Reactions to the Akinola/Minns letter

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Mark Harris, writing at Preludium, has an analysis of what implications might be drawn as a result of the Church Times story that Archbishop Akinola’s latest essay was re-written in large part by his CANA bishop, Martin Minns. The first of Mark’s essays has to do with the larger implications of the issue of authorship. The second has to do with looking for a lens to put into perspective the most recent sets of writings coming out of the CANA/AMiA/ACN community:

“If the Archbishop’s words are a mirror to the the realignment folk and dissenters in the US the circle is closed: The script noted in my previous posting is then augmented by a script with much longer preparation behind it: the script that says the whole of the Global South, all of Africa, and most of the Communion is full of life because they hold to the faith once delivered of the saints, biblical morality and sound doctrine, that the Northern churches are corrupted by rotten theology and worse morals, etc. If there is an outside script (touted as the ‘voice’ of the Communion,) and an inside script (touted as the voice of pain and suffering in TEC) the noise gets louder, but the source gets smaller.

(iv) If Minns and Duncan (or is it Anderson?) are the operators out and inside scripting away and planning the brave new reformation of the whole communion, nay the whole church universal, we might wish to see just what is behind the new face of Anglicanism sometimes touted as the Archbishop of Nigeria sometimes as the Moderator. Perhaps it is time to let Toto loose in the throne room. Perhaps it is time to pay attention to the man (or men) behind the curtain.”

Read the rest of Mark’s essays here.

Colin Coward, of Changing Attitudes (England) has posted his reactions and analysis which says, in part:

Colin Coward and Davis Mac-Iyalla (Changing Attitude England and Nigeria), Caro Hall (Integrity USA) and Scott Gunn (Inclusive Church) were present at the Primates’ Meeting at the White Sands Hotel in Tanzania, February 2007. Today’s report confirms the deep suspicions we developed as we observed the visits by Archbishop Peter Akinola to the first floor room where Martyn Minns, Chris Sugden, David Anderson and others met every day, all day. We speculated on what they were they doing which could possibly occupy so much time. One possibility was that they were waiting patiently for Archbishop Akinola to come and report to them (quite improperly) what had been taking place in the Primates Meeting next door. We suspect that this is indeed what the Archbishop did.

Today’s report reveals that they were clearly doing more than this. They were drafting material for Archbishop Akinola to take back to the Primates’ Meeting. They prepared an alternative text for the final Communique which Archbishop Akinola was given to present to the Primates. The final press conference on the Monday evening was delayed until nearly midnight, almost certainly because Akinola was arguing at length with the other Primates, desperately trying to force the Minns/Sugden/Anderson agenda on the other, mostly unwilling, Primates.

You can read Colin’s full essay here. There is also a short piece by Davis Mac-Iyalla (Changing Attitudes Nigeria) on the site which asks questions of the sources of funding for some of the most recent activities of the Archbishop of Nigeria’s office.

Update: Kendall Harmon has comments on the controversy, and some cautions about what the document in question might imply:

The important point about the article is that the author has raced to a conclusion without evidence. If I have a word document on my computer written by Bishop Salmon with changes in it (if the Word software indicates so), the changes were made on my computer but by whom they were made is still not known. Indeed, on a number of occasions Bishop Salmon has called me and made changes to the document with me on the phone. He was speaking, and I was typing. Yes, you guessed it, this has happened on a number of occasions. I can think of several where both Bishop Salmon and Bishop Skilton made multiple changes to the final text, which of course they both then signed. Every change came through my computer, but was made by them because they were concerned about every word. This is called care and collaboration, and it happens all over the church all the time

Further Update, a response by The Venerable AkinTunde Popoola, Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria to the story in the Church Times has appeared on the Church of Nigeria’s website:

It is very insulting and racist to infer that the Primate of All Nigeria is being dictated to. Is this in continuation of the ‘jamming’ of people opposing the agenda?

I would have believed the ‘computer software’ story were it not for the allegation of ‘minor amendments’ by the Canon Chris Sugden who had nothing to do with the document.

Abp. Akinola informed his senior staff and the Episcopal Secretary the need to highlight efforts at maintaining unity and the intransigence of the revisionists so that the Nigerian community is left in no doubt about who is ‘walking apart’

Along with his PA in Abuja, work started on the gathering of materials and relevant documents on 6th August, 2007. We used in addition to existing statements and my internet searches, Nigerian Episcopal meeting documents and TECUSA resolutions supplied respectively by our Episcopal Secretary, the Rt. Rev. Friday Imaekhia and a CANA priest, the Rev. Canon David Anderson. The draft of the statement was ready for correction by the primate on 9th August, 2007 who was however unable to correct it as he was about to travel.

Abp. Akinola was in the US and Bahamas between 10th and 22nd August 2007. I sent the draft to him through the Rt. Rev Minns with a request for assistance in getting some online references which I could not easily locate.

Finally there is a piece summarizing reactions so far today on Ekklesia’s site this morning. And a late afternoon update from the Rev. Susan Russell. And another by Tobias.

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One Response to "Reactions to the Akinola/Minns letter"
  1. Kendall's point would be more persuasive if the document contained a few editorial amendments or a couple of frequently rewritten passages. That isn't the case. I am delighted though that conservative bloggers and commenters are attempting to persuade themselves that there is little damage here that needs controlling. It makes life easier for those of us who disagree. I am also grateful to Tunde Popoola for informing us that the Rev. David Anderson of the American Anglican Council also had a hand in preparing the document.

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