There are no new reports relating to the Minns consecration in today’s Church Times but Paul Handley’s interview with Bishop Peter Lee that I mentioned last week, is now on the web: ‘Lawsuits would be unbiblical’ says Bishop Lee.
The Church of England Newspaper also has no further news about the consecration on its website but it does have an interesting story about the Nigerian church by George Conger: Nigeria’s Hezbollah fears. See the original press release here.
But the most interesting report is on the Nigerian provincial website itself: Coming Over to America to Help:
Coming Over to America to Help
A Background to the Nigerian Mission to America.
Thousands of Anglicans in North America have long watched with dismay as their much loved Churches slid from the known teachings of the Bible to that which seems to conform more to the ideas of civil society groups.
Questionable doctrines include teachings that;
- Imply the Creator God is unable to decide whether he wanted to make a person male or female.
- Portray Jesus the Christ as only ‘a way’ out of ‘many paths’ to God instead of THE WAY. John 14:6
- Love of a person means acceptance and love of the person’s sins.
- The Holy Spirit stopped convincing of sin (John 19: 8 ) and became a dispensable adviser.
- The Holy Scriptures lost relevance as the ‘developed industrialized world’ could respond to many human problems.
- Different people could propound any new teaching as long as it makes the listeners feel good. 2Tim 3:3-4
- Heaven and hell are figurative languages used in the bible as it is wrong to frighten people with such old ideas in the modern world.
- Mission and ministry assumed new meanings.
Many Nigerians in the US found it increasingly difficult to identify with the Anglican communities, and thus found themselves worshiping in other denominations.
When a Canadian diocese approved church ceremonies to allow homosexuals exchange marital vows and The Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA) followed by consecrating a practicing homosexual as a bishop, the spiritual life of many got threatened, and the Church of Nigeria became concerned.
“For us it is crucial and most urgent that we find ways of providing alternative avenues for the thousands of Nigerian Anglicans who live and work beyond our shores,” said Archbishop Peter Akinola, at the Standing Committee meeting of the Church in Ilesa, March 2004.
What started as an outreach to provide a safe harbour for Nigerians soon became overwhelmed with requests for participation and the Convocation for Anglicans in North America (CANA) was born. Announcing the formation of the Convocation in April 2005, Archbishop Akinola wrote:
“Our intention is not to challenge or intervene in the churches of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada but rather to provide safe harbour for those who can no longer find their spiritual home in those churches”
In September 2005 at the 8th General Synod of the Church of Nigeria, the necessary constitutional changes were made to permit the formal establishment of the Convocation in the USA and by November the necessary legal framework to establish CANA as a recognized Anglican Church structure in the USA was completed. Abraham N. Yisa, Esq., Registrar of the Church of Nigeria was appointed chairman of the board of trustees, Chief Gboyega Delano of Chicago, the secretary and Mrs. Patience Oruh of Maryland, the treasurer for CANA. The Rev. Canon Nathan Kanu was appointed the interim communicator, and some Nigerian bishops were delegated to give Episcopal oversight.
In November, the Church of Nigeria entered into a covenant agreement with the Reformed Episcopal Church and the Anglican Province of America. These are two Churches spread over the US that had also separated from ECUSA on doctrinal issues. Though their bishops and some other faithful bishops in the US continued to be very supportive of the Nigerian initiative, the need to have a US- based Bishop for the growing convocation became more apparent over time, as the ECUSA remained unwilling to change course.
In June 2006, the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria met to among other things, elect bishops to fill vacant Sees after which the names of four new bishops-elect including that of the first CANA bishop was announced. Also a committee led by the Rt. Rev Benjamin Kwashi, Bishop of Jos and including the Rt. Rev Segun Okubadejo, bishop of Ibadan North and the Rt. Rev Ikechi Nwosu, bishop of Umuahia, was appointed to supervise the CANA mission.
The consecration service for the Rev. Canon Martyn Minns as Bishop in the Church of God for the CANA is on Sunday, 20th August 2006.
(Church of Nigeria News)