THE Church of Nigeria has deleted all former references to "communion with
the See of Canterbury" and has "redefined" its relationship with all other
Anglican Churches, in a re-worded constitution announced at the Church's
General Synod in Onitsha, Nigeria, last week.
It will now be in communion only with those who share the view that it
regards as orthodox. A new section of the constitution reads: "The Church of
Nigeria (Anglican Communion), hereinafter called 'The Church of Nigeria' or
'This Church', shall be in communion with all Anglican Churches, Dioceses and
Provinces that hold and maintain the historic faith, Doctrine, Sacrament and
Discipline of the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as the Lord has
commanded in His holy word and as the same are received as taught in the book
of Common Prayer and the ordinal of 1662 and the Thirty-Nine Articles of
Nigeria announced its intention earlier this year to form a Convocation of
Anglican Nigerian Churches in America as a "safe harbour" for Nigerian
Anglicans who felt unable to worship in the US Episcopal Church (
News, 15 April). That is now enshrined in the new constitution, which
allows the Church of Nigeria to create "chaplaincies of like-minded faithful
outside of Nigeria and to appoint persons within or outside of Nigeria to
administer them and the Primate shall give Episcopal oversight". Convocation is
defined as a "non-geographic collection of Churches and Mission".
The C of E House of Bishops' statement allowing gay clergy to register civil
partnerships while requiring from them a pledge of celibacy, continues to be
interpreted by Nigeria and other conservative provinces as approval of same-sex
News, 16 September).
The Archbishop of South East Asia, the Most Revd Yong Ping Chung, speaking
at the Nigerian Synod on "The Changing Face of the Anglican Communion",
announced: "I am not going to let my pulpit get defiled by people who don't
accept the gospel."
The Church of Nigeria press release reporting the Archbishop's speech
explained: "He was referring to a section of the Anglican Communion,
particularly the American and Canadian Churches and lately the Church of
England, who condones and approves homosexual marriage."