Nigeria prays for anti-gay successor to Williams

A news release from the Church of Nigeria chides Archbishop Rowan Williams for not toeing the Nigerian line on Biblical interpretation:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd and Rt. Hon. Dr. Rowan Williams took over the leadership of the Anglican Communion in 2002 when it was a happy family. Unfortunately, he is leaving behind a Communion in tatters: highly polarized, bitterly factionalized, with issues of revisionist interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and human sexuality as stumbling blocks to oneness, evangelism and mission all around the Anglican world.

It might not have been entirely his own making, but certainly “crucified under Pontius Pilate”. The lowest ebb of this degeneration came in 2008, when there were, so to say, two “Lambeth” Conferences one in the UK, and an alternative one, GAFCON in Jerusalem. The trend continued recently when many Global South Primates decided not to attend the last Primates’ meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

Since Dr. Rowan Williams did not resign in 2008, over the split Lambeth Conference, one would have expected him to stay on in office, and work assiduously to ‘mend the net’ or repair the breach, before bowing out of office. The only attempt, the covenant proposal, was doomed to fail from the start, as “two cannot walk together unless they have agreed”.

For us, the announcement does not present any opportunity for excitement. It is not good news here, until whoever comes as the next leader pulls back the Communion from the edge of total destruction. To this end, we commit our Church, the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) to serious fasting and prayers that God will do “a new thing”, in the Communion.

Nevertheless, we join others to continue in prayer for Dr. Rowan Williams and his family for a more fruitful endeavour in their post – Canterbury life.

+Nicholas D. Okoh
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria

Comments (16)

Here's the comment stream on the topic for the Church of Nigeria Facebook page:

Chigoziem Okechukwu God help Anglican Communion and give The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) vision to fight this homosexualism.
8 hours ago · Like · 4

Adeiza Momoh S If every other denomination are in support of homosexual right, i never expect Anglican to also support it devilish right. Let's try to maintain our integrity and work toward the coming of our Lord Jesus christ.
8 hours ago · Like · 3

Ifeanyi Nwokemodo Anglicans in Nigeria never support d same sex marriage for once & that is true confirmation that there is still hope in d hevenly race here among our priest, kudos 2 our former primate d uncompromising, defender of faith that stood against this abomination in d house of God.
8 hours ago · Like · 3

7 hours ago · Like

7 hours ago · Like · 2

Owen Nteirien D whole burden nw lies on d shoulder of his successor, i pray sum1 who will unite d Anglican Church worldwide shld take over frm him. Nw is d time 4 all Anglicans to fast n pray dat God shld allow a beta person to take ova frm him
7 hours ago · Like · 1

Adeleke Adenuga d scipture is definite. no man can add or take away from it 'n' neither will d word of God go unfufilled. prayer 'n' steadfastness was d reasons why d communion is yet to disintegrate by now. God will surely appoint a good shepherd for d Anglican communion.
7 hours ago · Like · 2

Adesuyan Emmanuel Olugbenga It is my own prayer dat God will raise someone after His own heart 4 d Church to move forward in Jesus name.ANGLICAN COMMUNION IS MATCHING ON D GATE OF HELL SHALL NOT PRAVAIL IJN.
7 hours ago · Like

Okwudili Orakwelu I totally surport the position of church of Nigeria, as we pray that the new person will look at the bible not the constitution of America or Britain
7 hours ago · Like · 1

C'käy Hámzõm Mgbachi i pray For God z intervention.
7 hours ago · Like · 1

Peace Iloka I pray sooo.,may God help us.
7 hours ago · Like · 1

St'Michael Anglican Church May d Grace of God abide in Ang. Com.
6 hours ago · Like · 1

James Kudabo My own prayer is dat God should intervain 2 d disunity of His church
6 hours ago · Like · 1

Joan Chinwe My the fair of God abide in the Anglican Communion. Amen.
6 hours ago · Like · 1

Ifeanyi Okoli V C God may u restore ur church & its unity at dis time, lord in ur mercy.....
4 hours ago · Like · 2

Ifeanyi Okoli V C God may u restore ur church & its unity at dis time, lord in ur mercy.....
4 hours ago · Like

Babatomiwa Olaoluwapo Adigun Anglican communion has come to stay,for the victory of darkness over light is temporary.
4 hours ago · Like · 1

Okeke Ugochukwu Oh Lord! intervene nd uphold thy church.
3 hours ago · Like · 2

Orakwue Onyinye it is only GOd dat can fight dis battle
2 hours ago · Like

Nelson Akerele Come oh Lord we pray thee!
2 hours ago · Like · 1

That might be the most arrogant thing I've ever read. (smugness intended)

[please leave your name next time ~.ed]

Dear Jesus, please give those who claim to be your followers the grace, wisdom and willpower to put Luke 6:31 into practice far more assiduously, consistently and seriously than they do -- and help them to do the same with English spelling and grammar when they take it upon themselves to express themselves in that medium, too. Amen.

English probably isn't the first language of many of the people who post on the Church of Nigeria's Facebook page. Whether one agrees with their statements or not, criticizing their lack of fluency in English strikes me as a low blow.

I agree, Paul. It seems that some are no better than what they claim to be against.

To quote (sort of) the Rabbi of Anatevka: "God bless and keep the Church of Nigeria...far away from us."

One of the most potent weapons in the armory of the African GAFCON provinces and of their western supporters and puppeteers, Paul, is the prompt and loud retort to any question of the sophistication of their Biblical and theological interpretation, that such questions are, by their nature, neo-colonial and racist. And frequently, playing as it does to the heart of liberal guilt, it works. But you're right - we should not patronize these folks because not every Nigerian Anglican has a Sugden or a Minns to hand to burnish his or her prose.

I wish there were some way to engage with the Nigerian church in a manner that both sides would agree was positive, that would result in some good in the world, and would build bridges of understanding. Other than the possible observation that this is, at best, wishful thinking, anyone have any thoughts or ideas in this space?

Eric Bonetti

Their English is certainly better than my Yoruba or Igbo.

I was shocked by the mean-spiritedness of ++Okoh's letter. It is bizarre that he would blame +++Williams for things like GAFCON's boycott of Lambeth and the polarization of the Communion, as if Nigeria and the rest of the Global South™ lacked any agency of their own.

The problem isn't Nigerian, Paul and Nicole. Go anywhere in the blogosphere and it seems, regardless of country or culture of origin, the more vehement, extreme and bent on "smacking the opposition" a comment or post is (be it from the right or the left), the more basic literacy, intelligibility and reason fly out the window in the words set down in pixels.

Too much "shooting from the hip" in a blaze of emotive "gut reaction," rather than writing after thought and reflection? An adverse effect of e-mail, texting and Twitter reducing discourse to "OMG" and 140 characters? Whatever the cause, it's lamentable. If one wants to convince others of the truth of his/her argument, it's up to one to express it as clearly as possible; otherwise, the transmission never really reaches the other side.

Like Eric, I'd love to see some sort of positive engagement, but constantly being told "We're right, you're wrong, we believe in the Bible [again, the focus is on the Bible, and not on Christ Jesus], and you're going to hell, you minions of darkness" doesn't much room for that. I seriously doubt Christianity would have spread at all if the apostles had communicated like that. And even Paul and Peter in disagreement still seemed to look upon each other as brothers in Christ, despite their differences.

I just think it was an unnecessary remark that doesn't help anything.

From Nigeria, reaction like this.

From the UK and the US, disappointment that the church is not moving faster on matters of gay rights.

If I were ++Rowan Williams, I'd retire, too.

I would hope that no one goes into ministry desiring to be well liked. Someone isn't going to like you regardless of you having liberal or conservative leanings. He tried to do what he could, and that is the only thing the next ABC can do as well.

I saw this quote in an article put out by about the possibility of ++Sentamu becoming ABC:

"He is a popular religious figure because of his stand against homosexuality."

I'm not that familiar with internal CofE politics, but this seems an odd thing to say about the Archbishop of York, as if his opposition to gay marriage were THE determining factor in his popularity. I wonder how much modern media really informs parties on either side of a cultural chasm, and how much it just reinforces our own beliefs by distorting those of others.

Then again, maybe the secret to ++Sentamu's success really is his opposition to gay rights.

I would imagine that the vast majority of Nigerian Anglicans, if they even have the means, have not the time or priorities to waste online obsessing re homosexuality. Are those Facebook comments distressing? Yes. Do they say that much about the average Anglican in Nigeria? Not really.

JC Fisher

Okoh's letter lacks a certain basic honesty, such as admitting that his church (much less himself, as he was already a bishop in 2002, much less at the last Lambeth) was an instigator for GAFCON, and that if he did not attend the last primates' meeting, it was of his own volition.

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