THE first Divine Conference organised by the Church of Nigeria has released a communiqué attacking David Cameron’s stance on gay rights.
The Divine Conference was billed by the Archbishop of Nigeria, the Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, as neither a synod nor a clergy conference, but a “new humanity, the ecclesia of God, the divine commonwealth of God”. It included seminars arranged on topics such as church-planting and women in ministry, yet its published position statement is strongly political.
It condemns Mr Cameron for his threat last month to cut aid to countries where homosexuality is illegal. Homosexual acts and gay marriages are already illegal in Nigeria, but a new draft law would also punish those who aid or abet such marriages, reports say.
The conference proclamation reads: “It is clear that his true agenda is to force the normalization of homosexuality and gay marriage as a ‘human right’. While acknowledging the sacred worth of every human being we reject this erroneous notion as contrary to God’s intention for humankind and harmful to those he claims to protect.
“Another implication of this is that the ‘Commonwealth of Nations’ is still being treated as a body of unequal partners, where, because of economic status, some nations are still vulnerable to manipulation. We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to resist any such intimidation on this matter.”
The proclamation also condemns ethnic violence in Nigeria against Christians, and calls for decisive action from its government.
Delegations from the UK and the United States attended the conference in the capital, Abuja, with 5000 other delegates, mostly from the Church of Nigeria.
Canon Chris Sugden, secretary of Anglican Mainstream and a Canon of Jos Cathedral in Nigeria, said that the conference was divided into Bible studies and seminars, with some plenary sessions and an evening revival hour.
“The Archbishop said it was not about policy or politics, but about reviving the Church, biblical teaching, holiness of living, and spiritual fellowship. There was a call for spiritual rejuvenation.”
The Revd Miles Toulmin, Assistant Curate of St Paul’s, Onslow Square, in the parish of Holy Trinity, Brompton, was one of the speakers at the event, in preparation for an Alpha conference in Nigeria next year.
It is intended that the Divine Conference will be an annual event.