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Society | Gay - Lesbian

Church of Nigeria breaks with pro-gay churches

afrol News, 3 June - The Church of Nigeria, which is part of the union of Anglican churches, has announced it will cut ties with the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster (Canada) because the latter has sanctioned a marriage between two men.

The Church of Nigeria has issued a statement expressing "deep sadness" with the recent decision taken by the Diocese of New Westminster (Canada) to officially sanction a same-sex union.

In light of the news that the diocese conducted the first same-sex blessing using an authorised public rite on Wednesday 28 May, the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, said: "Regrettably, the much desired reflection that will ease the strain on our Communion has been jettisoned."

- Furthermore, failure to ensure strict compliance with resolutions duly passed at our meetings clearly shows that Bishop [Michael] Ingham and his diocese see no value in being accountable to anybody, the Nigerian archbishop said.

In addition, Archbishop Akinola referred to a statement that he issued at an Anglican world church meeting in Hong Kong on 25 September 2002, saying: "While I appreciate that the New Westminster diocese and the Church of Canada may not be, in numerical terms, especially large ecclesia bodies, we value them as dearly as we value all our partner Provinces."

- We have a growing fear for the sense of loss which any sustained departure by them from our common path and mind must risk, he added. "We urge and pray that reflection will lead to reconsideration. It is hard indeed to see any action, which threatens our Communion to be justified as a local mission priority'."

But there was also a further context of which the Archbishop said he must speak, "painful though it is." "Many of us from the two-thirds world feel that the global north still seeks to retain its disproportionate power and influence in our Church just as in the world."

- It is significant that those dioceses most tempted to indulge themselves with unilateral actions, taken without consulting the wider Communion, seem so often to be among those materially most advantaged and to be in the global north. Should this not occasion reflection? Do we not see here, in the ready assertion of superior wisdom, a new imperialism? the Archbishop asked.

The Archbishop of Nigeria, representing 17 million Anglicans in Nigeria spread over 80 dioceses, has stated that "it is this flagrant disregard for the Anglican Communion and what the vast majority of it stand for [and as a consequence] that has made it inevitable for the Province to severe communion with Bishop Ingham and the diocese of New Westminster."

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