Thursday, 7 December 2006

more from Northern Virginia and Nigeria

Updated again Friday morning

The Associated Press has a lengthy article Historic Episcopal parishes in Va. moving toward break.

The local paper in Falls Church, the Falls Church News-Press has an article, Voting Begins Sunday on Pulling Out Of Denomination at F.C. Episcopal.

In response to the above, Matt Thompson at Political Spaghetti has written Archbishop Akinola DEFINITELY supports legislation in Nigeria that calls for prison sentences for homosexual activity.

Martyn Minns has written this on the website of Truro Parish, in response to an earlier news report in the Washington Post:

A Statement of Clarification

In a recent Washington Post article, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola was characterized as “an advocate of jailing gays.” That is not true.

Archbishop Akinola believes that all people—whatever their manner of life or sexual orientation—are made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with respect. “We are all broken and need the transforming love of God,” Archbishop Akinola said to me during a recent conversation.

Archbishop Akinola also said, “Jesus Christ is our example for this. He refused to condemn the woman caught in adultery instead he said. ‘Go now and sin no more.’ That is an essential part of the message of the Gospel and the teaching of our congregations.”

Your brother in Christ,

Update this statement now also appears on the CANA website: A Statement of Clarification

Jim Naughton at daily episcopalian has responded strongly to Bishop Minns with a piece headlined Martyn Minns, clarifier.

Meanwhile, the CANA website has after a long interval had an update and now provides a Frequently Asked Questions page with answers to (currently) 25 questions.

Addition The Truro Parish website has a page headed The Vote.
This is your electronic resource center for Truro’s congregational vote December 10–17. Click on the links below for resources to help you be an informed voter.

Further addition Friday This PDF file contains information about The Anglican District of Virginia of CANA full text reproduced below the fold.


Matt Thompson has more to say at Oh, Martyn.

Fr Jake has commented Does Abp. Akinola Want to Jail All Gays?

Mark Harris has also commented Bishop Martyn Minns defends Archbishop Akinola at an opportune time.

The Anglican District of Virginia of CANA

One of the great blessings that has come out of the division caused by The Episcopal Church has been the coming together of biblically faithful congregations who are collectively determined to stand firm in the orthodox faith. In Virginia, we have worked with an informal but growing association of congregations who have gone through the 40 Days of Discernment, and many of whom are taking congregational votes at the same time as we are.

An outgrowth of the discernment process has been the formation of the “Anglican District of Virginia” (ADV) as an association of congregations under the ecclesiastical authority of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). Virginia congregations voting to disassociate from The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia in order to remain in the Anglican Communion may do so by joining ADV (which is the formal means by which they join a different branch of the Anglican Communion).

The Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) will serve two main functions:

First, ADV will function as a region under the auspices of CANA. What CANA offers us, among many other things, is an authentic connection to the Anglican Communion. Truro’s Communion connection will be through the ADV to CANA. Whereas CANA is a national organization, ADV is a Virginia one with a local focus. Early association with the ADV allows Truro and other congregations to be instrumental in the leadership of the ADV and CANA. Similar districts may be formed in other states.

Second, ADV will function as an umbrella organization for both CANA congregations and other Anglican congregations in Virginia. Provision will be made for various congregations (already under the oversight of another non-United States Province of the Anglican Communion) to join ADV—for example, there may be Virginian congregations under the oversight of Uganda or Bolivia, who have a keen interest in continuing to partner with us in a more formal way. These congregations would be able to retain their unique lines of authority while still sharing the common goals of the ADV.

We have been waiting a long time to come to a place where we can band together with other congregations in a positive way. As ADV and CANA spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and fulfill the Great Commission, they will be building blocks for the Anglican Communion’s emerging ecclesiastical structure of biblically faithful Anglicans in our land.

It is tempting to be overwhelmed by the decision we are making. But recognizing that God has frequently achieved his goals with flawed people, we can trust in his grace and mercy as we embark on this project together. To God be the glory!

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 3:37pm GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: ECUSA

On the CANA website's FAQ page, I found the following very interesting claim, which seems to refer to the Kigali Communique. Events after Kigali proved this claim false. That CANA made it on their website is deceptive in the extreme. Someone should call them out on this. It is utterly reprehensible.


Q6. What is CANA’s relation to the Anglican Communion?

CANA is a duly constituted convocation within the Church of Nigeria, which, in terms of active membership, is the largest Province of the Anglican Communion. [...]

At their meeting in September 2006, the Global South Primates of the Anglican Communion, who represent more than 70% of the active membership of the Communion, stated their conviction that “the time has now come to take initial steps towards the formation of what will be recognized as a separate ecclesiastical structure of the Anglican Communion in the USA.” They are in close consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Posted by: Charlotte Pressler on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 5:13pm GMT

What world is Minns a part of?
His new bossman backs legislation that would put me in jail and also violates the spirit of the calls for dialog in both Windsor and the adendem to scripture that is Lambeth 1.10.

Posted by: John Robison on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 5:37pm GMT

Well, I laughed until I cried!

I was thinking of all the venom and excoriation dumped on Frank Griswold for all the “double talk” – then I laughed and cried some more!

Someone – somewhere must nail this man's lies.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 5:43pm GMT

Minns appears to be relying on the nuance that "sexual orientation" and "behavior" are two very different things. Clearly there is no Nigerian legislation on the table that criminalizes the former. But the range of "behavior" that the Nigerian legislation does criminalize goes far beyond "sexual activity" to advocacy, assembly, and so on.
I'm not sure which is more concerning here -- the Nigerian Archbishop's continued support for this legislation, or his American Agent's deliberate prevarication and misrepresentation, under the guise of "clarifying." We have a saying in the Southern US for folks who appear to be completely innocent: "Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth." In this case, I would say, "Butter wouldn't clarify!"

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 5:58pm GMT

Reading Martyn's 'clarification' reminds me that no matter what else happens at the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia early next year, I will NOT have to listen to Bishop Minns, as I guess not even +Peter Lee's hospitality will extend to inviting him as guest, much less giving him voice. TBTG! Possibly the ultracons at Truro and The Falls Church will also be gone.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 6:08pm GMT

In the section from Truro titled 'The Vote,' the claim is made that these actions are in accord with a document called Protocol for Departing Congregations. The claim is further made that the Diocese of Virginia has agreed to this document. I believe that this is not the case. The document has been received, not approved, by the Standing Committee and Executive Board. There is quite a big difference between receiving a document - yes, we have it and will read it - and approving a document as a guide to action. I would hope someone more in the know than I can confirm or clarify what I have written. Perhaps Truro shares Humpty-Dumpty's view towards language.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 7:00pm GMT

Step right up folks and get your FREE red hot bowl of Mumbo-jumbo-gumbo, magico, presto-chango LGBT "friendly" Akinola STEWED spew with a sweet and sour sauce of spin...It's cooked up for us again today by Nigerian Bishop Martyn Minns who often reopens, reprocesses, reheats, recycles and represses tiny, yet seemingly tasty, bites of almost-truth that he hopes we will swallow whole!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 7:27pm GMT

AB Akinola reportedly said: ‘Go now and sin no more.’ That is an essential part of the message of the Gospel and the teaching of our congregations.”

The story of the woman taken in adultery nowadays given (when translated) as John 7:51 - 8:11, originally was Luke 21:39ff, the disloyalty (moixeía is disloyalty towards the Husbander/House/Ethnic people/group/House congregation, n o t sex – certainly not post 16th century “adultery”) of the couple taken in the act, comparing favourably with Judas’s disloyalty towards Jesus in (present) chapter 22:1.

Incidentally, this is the only place out of 29 in the NT were the circumstances to moixeía are “sexual” – the offence, however, was disloyalty towards the Head of the House (whether married to the woman in question or not; nothing in the text states the woman was married) on the grounds that the couple has not asked for permission (cf Genesis 20, with parallels, where “permission” is at hand).

Jesus’s morals being much too sloppy for the average Hellenist, this piece was excised already by the Alexandrian Sondertradition, but later restored by the Byzantine redactors to 3 different (!) places in the gospel of John…

In our own day some Calvinist somehow over interpret Jesus’s refusal to allow a stoning, making it “an essential part of …… the teaching of our congregations.”

Others still find it offensive; excluding the passage altogether from their translations, as did the Alexandrians.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 8:09pm GMT

Say what? I kept thinking as I read these postings.

People don't support people being sent to jail, but they do support legislation. What does this mean? They support ineffective legislation or an ineffective legal system? After all, if they don't support people going to jail, but they do support the legislation, that must mean that they do not want the legislation to be fulfilled...

Some of the comments by some of the players are targetted at an uninformed audience who are unaware of the history of their antics. This strategy relies on suppression of communication, so the evidence of their conduct is inadmissable. (Two pronged strategy, deny the evidence exists aka missing bible sections Acts 8:38 - my favourite; or accuse those who would bring forth the evidence of being from the "evil one". Since they have personally done that to me, it is reasonable to assume they have undertaken the same strategies with others).

Colluders trying to swindle the advocate, again.

Fortunately, the magistrate does listen to evidence on why complainants should be heeded. The documentation of the attempts to eliminate the complainant, destroy their credibility (rapists always blame the victim) or destroy the evidence is also taken into consideration by the magistrate.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 8:11pm GMT

This is instructive, from CANA's questions and answers on its website (above link).

' Q13. What is CANA’s position on women’s ordination?

'CANA recognizes that there are differing theological positions in the Anglican Communion about *women in ordained ministry. CANA acknowledges the integrity of those who understand the Holy Scriptures to permit the ordination of *women to the priesthood and those who believe the Scriptures prohibit *women’s ordination. Archbishop Peter Akinola has stated that there needs to be freedom for CANA to include both perspectives because of its North American character. CANA believes that for the health and well being of the church the particular gifts of *women must be freely expressed. '

This would be an equally valid factual observation, in relation to relationships between people of like gender. -- Just substitute 'same gender couples',or ' lesbian / gay people' above where I have added *.

I know this will not be lost on you.

Posted by: laurence on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 9:32pm GMT

On the issue of women's ordination, CANA expresses that it understands both those who find women's ordination supported in Holy Scriptures and those who do not in the same Holy Scriptures. However, the same principle does not hold to respecting GBLT Christians. Why pretend to be loving when the core that holds CANA and Nigeria, as well as other groups, together is a common cause to elliminate non-heterosexual orientations from the face of God's green Earth? Admitting that one is bigotted and prejudiced is the beginning of the cure. Perhaps those who do not agree should stop enabling the social disease of intolerance and identify the elephant in the middle of the room. Intolerance is hateful, violently so, and most un-Biblical and un-Christian.

Posted by: Shawn+ on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 11:00pm GMT

However Archbishop Peter Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns and Canon Akintunde Popoola phrase their relationship with and understanding of the proposed legislation in Nigeria, the effect of the proposal - not even its enactment - and their support of it, is to encourage people in the belief that the Anglican Church encourages the abuse of gay people and colludes in threats to attack and kill. Davis MacIyalla, a 34 year old gay Nigerian who happens to feel he has been called by God to a prophetic ministry to LGBT Anglicans in Nigeria, is now receiving emails containing threats to his life.

He, and the members of Changing Attitude Nigeria, are convinced that these threats are real. They are convinced the threat comes directly from the church, because the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) asked for the legislation to be brought forward and is pushing hard for progress on the bill. Anglican Church meetings in Nigeria at which homosexuality is discussed encourage feelings of extreme intolerance and prejudice against gay people - we receive reports from CAN members confirming this.

Why are lesbian and gay Anglican Nigerians now so terrified of their very lives? Canon Popoola will probably post here once again denying that the Church has anything against Davis and asserting the Church's willingness to meet and listen to Davis. Davis knows it is and always has been a lie. His family in Port Harcourt is under pressure to persuade Davis to recant and deny that he is gay.

Until the Church of Nigeria changes its attitude, and Martyn Minns changes his attitude, the life of Davis and other gay and lesbian Nigerians remain at risk. I now wake every day, anxious about Davis and the safety of CAN members in Nigeria, fearful that one day, I will receive news that Davis has been assassinated.

If CANA and Nigeria and the Global South were really 'Windsor Compliant' as they so pompously and arrogantly claim to be, they would, in conformity with Lambeth 1.10, be vigorously opposed to the bill and to all forms of prejudice and discrimination against LGBT people. The dishonesty of these groups is tragic and breathtaking. I keep wondering how it is possible to make progress in an adult Anglican way when were are dealing with people who willfully distort reality and by their words and actions, encourage murder.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 11:29pm GMT

But I am afraid that those warm words are little but hot air, Colin - why, otherwise, is the English church opposing equality for gay and lesbian people with regard to the receipt of goods and services.

The solution is the break up of the Anglican Communion, and a new global denomination based on ECUSA

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 12:13am GMT

I have a question: It seems to me that Bp. Minns' clarifying statement re AB Akinola and the pending legislation in Nigeria with regard to LGBT persons came out of the blue. I asked myself, "Why is this being done? What went before that made this necessary now?" There have been months and months of conversations regarding AB Akinola and this legislation, with not a peep of clarifying, but we hear something. What was the precipitant for this statement? Why has it been made now, at this time?
Lois Keen

Posted by: Lois Keen on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 12:31am GMT

Well said, Colin.
Well done.

I wish we in the UK could do something to support Cavid , and lgbt people in Nigeria, and Colin in carrying this distressing burden.

(I could imagine someone like John Gladwin (Bp. Chelmsford) would consider sending a letter or press release --or perhaps asking others (bishops, etc ?) to join him in this.
And could / would the British governement, & Stonewall &/ or OUtrage! perhaps join in ?
Or Amnesty. Or the ACC.)

Posted by: laurence on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 9:30am GMT

I asked myself the same question, Lois. Perhaps Bishop Minns has found that this issue troubles those he is trying to recruit. Perhaps it is being suggested that Akinola is the wrong home for those looking for a non-TEC primate. Perhaps Archbishop Venables is looking more congenial, with less baggage and better judgment. Perhaps Bishop Minns finds himself in an uncomfortable place because, as a Bishop of the Church of Nigeria, he, at least, has nowhere else to go.

You can see an interview with him at

Posted by: badman on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 9:51am GMT

Here's my guess, Lois. Truro and Falls Church are both in Northern Virginia, a relatively gay-friendly area. Heck, I'm sure a lot of the parishioners at the two churches have LGBT friends. The vote at both parishes to secede from TEC is starting this Sunday, I think, and +Minns simply wanted to provide a fig leaf for voters to say, "No, we're not homophobic, we're voting to secede for other reasons."

Posted by: Pisco Sours on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 10:28am GMT

Prayers forDavis MacIyalla.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 12:41pm GMT

As these churches consider their future they should certainly examine the suspicious connection between some of these men and natural disasters.

"Tornado in London takes city by storm
George Carey denies involvement. Pope Benedict mum as well
Akinola: 'No comment' "

Posted by: The Admiral of Morality on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 1:30pm GMT

The impetus for the recent statement was a December 4 Washington Post article containing the following sentence: "If the votes at The Falls Church and Truro succeed, as their leaders predict, the 3,000 active members of the two churches would join a new, Fairfax-based organization that answers to Nigerian Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, leader of the 17 million-member Nigerian church and an advocate of jailing gays."

Posted by: ruidh on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 1:39pm GMT

There is fairly strong support among the extremist right of the Episcopal Church for the proposed Nigerian laws themselves, as a number of their recent communications have made clear.

See the thread at:

Fr. Matt Kennedy of Stand Firm writes: "There is nothing objectionable about the law itself."

He also writes: "Supporting such a law does not at all entail 'hating homosexuals'.... In principle the idea of sanctioning homosexual behavior, if it is as dangerous as we say, is not at all out of bounds."

A commenter on this thread replied:

"I heartily agree with you there Matt+. So often one hears “you can’t legislate morality"- what rubbish. We have laws against gambling, prostitution, bestiality, and any number of undesirable moral behaviors; so why not have laws against sodomy?"

Posted by: Charlotte Pressler on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 3:17pm GMT

I'm a fairly ordinary Anglican parishioner, and I had *no idea* before this of the level of hypocrisy, malice, lying and downright hatred there is in the Church. I am bloody ashamed to be associated with it, and if there was a non-homophobic church to go to, I would go there and leave the CofE to stew in its own hatred.

Except that that wouldn't help Davis and all the GBLT people in Nigeria and the rest of the world who have to live in fear.

I thought that Christ came to free the oppressed? So what can we do to stop this from happening? We should do something *now* to stop it. I agree with the poster further up the thread - aren't there human rights organizations we can contact? Amnesty International or something. Akinola is not above using the civil authorities to do what he wants - why shouldn't we?

Posted by: Marnie Goodbody on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 4:17pm GMT

There is an underlying issue here I would like to address, though it is difficult to do so in a respectful way. I will try --

Truro Church and Falls Church both have attracted a number of parishioners who are powerful figures in the Washington Republican Establishment. I have seen the following names mentioned on Stand Firm! and TitusOneNine (corrections welcomed): U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Supreme Court Justic Clarence Thomas, and journalist Fred Barnes.

One of the main power sources for this Republican Establishment is Vice President Cheney, whose daughter Mary is Lesbian. She and her lfe partner, Heather Poe, are now expecting. (It is Mary who is pregnant.)

It would be politically inconvenient for the persons mentioned above, and others, to be seen to favor jailing the Vice President's daughter for openly Lesbian conduct, or the VIce President himself for support of same.

Hence the fudge being manufactured in Truro's vicinity, though Archbishop Akinola's views were clear enough to Ephraim Radner+, and the Nigerian laws clear enough to the US State Department.

Of course, the US State Department is not (to my knowledge) currently seeking Alternative Presidential Oversight from Nigeria.

Posted by: Charlotte Pressler on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 4:20pm GMT

Of course, the problem with the Nigerian legislation is that it isn't an "anti-sodomy" law -- that's already on the books. What the new legislation prohibits are universally recognized human rights including freedom of speech and assembly. Perhaps Fr Matt and his interlocutor haven't actually read the Bill in full. Even being a witness at a same-sex "marriage" in Nigeria can earn you a five-year jail sentence under the proposed legislation: "8(2) Any person performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of same sex marriage is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 5 years imprisonment." And this legislation is unambiguously supported by Akinola. Truru, Falls Church, be aware of what you are getting into!

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 8 December 2006 at 4:28pm GMT

I suppose no one is reading this ancient December 8 thread here in the latter days of December 22, but just in case--

Archbishop Akinola's position on the Nigerian legislation has been made very clear by his letter of December 19, which stated in part:

'Sadly, I have also heard that some are suggesting that you [Virginia congregations] are now affiliated with a Church that seeks to punish homosexual persons. That is a distortion of our true position. We are a Church that teaches the truth of the Holy Scriptures and understands that every person, regardless of their religion or sexual orientation, is made in the image of God, loved by God, and deserving of the utmost respect. That is the conviction that informs our passion for evangelism and drives our determination to establish new dioceses and congregations. We have no desire to place anyone outside the reach of God's saving love and that is why we have supported well reasoned statements such as Resolution 1.10 from the Lambeth Conference in 1998 and also the section of the Dromantine Communiqué, which condemns the "victimization or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex."

'As I am sure you have heard, there is a bill currently being debated by the Nigerian Legislature that addresses the topic of same-sex marriages and homosexual activism. The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria, in its desire to see the strengthening of marriage and family life in our society, has commended the legislators for tackling this difficult issue. We have no desire to see our nation follow the path of license and immorality that we have witnessed in other parts of the world. And we also oppose the severe sanctions of Islamic law.

'We recognize that there are genuine concerns about individual human rights that must be addressed both in the framing of the law and its implementation. I am glad to inform you that while the Honorable Speaker of the House, a Moslem, wanted the immediate and outright passage of the bill, the Deputy Speaker, an Anglican, persuaded his colleagues to allow full public debate on it.'

Posted by: DGus on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 3:00pm GMT

What's your point, DGus? He sees the legislation as strengthening family values in Nigeria. How? it certainly doesn't strengthen families who have gay children. Is he saying that imposing a prison sentence will somehow encourage gay people to change? If so, that shows a very poor understanding of homosexuality, despite his obvious high level of education. His suggestion that the Church in Nigeria is somehow better than the Muslims because they are merely asking for imprisonment is laughable.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 2 January 2007 at 1:39pm GMT
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