Thinking Anglicans

postscript to a most agonising journey

The original Word document that was at the centre of this story last week was published on the web five days ago. The publication of this original file does not seem to have attracted much notice.

Go here and scroll down to find it. If you have the software to read an MS Word file, you can see the Martyn Minns and Chris Sugden entries for yourself.

George Conger has written about this story for the Church of England Newspaper under the heading Archbishop Rebuffs Claim of Re-Written Pastoral Letter.


  • Davis d'Ambly says:

    It’s a sea of red.

  • Pluralist says:

    The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola has stated

    _I would have believed the ‘computer software’ story were it not for the allegation of ‘minor amendments’ by the Canon Chris Sugden who had nothing to do with the document._

    We now have visible changes made by Chris Sugden. I noted that Chris Sugden at the time never denied he had contributed (on Anglican Mainstream).

    Why should anyone believe AkinTunde Popoola?

  • Pluralist says:

    Wonderful software? This is after conversion of the Word document to a webpage…

    class=msoDel>At tThe Primates Meeting aAt Lambeth Palace In 2003

  • This was NOT a story before Archdeacon AkinTunde Popoola’s denial. Now it becomes an important one.

    Most knew already that Martyn Minns writes a great deal that appears in Peter Akinola’s name, it has been so for several years. In some rather odd way this truth and their relationship had become clouded by allegations of “racism” that spewed out every time somebody noticed Martyn handing Peter his next speech. I never got it then and I don’t now – I never saw anything wrong in Martyn Minns writing Peter Akinola’s stuff.

    But somehow the allegations of racism swung back on the accusers – making it a matter of principle that Martyn DID NOT write Akinola’s stuff – and that’s when this whole show got messy and nasty.

    Tunde has just made matters a whole lot worse. This IS a story, not necessarily for the newspapers but for all those Christians who want truth to prevail, and I hope this story runs and runs.

  • Pluralist says:

    It didn’t work. Your blogging software! Try again…

    datetime=”2007-08-13T08:39″prediction/ins/span span class=msoInsins

    cite=”mailto:Martyn%20Minns” datetime=”2007-08-15T09:52″a/ins/spanspan

    class=msoInsins cite=”mailto:Chris%20Sugden” datetime=”2007-08-15T14:44″span

    class=msoDeldel cite=”mailto:Martyn%20Minns” datetime=”2007-08-15T09:52″A/del/spanspan

    class=msoInsins datetime=”2007-08-15T14:44″t /ins/span/ins/spanspan

    class=msoInsins cite=”mailto:Martyn%20Minns” datetime=”2007-08-15T09:59″t/ins/span

    Directly from the code, once converted to a webpage.

  • Margaret says:

    Why are you trying to beat-up a story that is long dead?

    Perfectly adequate and reasonable explanations have been given though, of course, your intolerance would not allow that to be the case.

    I suggest you find something better to post – like Bishop Saul’s lovely letter or Gene Robinson’s latest speech. You would find either uplifting of the spirit.

  • C.B. says:

    Well this is what the software shows. The document was edited a little on the evening of August 12th (I assume the dates and times are accurate, as of the place where the document was changed), it then was edited extensively throughout the day on August 13th (starting at 6:30 am and going up to 7:00 PM that night). Then it again was worked on extensively on August 14th starting at 10:00 PM and going past midnight on the 15th. What do we make of this? Was Akinola sitting at Minns’ computer on and off from the early morning through dinner on August 13th? Do we know that he was in Virginia on those dates? By denying that Minns wrote it, they have now made it a story that should either be proved accurate or false.

  • Malcolm+ says:

    “This was NOT a story before Archdeacon AkinTunde Popoola’s denial.”


    Even if Dr. Akinola drafted the letter himself, he’d have been a fool not to have others review the draft. No serious observer can possibly believe he would have sent out this document without a single living soul having been asked to comment.

    Tunde, rule number one in public relations is “don’t lie.”

    There are two reasons for this.

    One is that it is wrong.

    The important reason is that it doesn’t work.

  • “Oh what a tangled web one weaves, when one decides to deceive”.

    Love how modern technology brings to light the behind closed doors machinations.

    Of course, we must be biblical in all our teachings. Isaiah 59:6-8 spring to mind “Their cobwebs are useless for clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways. The way of peace they do not know;there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace…”

  • Colin Coward says:

    Martyn Reynolds is right about the widespread knowledge that Martyn Minns wrote much if not almost all of Archbishop Akinola’s material. Archbishops, bishops and politicians need people to draft or write speeches and sermons for them, and skilled ghost-writers prepare material that reflects the thought and style of the speaker.

    One question about the Akinola/Minns/Sugden material is, do Martyn Minns and Chris Sugden help Archbishop Akinola express his own ideas or are they using him to express their own ideas for the Communion? The extensive revisions to the letter suggest the latter is true.

    A second and more critical question arises. Martyn and Chris were clearly writing material for Archbishop Akinola at the Primates meeting in Tanzania. Archbishop Akinola was responsible for delaying the final press conference until midnight because he was still trying to impose his revisions to the Communique on an unwilling majority of Primates.

    The Primates were not supposed to be influenced by outside advisers. They had agreed to maintain confidentiality about their progress, and none of the Primates who spoke to me talked about the content of the meeting. Would Martyn and Chris like to confirm that Peter Akinola didn’t reveal anything of the content of the Primates process when he met them in the upper room?

    I suspect that Martyn and Chris, using Archbishop Akinola, effectively influenced the final form of the Communique. A small group of unrepresentative conservatives are very effectively manipulating the future of the Anglican Communion by using one of the Primates. The Primate is himself actively allowing and encouraging this manipulation to take place.

    Those who are prejudiced against developments in the Anglican Communion towards the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people abuse power and manipulate authority. At the same time (of course, because they have manipulated the outcome) they want the Communion to abide by the statements made by the Primates.

  • Colin Coward says:

    The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola isn’t a great Director of Communications.

    His first mistake was to release into the public realm a document which enabled people to track the changes made.

    He then issued a press release denying that Chris Sugden had anything to do with the document, when the document shows he did. There’s an explanation for this, of course. Archbishop Akinola has also been staying with Chris Sugden and using his computer.

    The text of Tunde’s press release isn’t clear. He seems to acknowledge that Archbishop Akinola phones him and other staff members to write certain things. He also indicates that the text is entirely the work of Archbishop Akinola, edited on Martyn Minns computer, which is why Martyn’s tag appears on the document. Tunde isn’t clear.

    There is of course a personal interest here for myself and Davis Mac-Iyalla. Canon Tunde has issued previous press releases which didn’t tell the truth.

    Archbishop Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns claim to be upholding fidelity to the Bible and to the truth of God as they seek to split the Communion and replace the Episcopal Church in the USA. Their next move, of course, is to replace the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury with a church and Primate who are closer to their Biblical truth.. (Stupid claim on my part, I know – nothing could be further from their minds, could it?)

    They are not acting with integrity or truthfulness in their dealings with the Communion, with their brother and sister bishops, nor with the other Primates. Their campaign against LGBT people is destructive. This is why the story is of such interest and significance. It reveals the dishonesty of men who claim to hold the high moral ground.

  • Lois Keen says:

    I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that, while it is not unusual for busy public figures to use speech writers and run their statements by them, this particular communication was supposed to be a heartfelt personal letter from their primate to the bishops of Nigeria. As such, it should have been in the archbishop’s own words, and it isn’t.
    Lois Keen

  • There are those who have the recognised forensic skills necessary to identify the authorship of written documents such as this, it may be that we will look at employing such a course. But seriously, this would be a waste of valuable resources to prove what is evident to the most casual reader.

    The language and style are quite clearly not those of Archbishop Akinola.

    It is right to claim this is not the first time we have seen such disinformation coming from this source and we should see this as all the more troubling. If there is no truth in these small and relatively unimportant things how can anyone believe the larger claims?

    Davis Mac-Iyalla has a longstanding dispute over truth with AkinTunde Popoola who has accused him of things that were easily disproved but whose allegations of gross crimes have never been supported by the smallest evidence. I have been deeply saddened that those who are often most agitated by “ad hominem” attacks against their nearest and dearest have responded to Davis’ position by attacking the credibility of Davis’ sole advocate Colin Cowerd.

    There is something deeply twisted about this whole affair – the “explanations” offered are unbelievable – indeed are disbelieved by nearly all. It is equally unbelievable that a senior Anglican leader should be in this position and that he should gave been brought there by his own team.

    One feels that even if a forensic analyses showed the author could not have been Peter Akinola the twisting of truth that has gone on would not allow for the evidence to speak or be believed by some in this situation – this is just so dangerous!

  • pam says:

    Talking about forensics skills sounds like this is a high tech, esoteric investigation. In reality, it is merely a case of opening a document in MS Word when the reviewing toolbar is open.

  • Jim Pratt says:

    There’s nothing wrong or dishonest about using a ghostwriter, especially for someone as busy as the Primate of Nigeria (and yes, I’ve written many things that appeared over someone else’s signature).

    However, the ordinary ghostwriting process seems to have been reversed. The Archbishop wrote the first draft, then the ghostwriter edited it quite heavily for publication. Whenever I ghostwrote anything, I wrote the first draft (based on an outline or instructions), and my superior fine-tuned it before signing his or her name to it.

    But these revelations (and Tunde’s denials) point out two very important untruths:

    1. as Lois Keen points out, this was offered as the Archbishop’s _personal_ reflection.

    2. this leaves one wondering who is calling the shots. Is the Archbishop just a puppet on a string?

  • C.B. says:

    Jim – To be fair, I think Tunde is saying that a first draft was prepared by Akinola’s staff on August 9th and Akinola took it with him on his trip and edited using Minns’ computer. The question is, is that true. Or did Minns edit it for Akinola on his own computer?

  • Pluralist says:

    Look again at the words “mailto:” with changes made.

  • Hugh of Lincoln says:

    The use of the track-changes feature on Word is very useful if you are jointly working on a document with other people.

    Don’t archbishops carry laptops these days? Given the amount of travelling they do and availability of wireless connections, especially in airports.

  • Andrew Carey says:

    Martin Reynolds wrote: “I have been deeply saddened that those who are often most agitated by “ad hominem” attacks against their nearest and dearest have responded to Davis’ position by attacking the credibility of Davis’ sole advocate Colin Cowerd.”

    Now come on Martin, don’t bring me into it again. Colin has very properly withdrawn an allegation he made, and apologised for his mistake. As far as I’m concerned that matter is settled. And you will know that I’m on record calling for the Church of Nigeria to furnish their evidence against Davis MacIllya or withdraw the allegations. They should also apologise and back the human rights of all their citizens.

  • There’s nothing wrong with collaboration and building something that becomes greater than the sum of the individual inputs.

    There is a problem if souls deny others’ input or pretend to be more authoritative or influential than they really are.

    We all know that most of the US president’s speeches are written by ghost writers. He takes responsibility for what he chooses to regurgitate and for what he encourages them to promote. But there is also humility in acknowledging that others might be more talented or have more time to prepare better quality source material. Humility includes acknowledging others’ input and allowing God to move as and where God desires.

    Jesus did it all the time when he repeatedly acknowledged he was sent from God and that his teachings came from God and not himself. John 7:14-24, John 8:28-29 and John 14:24-31 So did John the Baptist who when he stated “…the one who sent me to baptize with water told me” (John 1:33).

    There are those who try to decide who, how or where God’s gifts might be granted. Jesus never begrudged anyone who moved in his name Mark 9:38-41, even if they were not one of his kind nor from his own camp. If he was that inclusive in life, why would we believe he had changed since the resurrection? Nor did Moses Numbers 11:25-29 who did not begrudge the two unexpected anointments from the camps.

    Zechariah 12:8 is another vision of humility and teamwork “the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them.” Acts 2 is a profound example of the possible outpouring of gifts from God, as also desired by Jesus and Spirit.

    Some claim that the line be drawn on sexuality. No, the line should be drawn on abuse and tyranny. You are either for peace and rest, or you are for aggression and accusation. This is a divine principle that transcends camps, theologies or philosophies; it is a cornerstone that underpins every individual or community’s choices on how to handle difficulties and prepare for the future. One side funds and justifies war, poverty and plundering; the other funds and justifies peace, nurturing and blessings.

  • L Roberts says:

    ‘… I’m on record calling for the Church of Nigeria to furnish their evidence against Davis MacIllya or withdraw the allegations. They should also apologise and back the human rights of all their citizens.’

    Posted by: Andrew Carey on Sunday, 2 September 2007 at 9:33pm BST

    This is wonderful.

    If only George Carey would speak out in this way, it could have a powerful effect, for good.

  • Pluralist says:

    This is not as important as these matters concerning individuals, but I would like Andrew Carey to substantiate his allegation that TEC is pursuing a “kind of uncommitted unitarianism”. What did you mean or should this be heavily qualified to the point where it is not the case?

  • liddon says:

    please, no, not George Carey. HE has done more than enough damage already. It is long past time for him to keep silent. I wouldn’t want him to intervene, even if i agreed with what he said. the protocol of keeping quiet after leaving office ought to be observed at last.

  • Tunde says:

    Having learnt of the manifesto in the book ‘After the Ball” by Kirk and Madsen, I understand the idea is to portray those opposing the homosexual agenda as nasty as possible. I am therefore not surprised at being ‘hit’.

    For those that are unbiased, I still make bold to say I did not lie. I do not have to lie, else I would have denied Bishop Minns.

    My statement identified all those I know who had an input in the letter which remains the authentic idea and work of Archbishop Peter Akinola. The html software shows Dr. Sudgen’s name I must admit. It is possible Bishop Minns referred it to him. Unfortunately he has been travelling and I am yet to reach him on that. If he confirms it, I owe Dr Sudgen an apology and will remove that reference from my statement.

    This attempt to distract attention from the problems highlighted by the document is another chasing of shadows that does not help in removing the problems.

    The issue at stake remains our fidelity to God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures. Is every diocese willing to make that commitment, or are there some that will like to be the fulfilment of the prophecy in 2Timothy 4: 3-4? The document shows the concern about avoiding this in the Anglican Communion.

    That should be the focus of discussion of Thinking Anglicans

  • Unfortunately, this does strike me as a “distraction”, so much as a “pars pro tutto”.

    The way these things go.

  • Tunde wrote: “The issue at stake remains our fidelity to God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures.”

    Our fidelity (and much besides) to God is indeed revealed by the Holy Scriptures (always in the plural).

    And much besides…

    “That should be the focus of discussion of Thinking Anglicans”

    If you have been paying attention you know that it is.

  • Malcolm+ says:

    Tunde, allow me to continue your PR education.

    We’ve already covered:

    – Rule #1 – Don’t lie. It’s wrong, but more importantly it doesn’t work.

    Now let me tell you about:

    – Rule #2 – When you find yourself in a deep hole, stop digging.

    Might I propose the following statement which, if you had made it to begin with, would have made the whole thing go away:

    “Archbishop Akinola wrote a personal reflection on the current state of things in the Anglican Communion as we approach the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Before publishing this reflection, he sought the advice of several people, including Bishop Minns and Canon Sugden, both of whom made useful editorial suggestions, many of which were incorporated in subsequent drafts. That said, the letter is signed by Archbishop Akinola himself. He is responsible for the final version and it clearly sets out his views on the issues at hand.”

    Instead, you’ve bobbed, dodged and weaved and given the story legs.

    Bad PR practitioner.

  • I do hope George Conger is reading this exchange, for as Malcolm says – it becomes murkier with each step.

    Let me see if I get Tunde’s story absolutely clear now:
    The original was drafted by Canon David Anderson (and others)
    It was heavily worked over by bishop Martyn Minns with some minor alterations from Dr Sugden,
    Now is that the truth?

    Of course it fully represents the views of the person who signed it.

  • Colin Coward says:

    Tunde is ahead of me – I hadn’t heard of, let alone read ‘After the Ball’, published in 1989. Should I get hold of a copy? If the agenda of the book is as described by Tunde, then it is a book with which I disagree. The only review of the book on Amazon is hostile.

    It’s not a book Tunde has read – he says he has ‘learnt’ of the manifesto in the book. It is however, clearly a book on the reading list of some secessionsts. Changing Attitude needs to send you some other books, Tunde, which might help balance your reading list in favour of opinions less hostile and negative towards you.

    You are not being ‘hit’, Tunde, no more than myself or Davis or many other people who post to this list.

    I question the accuracy of your statement about Archbishop Akinola’s letter because you have already shown yourself to be unreliable, a man who deliberately publishes falsehood.

    You have still not apologised to Davis Mac-Iyalla. I hope Bishop Martyn Minns contacted you after the Primates meeting in Tanzania, as he promised me he would, and asked you to stop attacking Davis. I am sure he did, but you ignored my request conveyed through him. You will never be free to be trusted, Tunde, until you withdraw your allegations against Davis and apologise. Too many people in the USA and the UK have now met Davis and had the opportunity to question him about Otukpo and the lies published against him.

    2 Timothy 4: 3-4 can as easily refer to you and the secessionists claiming to represent the global south as much as you might think it applies to other members of the Communion, Tunde. You are stopping your ears to the truth being told by lesbian and gay people across the Communion and in your own country, Nigeria.

    Chaos is being created in the communion by an increasingly divided number of Primates from the south, they are each following their own whim and gathering a crowd of teachers to tickle their fancy (REB adapted).

  • Pluralist says:

    I think the focus of Thinking Anglicans, Tunde, is something on the lines of you (in general) are not to be trusted.

    We’ve had not schism but revolution, according to the contributor. The point about revolutionaries is that they present pure ideas. We then find the revolution goes elsewhere, that intended by the pure ideas, because the people involved have power ambitions, do not tell the truth, end up arguing amongst themselves to the point of splitting from one another, and that they have an existing opposition to deal with. The revolutionary institution set up is then found to be not only narrow but nasty.

  • The book ‘After the Ball’ intrigues me. I’ve never heard of it or its author.

    I do no suppose that means I am acting out one of its paradigms?

    A bit like 1984, when in the face of torture the hero offers up his beloved so that he can go free.

    Then when the two meet on the street, neither can face the other, as they both know that their freedom came about by sacrificing the “other”.

    Goes back to those who would condemn the South Africans for daring to include all allies in redemption, including GLBTs…

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