Church of Nigeria

Nigerian primate to boycott meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury

Tue 05 Sep 2017
By Marcus Jones

The leader of Anglicans in Nigeria has confirmed he will boycott next month's meeting of worldwide Anglican leaders because of his perceived lack of progress on the issue of sexuality.

The Primates from the 39 provinces will gather in Canterbury at the request of Justin Welby.

It'll be the first meeting of its kind since the January 2016 meeting in which there was said to be much conflict on the issue of sexuality.

In that meeting the US Episcopal Church was suspended from full participation in the Anglican Communion because of its decision to allow clergy to conduct gay marriages.

Critics claim that the discipline hasn't really changed anything.

In a letter to members of the conservative Anglican group GAFCON, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh Primate of All Nigeria said: "I attended the Canterbury Primates Meeting held in January 2016 because I believed it might be possible to make a new start and change the pattern of repeated failure to preserve the integrity of Anglican faith and order. I was disappointed."

He goes on to say that nothing has changed since 2008 when the debate on the issue began.

Archbishop Nicholas claims the beliefs of he and his colleagues aren't being respected and false teaching is not being corrected.

"In these circumstances," he said. "I have concluded that attendance at Canterbury would be to give credibility to a pattern of behaviour which is allowing great damage to be done to global Anglican witness and unity. Our energies in the Church of Nigeria will be devoted to what is full of hope and promise for the future, not to the repetition of failure."

In a statement to Premier, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion responded: At their meeting in January 2016 the Primates agreed to walk together.

"The primate of Nigeria was present at that meeting. In effect, he is now reneging on this decision which is very sad.

"However the door remains open and he would be very welcome to attend next month’s Primates’ meeting.” 

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