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Akinola's latest fulminations
> Parishes join the exodus from the American Church
> The Church of England Newspaper, Friday October 13, 2000
> A steady stream of American churches are abandoning the Episcopal Church USA
> in favour of the Anglican Mission in America, established only six weeks ago
> by the Primates of Rwanda and South-East Asia.
> Under the leadership of the 'irregularly consecrated' Bishops Chuck Murphy
> and John Rodger, the AMiA already has 37 clergy and 21 member churches with
> the promise of more being added each week.
> Major disputes over property are expected in the coming months and years, as
> American parishes will fight to take their church buildings out of their
> existing dioceses. But the issues are not just domestic, leaders of the AMiA
> are seeking meetings with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Primates to
> ensure that they can remain in the Anglican Communion rather than go the way
> of the Continuing Churches into anonymity.
> The latest church to leave is Alabama's oldest Protestant parish, Christ
> Church in Mobile. Led by the Rev Dr Tim Smith, he said last week: "We firmly
> believe God has led us to take this step of faith. It is a much better fit
> for our conservative values."
> He explained: "Our paths have diverged. This summer at the annual convention
> in Denver, the Episcopal Church not only recognised that there are people
> living together in intimate relations outside of marriage, but resolved to
> offer support and encouragement to these relationships and affirm in them a
> 'holy love'.
> "We simply can't agree with that. The encouragement of lifestyles that are
> dearly contrary to Holy Scripture cannot be pleasing to God. We believe that
> Christianity should offer forgiveness and healing and not acceptance and
> affirmation of that which God's word deplores."
> The Anglican Church of Nigeria now looks more likely to support the fledgling
> Anglican Mission in America. The Standing Committee of the Church issued a
> communique "observing with dismay, the marginalisation of some bishops and
> congregations of the American [Episcopal] Church because of their faithful
> implementation of the Lambeth '98 resolution on human sexuality." Meeting
> last month they called for continuing dialogue by both sides, but warned that
> the "Church may employ Christian ways and means of ministering to persons,
> particularly Nigerians, [who are] subjected to oppression and/or
> marginalisation in their places of abode."
> In an interview with the conservative American journalist, the
> Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, asked of ECUSA, "How can you
> grow when you are obsessed with homosexuality".
> He said that he was dismayed that the thousands of Nigerian Anglicans in the
> US could not find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church. "We have lost
> more than 4,000 Nigerians to independent churches in the Diocese of Chicago
> alone. There is not an evangelical parish they could find. When Nigerians
> come to Episcopal Churches they hear nothing but sexuality issues and are
> treated coldly. Where there is different doctrine being taught, they leave."
> He said he was considering sending a Nigerian chaplain to Chicago and might
> even send a bishop. He said that while he would consult with the Presiding
> Bishop he would not be deterred if he met opposition. "The spiritual welfare
> of our people is more important than what one man says," he declared.
According to the EPISCOPAL CHURCH ANNUAL, there are 7,384 parishes in the
100 domestic dioceses of ECUSA. I grieve at the loss of any one of them,
but for only 21 to leave in the three months since GC does not, in my
view, constitute a 'steady stream.'
Not one of the 21 departures is a surprise. These have long been poised
to leave and would likely have left had GC done anything (or nothing) --
short of falling in salt, sackcloth, and ashes at their feet.
Imagine the outcry were ECUSA to send missionaries to protect ECUSA
emigrants to Nigeria from local 'heresies.' Bishop Akinola's arrogance
continues to astound me. I hope he is misrepresented in Andrew Carey's
When Bishop Akinola recently visited a conservative parish in our diocese,
he made very hateful comments, suggesting that lesbigays should have
millstones put around our necks. I have urged those close to Bishop
Akinola to facilitate conversations between the bishop and lesbigays; he
has bragged that he refuses to meet with us. Much of this rancor could
dissipate if we were to have a chance to tell of Jesus and his love in our