Various news sites are reporting that four more priests in the Anglican Church of Nigeria have been dismissed for “homosexual practices.” Their dismissal and defrocking follows similar actions against two other priests less than two weeks ago, according to WithinNigeria.com and others.
Their bishops’ letters were published by the paper, and included strong language warning people against associating with them, “as such can drag the image of the Church into the mud.”
The BBC, reporting the story in Pidgin, notes that the Nigerian Anglican Church has asked for “special status” to maintain its hard line against LGBTQ persons. The BBC links on to a story it ran late last year which found that Nigeria is responsible for the third largest group of asylum claims in the UK from people leaving their homeland because of anti-LGBTQ discrimination and danger.
The Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, has railed against the inclusion of LGBTQ Anglican bishops in gatherings such as the Lambeth Conference, writing in his March letter to GAFCON that
…faithful Anglican bishops from North and South America are excluded, while those who tear the fabric of the Communion by word and deed are welcomed.
Okoh recently concluded his term at the Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, and is succeeded in the position by Archbishop Foley Beach of ACNA, who has been invited to Lambeth as an observer.
On the other side of the story, the Revd Jide Macaulay is a gay activist and Anglican who founded the House of Rainbow church center in Nigeria, but was forced to leave the country after public backlash and death threats. He continues to support the LGBTQ church community in Nigeria, and reestablished the House of Rainbow in London, where, among other services, it offers counsel and support to LGBTIQ asylum seekers.
Macaulay is to be ordained a priest in the Church of England at the end of June.