As reported in The Church of England Newspaper, the Church of Nigeria and The Episcopal Church are singing the same tune when it comes to who owns church property in the Anglican Communion:
People may leave, but congregations may not quit the Church of Nigeria, bishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, June 25, 2010 p 8.
On June 21 Bishop Adebiyi went to St Paul’s, an Igbo-speaking congregation, with a number of clergy to celebrate the Eucharist and to resolve a dispute between the parish and the majority Yoruba-speaking diocese.
When he arrived at 7:00 am, the congregation at first refused to allow him to enter the church. After he succeeded in gaining entry and began the worship service, the vestry cut the power to the pulpit microphone and turned off the lights. The congregation then began to sing songs vilifying the bishop. After five hours, the bishop departed.
While people could leave the Church of Nigeria, congregations could not, the bishop said. “By the law that established my diocese, they cannot move out of the diocese except I allow it. If I don’t allow it, there is nothing they can do; the best they can do is to leave the church. That church is entrusted unto us”
He told the [Lagos] Sun that in the Anglican church, “if I come to your house and you give me a piece of land at the back of your compound and I accept, thank you, build a church and you are a member of the church, from that day you have automatically lost ownership of the land. If you are aggrieved and you want your land back, you have to go to court. If the court says the land should be given back to you, so be it, otherwise the land belongs to the church.”
Leaders in The Episcopal Church including Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Rt. Rev. John Bruno, and the Rt. Rev. Peter Lee have all said the same thing regarding congregations that have voted to leave and take the property of the church. Individuals are free to leave and worship elsewhere, but they may not take property that belongs to the church.
Former primate of the Church of Nigeria, Peter Akinola takes a position opposite that of Bishop Adebiyi. Recall what he said at the retirement bash thrown for him by CANA:``It is (the law suits) a major challenge. It is not CANA going to court; it is the demonic powers in the so-called Episcopal Church that are suing CANA churches. They are fighting us with everything they have with the hope of crushing us. It is so ungodly, so demonic and they are determined to completely wipe us out and this is costing millions of dollars."Note the "us." News flash to the Archbishop of Canterbury: CANA is part of the Church of Nigeria.