with Kenyan Anglicans, lay and ordained, LGBTI and straight, meeting and listening and helping them form an active Changing Attitude presence. I’ve also met bishops and retired Archbishop David Gitari. One bishop alone was hostile and prejudiced, and in truth, very abusive. The others, including David Gitari, have been open and welcoming and have already moved a long way from the closed mind rhetoric of GAFCON as exemplified by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. One bishop told me they are committed to GAFCON,… Read more »

Michelle C. Jackson
Guest
Michelle C. Jackson

It seems a bit of an understatement to say he doesn’t seem to understand the process very well

Nigel LLoyd
Guest

Just how unhappy a family the Anglican Communion was in 2002 is vividly described by Richard Holloway in his book ‘Leaving Alexandria’ and his account of Lambeth 1998. He describes the Anglican Communion falling apart at that time, a falling apart that ‘the saintly scholar’ who followed Carey was never going to be able to put back together. His account of Lambeth 1998 tallies with the description of that conference given us by our then diocesan bishop, who said that the experience had been awful.

david rowett
Guest

Picking up Nigel Lloyd’s point, there was an illuminating article written by Andrew Brown about Lambeth ’98 – I think it was part-published in the Church Times. It’s fair to say that it doesn’t reflect a happy family having a jolly together. And my former diocesan was similarly underwhelmed by some of the nonsense he had to endure.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Okoh might also do well to read Stephen Bates’ ‘A Church at War’ which takes the story way back and lays the blame squarely at the door of th e Evangelical wing of the Church for using the issue as their touchstone of orthodoxy. By the time of Lambeth 1998 things were really nasty and by 2002 things were even worse. Only someone ignorant of the facts or with rose tinted glasses could believe otherwise

Prior Aelred
Guest

@ Colin Coward — I am most happy to hear what you say about GAFCON. My supposition was based on the reality that in terms of the “Instruments of Communion,” the leadership already has. Perhaps Mother Kaeton’s reports on the state of Anglicanism in SE Asia have misled me.

Concerned Anglican
Guest
Concerned Anglican

All of this reinforces the point that what the Anglican Communion needs now is a period without initiatives, appeals or cajoling. It will be best if the new Archbishop of Canterbury does nothing very much at all. This is an argument for an older candidate and a relatively short-term appointment during which the new incumbent announces (no doubt to everyone’s relief) that the next Lambeth Conference will be deferred for two or more years in order to save money and allow for reflection. His successor will then still have plenty of time to prepare. In the meantime everyone, even the… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

One assumes – mend the net – is in quotes because it refers back to the collection of essays presented by Drexel Gomez.

There was clearly enough of a war going on then for this booklet to be produced.

Published in 2001.