Updated Saturday 10 Feb
First, Reuters today published this story: Nigeria’s Akinola is driving force in Anglican world.
The worldwide Anglican Communion is officially led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England, but he’s facing growing competition these days from Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria.
A staunch defender of traditional Christianity, the energetic Akinola, 63, leads a movement of “Global South” churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America that has brought the 77-million-strong Communion to the brink of schism…
Second, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has published this: A COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE SPECIAL ONE-DAY GENERAL SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD AT AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH, DENDO ROAD, SOKOTO ON WEDNESDAY 7TH, FEBRUARY, 2007. It covers various subjects but includes the following:
The forthcoming Primates’ meeting
The Synod is pleased to hear that the Primate of All Nigeria would be taking part in the meeting of Primates of the Anglican Communion that will hold in Dar es Salaam, February 14th – 20th, 2007. While commending him, the Primate, for his principled stand on the thorny issues plaguing the Communion for some time the Synod is prayerfully looking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this particular meeting to the end that Biblical authority will be upheld. The Synod, while still working towards the unity of the Anglican Communion, strongly believes that such unity must be rooted in Biblical orthodoxy.
The 2008 Lambeth Conference
The Synod reaffirms its earlier resolutions on the 2008 Lambeth Conference and stands firmly on the recommendations of the document, “The Road to Lambeth,” as a condition for our participation in this gathering.
Our brethren in CANA
The Synod welcomed the report from the Bishop of CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) and the increasing number of congregations and clergy who are now part of this important missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). We welcome them as full and constituent members of our Anglican Communion family. We rejoice in their faithful witness during these turbulent times. We are saddened to hear that the profound division in the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia has now led to the unholy situation where an Episcopal Bishop has initiated costly legal action against churches whose only offence is seeking to remain true to the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” We assure them that we stand with them and will continue to uphold them with our prayers…
and concludes with:
Vote of Confidence
The Synod notes with great delight the visionary, purposeful and dedicated leadership given by our Primate, the Most Reverend Peter J. Akinola. Worthy of special note is his unflinching resolve to uphold the authority of the Word of God against onslaughts from modern apostles of false doctrines. The Synod assures him of our prayers and enthusiastic support.
The Most Revd. Peter J. Akinola, DD, CON
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria
The document mentioned above The Road to Lambeth is linked to from here.
Third, there is this article in Time magazine: Blunt Bishop. It starts this way:
The most Rev. Peter Akinola of Nigeria was in New York City late in January making one of his increasingly frequent forays into what he once would have considered enemy territory. Only journalists from religious publications were invited to cover the occasion, at Manhattan’s swank Metropolitan Club—which probably suited the Archbishop, who has become wary of the mainstream press since a December New York Times story that advisers feel wrongly portrayed him as a homophobe. But a friend of the Nigerian primate’s told TIME that Akinola received a standing ovation. The actual guest of honor was a Christian missionary accused under Australia’s anti—religious vilification laws of making anti-Muslim statements. (He appealed, and the case was sent back to trial court.) But Akinola, wearing a gray Western suit over his usual purple shirt, clerical collar and 3-in. wooden cross, was the man most of the religiously conservative attendees had come to see. In cadences that approached preaching, he commended the missionary for what Akinola called his faith and courage at a crucial moment for the Gospel. He cited challenges to Christianity in Australia, Africa and even in England and quoted a biblical verse recounting God’s need for a hero in a debauched land, to “stand in the gap.”
The image could be described as unintentionally double-edged. To a significant number of critics, far from bridging a gap, Akinola, 63, is actively involved in widening one. As primate to 17 million Nigerian Anglicans and head of an African bishops’ group with a total flock of 44 million, he is one of the most influential leaders in the Anglican Communion, the global 78 million— member confederation that includes the 2.2 million congregants in the Episcopal Church (U.S.A.). Indeed, he is the highest-profile figure in the southward shift of Christianity as a whole. Yet he may exercise that influence by helping pull his communion apart, largely over the issue of the church’s stance on homosexuality…
Update There is a further official press release from Nigeria, SOKOTO SURPRISE FOR ANGLICAN LEADERS: “Let them hit me first”, with pictures.