On the CANA website, Martyn Minns says the following:
…It’s a little known fact that Nigerians have a significant presence in the US-many are doctors, communications professionals, and successful business people-and a large segment of these Nigerians are Anglican Christians. For a while, the Anglican Church of Nigeria attempted to work with Presiding Bishop Griswold and ECUSA dioceses to meet the pastoral needs of these Anglican Nigerians in the US.
But, ECUSA proved over and over again that it was unwilling to respect the faith of Anglican Nigerians by its divisive actions. One of these actions was that ECUSA unilateraly sacked the former Nigerian chaplain appointed to care for Anglican Nigerians in this country, the Rev. Canon Gordon Okunsanya. So, we can really say that ECUSA itself made the creation of CANA necessary. Necessity is truly the mother of invention.
Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria attempted to meet the needs of Anglican Nigerians in this country himself. But, he soon realized that maintaining a vital mission in the US could not be sustained without the presence of a domestic church structure and a local bishop. Thus, my election as CANA’s missionary bishop.
Archbishop Akinola is also well aware of the pastoral crisis that ECUSA has caused for Anglicans of all races and ethnicities in the US. And so, he is committed to seeing that CANA is welcoming of everyone-whether they’re from Nigeria or not-who believe in the uniqueness of Jesus the Messiah, the authority of the Bible in our lives, and the historic faith of the Anglican tradition…
Also Archbishop Peter Akinola himself says this elsewhere on the site:
Several of our Nigerian clergy in America have been informed they can no longer work in an Episcopal diocese or have had their funding cut. Finally, the unilateral dismissal by the Presiding Bishop of the Chaplain we had jointly appointed to minister to Nigerian congregations illustrates the extent of the brokenness of our relationship and underlines the need to provide alternative structures for episcopal and pastoral care.
Last night, Patrick Mauney who was formerly ECUSA’s director of Anglican and global relations commented here on TA, as follows:
I cannot let pass unchallenged the statement on the CANA website by Canon Minns that TEC “unilaterally sacked the former Nigerian chaplain” who had been appointed to look after Nigerian Anglican expats in the U.S., and that by this action had made the formation of CANA necessary. This is untrue. I know, because until my retirement the end of 2004, I was the Presiding Bishop’s deputy for Anglican relations and responsible for oversight of TEC’s share of the Nigerian Anglican chaplaincy jointly established by Bishop Griswold and Abp Akinola.
The truth is that the chaplain had overspent his budget and further expenses on his part were disallowed until income was sufficient. The chaplain chose to interpret this as a sacking, but he was clearly informed that he was not being terminated and that he could resume his work once sufficient funds were on hand. Abp Akinola was kept fully abreast of this development, but by this time (2004) I think he clearly had intended to cease cooperating in the joint chaplaincy and to establish CANA, although he never informed the Presiding Bishop of these plans.
For the record, tens of thousands of dollars were raised for the joint chaplaincy, with major grants coming from the dioceses of Southern Ohio and Texas. Numerous TEC bishops had indicated their support and facilitated the work of the former chaplain. Abp Akinola, for his part, pledged US$5,000 to the effort, but had not made good on his pledge by the time I departed the end of 2004.
Subsequently Patrick Mauney wrote to me with additional information:
Gordon Okunsanya (the former chaplain, an American priest of Nigerian birth), was resident in the diocese of Atlanta and used a business credit card issued by the diocese. (The chaplaincy was deliberately not a national church-funded “program” but a partnership of the PB’s office, individual dioceses with large African expat populations, and, ostensibly at least, the Primate of Nigeria. Gordon charged his expenses on his diocesan card, then we reimbursed Atlanta, as we (815) were the reception point for the contributions from TEC dioceses.)
I have written to both CANA and to Martyn Minns personally inviting them to reply. So far nothing has been received here. I have also asked for a response from 815 Second Avenue and received this:
ENS contacted the Presiding Bishop’s Office and the accuracy of Canon Mauney’s recollections was confirmed.
Meanwhile, the following earlier reports relating to all this can be found on the web:
ENS Chaplaincy to expatriate Nigerian Anglicans launched in US
Washington Times Nigerian bishop forms U.S. denomination
Voice of America Nigerian Anglicans Consider US Gay Bishop Controversy (with audio interview of Canon Gordon Okunsanya)