THE Church of Nigeria's actions are poisoning the atmosphere in which the
Communion-wide reception of the Windsor report and the monitoring of the
listening process are taking place, says the Revd Colin Coward, director of
Changing Attitude, a pro-gay group.
In an open letter released this week, he asks the Archbishop of Canterbury
to bring recent events in Nigeria to the attention of the standing committee of
the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), which meets in London next month, and
to the councils of the Anglican Communion.
Since the setting up of Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN) in August 2005, the
Church of Nigeria's communications director, Canon Akin Tunde Popoola, has
variously alleged that its director, Davis Mac-Iyalla, was not a real person,
was not gay, was not Anglican, and was defrauding the Church of Nigeria of
money. In a press release in December, he issued warnings and serious
allegations of fraud against Mr Mac-Iyalla.
Canon Popoola has provided no evidence for his allegations. Mr Mac-Iyalla
has denied each one, and supported his denials with independently verified
evidence, Mr Coward writes. "Our understanding of the press releases is that
they were deliberately issued to undermine Davis's reputation and the work of
"The releases have partly achieved this, because they were accepted as true
in many reports. They have put Davis's life at serious risk, made people doubt
his integrity and credibility, and caused great anxiety among the CAN members
The Church of Nigeria has also given its support to the Bill approved by the
Federal Executive Council of Nigeria for an Act prohibiting marriages between
people of the same sex, the public show of same-sex amorous relationships, and
any person involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies, and
organisations, subject on conviction to a five-year prison term.
"We ask that attention be paid to those members of the Councils [of the
Anglican Communion] who are failing to honour the documents and statements
agreed by those Councils to listen to the experience of lesbian and gay people,"
Mr Coward's letter continues. "We ask that the Primates of the Anglican
Communion respect the dignity and integrity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender Anglicans, and oppose all legislation designed to curtail their
essential right to protection and freedom of association."
Lambeth '08 plans criticised
A meeting of the Global
South Primates' steering committee on 6 February put out a communiqué stating
that they continued to pray that ECUSA's General Convention in June, and the
Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod in June 2007, would provide "a
positive response" to the Windsor report: "otherwise we fear this conflict will
only worsen." They were further concerned that "the current design proposals
for the Lambeth Conference in 2008 do not appear to fully recognise the
seriousness of the crisis" in the Communion.