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Outgoing and incoming chairmen of GAFCON at loggerheads

Outgoing and incoming chairmen of GAFCON at loggerheads

The Anglican Church of North America is facing an apparent challenge to its ecclesiastical independence from its sponsor, the Church of Nigeria. ACNA was formed as a so-called orthodox alternative to The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

The outgoing and incoming chairmen of GAFCON are at loggerheads over the surprise unilateral appointment of four Nigerian bishops for the Anglican Church of North American (ACNA) by the House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican). ACNA is not part of the Anglican Communion but is recognized by provinces of the communion who belong to GAFCON.

ACNA is led by Archbishop Foley Beach who becomes chairman of GAFCON in April. The current chairman of GAFCON is Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria.

An ACNA news release dated January 2018 states “Conversations between Archbishop Beach and Archbishop Okoh are ongoing as they seek a way forward that honors Christ and his Church, and builds up the Gafcon movement.”

The full statement by ACNA follows.

A Statement on the Election of Church of Nigeria Bishops for the Diocese of the Trinity

As was reported last week, the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria have elected four bishops for the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity to minister in North America.

These elections did not follow the Protocol between the Anglican Church in North America and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), and were not made in consultation with the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America.  The bishops-elect still have to go through the Church of Nigeria’s credentialing process. It is not intended that they will be a part of the Anglican Church in North America’s College of Bishops.

Conversations between Archbishop Beach and Archbishop Okoh are ongoing as they seek a way forward that honors Christ and his Church, and builds up the Gafcon movement.

Bishop Dobbs and Bishop Orji commented on the situation, “This does not directly affect the mission and ministry of the other CANA dioceses.  While we are disappointed by the way this election process has unfolded, this is not a situation that affects our local parishes and their commitment to making disciples and followers of Jesus.”



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Jennings Symon

It’s the same play they ran with Martyn Minns. Question, though: are these new bishops known particularly for fundraising? Perhaps ACNA isn’t paying enough tribute to Okoh et al.

JoS. S Laughon

This will no doubt feed as fodder for those who seek to disparage African leadership in Anglicanism, in particular those who see being white and of Anglo-western background as some kind of Anglican superiority, however it is truly a tempest in a tea pot that is likely to be resolved quickly.

Leonel A.B.

there are bishops in ECUSA who are neither ‘white’ or whatever you could possibly mean with ‘anglo-western’ background. What does that verbal gymnastics mean anyhoo? That they use wheels? Paper? Electricity?

why can’t you face the fact that ACNA is a puppet of the Nigerian church?

Steve Price

The Episcopal Church JoS is describing did once exist and still is seen in a few parishes ,particularly in the South where I live.But those parishes are either changing or dying,like mine.And if you want a good posting on why the Nigerian Church is deserving of criticism,I would refer you to Steve Skardon’s latest posting at South Carolina Episcopalians.Don’t you think it somewhat disingenuous to play the race card on a Church led by an African-American Primate ?( see photo Episcopal Church Primate Bishop Michael Curry)

JoS. S Laughon


You know as well as I that GAFCON is more than Nigerian (a bitter irony that a sister church of millions of African Christians is immediately held as suspect because they are Protestant and because of the actions of some clerics) but is in fact 20+ provinces, whereas the avowedly liberal ones make up a handful.

I mention this not to play the race card but because I have seen literal comments, here and elsewhere, positing an American and British superiority (their words) to African Christians, which is odd coming from a church that remains 90% white.

Kurt Hill

You do know, don’t you JoS, that the Nigerian church, and a number of others, are infected with some very problematic Pentecostalist perspectives? Male “headship” and homophobia are just part of the mix. Witchcraft charges are part of the mix, too…And Nigeria only banned polygamy among members of the church in 2008.

JoS. S Laughon

As a baptized member of the Episcopal Church and someone whose family is an 11th generation American Episcopalian (& further counting our English forbearers on my mother’s side), I know as well as you that American Anglicanism an overwhelmingly WASP affair. There are some who regrettably deride and disrespect our African brothers and sisters in the faith and some on this very board who bizarrely insist that Englishmen and Americans are superior to Africans in Anglicanism. Case in point is that we can’t even discuss churches that have sought and have African leadership without laughably referring to African puppetry. Odd how any African influenced church remains suspect for some.

Kurt Hill

You don’t get out much, do you JoS? Historically American Anglicanism is a denomination which has a large percentage of “converts” from other denominations. This is true going back to at least 1722 and the Yale Converts. People choose the Episcopal Church for many reasons–its Liturgy, its theology, its social gospel, its inclusion of women, gay people, etc. The parish I grew up in in Chautauqua County, NY had WASPs in it, of course. I’m part British myself. But we also had people from Italian, Swedish, Polish, etc. backgrounds as well. We had a couple of Afro-American families. Hardly “overwhelmingly” WASP…

JoS. S Laughon


It seems you cannot hold any disagreement with anyone without insinuating insults or simply directly insulting someone. I’ve attended Episcopal parishes all over including the one I was born in. While it is less stratified than, say, the 1870s, it is overwhelmingly white, upper-middle class and often Anglo, which is why Episcopalians are 90% white, disproportionately older, wealthy and well educated. There is nothing wrong with these things but pretending this isn’t the case is simply untrue.

Kurt Hill

Apparently you haven’t considered that much of what you have written on this site insults many of us, too…Let’s all try to be more considerate of each other, yes..?


Fact! Ecusa is an Apostate church ! End of story! 2Cor 2:17 ” We are not of those who peddle ( corrupt ) the Word of God”
Revd Canon John Simons ,Aus.

Kurt Hill

And you are probably a flogging parson, Canon John Simons…

Steve Price

Fact:The Anglican Church in Nigeria under the stranglehold grasp of its authoritarian leadership is a full advocate of the Nigerian government’a policy of repression,imprisonment,and death for LGBTQ individuals .The ACNA has endorsed these policies by their affiliation with the Nigerian Church.The Primates of the Anglican Communion should make it clear to both these groups that this conduct jeopardizes any relationship they share or hope to share with the. real Anglican Communion

Kurt Hill

Yes, Steve, they are authoritarian in Nigeria. Apparently it was an Evangelical Anglican deacon that brought Pentecostalism to that poor country a century ago. This strand of radical Protestantism has infected many Evangelicals in that country–including those who claim Anglican lineage who dominate GAFCON. Authoritarianism is just one aspect of it, apparently. Anglicanism in Nigeria has a much briefer history than Anglicanism in the US, or even in Canada. They have been under pressure from conservative Islam, as well as by wacko Evangelical sects, and it shows up in their advocacy for such terrible repression. We should pray for them–and pray that a progressive Anglicanism will make itself known there soon.

Joel Grigg

Wow. Let’s see if we can stir things up where there is nothing to stir up. A simple reading of the ACNA statement makes it clear that they are moving forward – TOGETHER.

JoS. S Laughon

Correct. Much ado about nothing.

Adam Armstrong

What goes around….

Kurt Hill

Yep…Many of the Anglo Catholic (High Church) elements are apparently preparing to split, as well…

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