Comments: What happened to the Nigerian chaplaincy?

The unknown God of money and power. I'd love to know how they are funding these ventures, particularly the sources of start up revenue. I wonder if it is a uniquely Anglican sponsorship?

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 at 7:32pm BST

I shall be interested to see if you get a reply from either Martyn or CANA. If they will lie about something like this, how can they and their friends be trusted about anything else? I appreicate your making this known.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 at 7:35pm BST

I would welcome seeing a list of all of the CANA congregations and the clergy affiliated with them. The map of the US at the CANA website with an odd assortment of cities named (Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Oklahoma City...) is intriguing. Are these the only cities with CANA congregations in them? Is that what their being singled out on the map of the world -- along with Abjua, Lagod and Jos -- represents?

If CANA is a reality, surely a list should be available, if only for Nigerians travelling from city to city and searching for a like-minded congregation.

Posted by Tobias S Haller BSG at Wednesday, 16 August 2006 at 10:18pm BST

There is a CANA parish in Irvington, NJ (Dio. of Newark). It had originally been an Episcopal parish that closed due to lack of interest. A Nigerian Anglican tent-maker priest (full time job is as an engineer/planner in NYC) received permission to start a parish in the old building. Soon had about 150 or 200 in worship at which time, he was told the parish need a full-time priest and he got the boot by the Diocese. A new priest was appointed and inside of several weeks, virtually the entire congregation left the parish. They now worship together again in other quarters in the same town and TEC's parish is again defunct.

Posted by Dave at Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 7:20pm BST

Dave,
So a group of people like what one priest says and start going to church. They get a new rector and don't like him. So they stop going to church. Now you might see this as people being drven away, or expressing their disapproval of "unorthodox" teaching. Others might see it as people who don't wish to be challenged in their faith. Some might also be tempted to question the faith of this particular congregation since, after all, God didn't change, the priest did, and we don't go to church to worship the priest, surely.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 18 August 2006 at 11:30am BST

I will forgive the errors in your comment, Ford, since you can't expect to be knowledgeable about the specifics. But I will give you a few so that you can process them in your thinking.
1. The new congregation was largely African immigrants and in their part-time priest, they had someone who understood their culture, traditions, beliefs and style of worship.
2. Unlike what happens when a vestry calls a new rector, the new priest was imposed upon the congregation. They had no choice in his selection. Moreover, they were quite satisfied with the job being done by their priest who wanted to remain.
3. I have heard (but I have no personal knowledge of it) that the new priest was an "out" gay male whose theology diverged 180 degrees from that of the congregation.
Now, you can accuse the parishioners of "worshipping" the priest rather than our Lord, but tell me what in the world the diocese was doing. Was it worshipping "diversity?" Was it pastorally sensitive to the needs of these parishioners? Were 150-200 parishioners sacrificed on the altar of post-modern Christianity?
One thing is for sure. They are now thriving. Can the same be said about the diocese?

Posted by Dave at Friday, 18 August 2006 at 2:31pm BST

Tobias,

FWIW, back in April the listing of CANA parishes below appeared through Virtue Online:

http://listserv.episcopalian.org/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0604a&L=virtueonline&T=0&P=367

Posted by David Heusdens at Friday, 18 August 2006 at 5:00pm BST

Thanks. One would have to ask why a new priest was imposed on a congregation that already had one with whom they were happy. Was it some sort of liberal conspiracy, or just ineptitude on the part of the bishop/diocesan heirarchy? Putting a gay man as rector of a congregation of expat Nigerians, regardless of his ability, would seem more than a little inept, and could be expected to be taken as provocation, whether it was or not. Much like putting an Evangelical in an Anglo-catholic parish, something our little piece of the Kingdom would have big problems with, though I fear it may become necessary in the future, since there is an alarming upsurge in Evangelicalism in the two dioceses to the West of us, and a few beach-heads here.

I have no idea if the Diocese of Newark is thriving or not. This is Spong's old diocese, right? One hopes God sent them a better bishop in more recent times!

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 18 August 2006 at 5:47pm BST

I suspect that it was a combination of errors. First, I think there was fear of a growing parish led by an evangelical, Nigerian priest. Second, folks in Newark are so arrogant, they think that the entire diocese supports their "progressive" agenda. Third, I think there was a touch of colonialism/paternalism - "the diocese knows better than Africans what is good for them."
Yes - this was Jack Spong's diocese. His successor is a lovely and kindly man - but very much a product of an ultra-liberal theology. Unlike his predecessor, however, he has not declared war on evangelicals or anglo catholics so that there has been almost no hostilities. I disagree with him on most everything, but very much like him and pray for him (and his seriously ill wife) regularly.

Posted by Dave at Friday, 18 August 2006 at 7:17pm BST

Dear David,
Thanks for pointing me to this list, which is most informative. It is I would also hazard an example of the kind of "half truths" at which the Church of Nigeria seems to be coming adept.

First, ask yourself why this list does not appear on the CANA website itself? Is it not perhaps because these are "old CANA" parishes from back when it was a cooperative venture with the Episcopal Church, rather than "new CANA" parishes that have to sign a statement of affiliation?

Then note the heading of the list of churches shown: it says, "FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF NIGERIAN CONGREGATIONS/MINISTRIES IN NORTH AMERICA" and lists 17 congregations. The line above mentions that CANA has "established 17 parishes to date in the United States." So one could be forgiven for thinking this was a list of CANA parishes.

However, I know at least two of these priests personally, and both are in good standing in the dioceses of the Epiacopal Church in which they function. Although they lead "Nigerian Congregations" they are, as far as I can see, operating under the auspices of the Episcopal Church, and in cooperation (in at least one case I know of from personal experience) with the parish in which they function.

I cannot say how many of the other parishes are similar cases of smoke and mirrors.

Posted by Tobias S Haller BSG at Sunday, 20 August 2006 at 9:59pm BST
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