Gay Bishop: Severance of Ties With US Anglicans Final - Akinola

The decision of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to severe relationship with its American counterpart to protest the recent consecration of Canon Gene Robinson, a confessed homosexual, as bishop of New Hampshire, is irrevocable as it has received the official stamp of the House of Bishops.

The primate of the Nigerian Church, the Most Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola, who is the arrowhead of worldwide condemnation of the consecration had announced the decision to severe relationship, saying the modalities will be worked out in due course.

After a series of closed meetings first by the archbishops and later by the House of Bishops in Port Harcourt on Saturday, the highest decision making body of the Anglican Church in Nigeria resolved to endorse the action of the primate thus far.

It also resolved to give the primate who was recently elected the new president of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) the mandate to pursue the course to a logical conclusion.

An 8-paragraph communique issued at the end of the Port Harcourt meeting and signed by the primate on behalf of all the bishops stated as follows: "The House of Bishops, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), met in July 2003, under the Divine Guidance of God and under the leadership of the Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan, Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola, and proposed a resolution supporting all the actions he had taken and others that he will take on the vexing issue of human sexuality as it relates to homosexuality.

"We bishops of the Church of Nigeria, on behalf of ourselves and over 17 million Anglicans in Nigeria, warned the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) that we shall never support its intention to ordain and consecrate an openly gay priest, Gene Robinson, into the episcopate.

"Regrettably, our call and those of the over 80 per cent of the global Anglican Church were disrespectfully ignored and the Anglican Church in America went ahead to consecrate the said Gene Robinson on November 2, 2003. By this unfortunate action, they have departed from the faith, order and unity of the Anglican Church. They have impaired Communion.

"We, bishops of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, meeting at St. Cyprian's Church, Port Harcourt, on November 15, 2003 condemn in its totality this consecration. We and our people will not recognize Gene Robinson and his ministry as bishop.

"We continue to stand solidly behind the leadership of the Church of Nigeria in breaking relationship not only with the Diocese of New Hampshire but with all the bishops and dioceses in ECUSA that have joined in this divisive and unscriptural act.

"We equally affirm our commitment to the decisions taken at our Theological and Liturgical Conference held in Abuja in July, 2003.

"We also renew our mandate that the Primate should continue to act on our behalf as the cases of ordination or consecration of people who are openly gay to holy orders emerge in any part of the Communion in the future.

"We pledge our support and common commitment to the churches or dioceses in ECUSA and other areas of the world that stand firm with the truth of the Bible and maintain the Biblical faith, practice and order of the Anglican Communion as handed over to us by the saints.