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A statement from Archbishop Peter J. Akinola

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 • 10:57 am

A statement from Archbishop Peter J. Akinola

I have received news of the proposed consecration of Canon Bill Atwood as Suffragan Bishop of All Saints Cathedral Diocese, Nairobi, in the Anglican Church of Kenya, to serve Kenyan related congregations in North America. Canon Atwood has worked tirelessly throughout the Communion for the sake of the Gospel and is well known to many of us in the Church of Nigeria.

This action demonstrates a growing recognition by Anglican provinces in Africa that the situation in North America continues to deteriorate because of the intransigence of the leadership of The Episcopal Church. This was made most evident by the response of their House of Bishops to the carefully crafted Primates’ Dar es Salaam Communiqué. We cannot sit quietly by while those who continue steadfastly in the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’ are denied adequate pastoral care and made the targets of pernicious lawsuits.

We look forward to working with Archbishop Nzimbi, Bishop-elect Atwood and this new pastoral initiative from the Anglican Church of Kenya. We pledge our ongoing prayers and enthusiastic support and cooperation through CANA – a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria already established in North America.

It should be noted that there are now more than 250 congregations in North America related to Global South provinces through a growing number of missionary and pastoral initiatives.

Our heartfelt desire continues to be that the Anglican Communion will find a way to move forward together. This can only happen, however, with a Common Faith lived out within the context of an agreed Communion discipline. We continue to pray that The Episcopal Church will heed the call to repentance and make a positive response to the request of the Primates’ in Dar es Salaam.

We continue to offer our prayers for all leaders in the Communion during these challenging times.


24 Comments • Print-friendlyPrint-friendly w/commentsShare on Facebook

I share Archbishop Akinola’s expressed “heartfelt desire… that the Anglican Communion will find a way to move forward together… in the context of an agreed Communion discipline.”  And I also share his hope that the Episcopal Church will “make a positive response” to the primates’ requests at Dar es Salaam.

I view it as encouraging that +Akinola continues to express a desire to come to a mutually-agreed upon Communion discipline.  It is, of course, somewhat difficult to know how actions that seem to be ordered toward other goals (or could be interpreted as such) serve the end of Communion discipline.  But perhaps it is the case that +Akinola genuinely does intend us to view CANA and other initiatives as temporary stopgap measures within the larger Covenant process of the Instruments of Communion.  I hope that is the case.  Of course, if that is so, then his views about Communion order and discipline would not apparently be shared by Dr. Stephen Noll, Fr. Kennedy, and others.

[1] Posted by Jordan Hylden on 06-13-2007 at 11:26 AM • top

“[H]is views about Communion order and discipline would not apparently be shared by Dr. Stephen Noll, Fr. Kennedy, and others?”

Why not?

My read of these gentlemen is that they would love for the Communion to discipline ECUSA and love for CANA et al. to be stopgap measures, just as Archbishop Akinola says.  It’s just that they’ve come to the conclusion they’re more likely to win the lottery than for that discipline to happen.  Let’s not confuse preferences with judgments about likely outcomes.

[2] Posted by Phil on 06-13-2007 at 11:38 AM • top

That’s right Phil.

I would say that I agree with Dr. Noll that the Communion does need to decouple from Canterbury in order to remain viable. Otherwise the invitational decisions of one man will continue to determine the health of whole body.

But if what you suggest were to occur, real discipline, I would certainly favor staying in and working within the system to accomplish reform. And, that, I think is ++Nigeria’s point

[3] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 06-13-2007 at 11:44 AM • top

++Akinola’s is being very measured with his words. At times I find him very bombastic, but here he’s very subtle. I think Jordan is reading into it what he wants and Matt+ is what he wants (Phil is just stating a premise).

I do think our passions can run farther than what is actually there (I’m also chief culprit), but it may behoove us to move with a tad cation less we are let down by our own expectations. ++Akinola did give us more words to ponder than ++Orombi so understand the fun of trying to piece this puzzle together, but best to look at what is actually said.

[4] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 06-13-2007 at 11:55 AM • top

It has been shocking to realize that the entire Communion rests on the invitations issued by one man, particularly one appointed by the Prime Minister of a largely secular country.  Perhaps that is something else that is going to be changed by the will of God.  Please be patient!

[5] Posted by T Chapman on 06-13-2007 at 11:55 AM • top

It’s my prayer that something substantial comes out of the ACI/Fulcrum/orthodox bishops “summit” that will be held soon(I think at Oxford). 

It will be a lot of brain power in one room.  I wait with interest. 

Jordan, are you going to that as a fellow at First Things? 



[6] Posted by Orthoducky on 06-13-2007 at 12:47 PM • top

Matt and Hosea:

Agreed; I’m not precisely sure what +Akinola meant, but then how could I be?  The notable thing, I thought, was that his statement did at least point in the direction of Communion decision-making, and followed the Dar es Salaam communique by expressing hope that ECUSA would choose to walk together with the rest of the Communion.  And that does seem to be operating in an Instruments of Communion oriented direction.  It’s not quite the same thing as saying, “Well, since it’s a foregone conclusion anyway, and since the very idea of a Canterbury-based communion is bad to start with, we ought to pull out now, and the sooner the better.”

I don’t know if that’s what he meant; you’re right to say that it’s what I hope he meant.  But there’s reason for it.  +Akinola wouldn’t have had to include that language in the press release—it would have been quite easy to either make no reference, or to say something vague and along the lines of “now is the time for action”, or to criticize Canterbury outright, all of which many people are now doing.  I thought it would be most interesting if it turned out that +Akinola himself didn’t share the same assumptions, methods, and goals as many people here on this website.  Perhaps I’m reading too much between the lines, but I thought it was a point worth making.


Yup, I’ll be at Oxford.  Looking forward to it immensely.  It’s my hope that my reporting from that point onward will have greater depth than it does now.

[7] Posted by Jordan Hylden on 06-13-2007 at 01:23 PM • top

Jordan Hylden,
My hope is the same as yours. If the conservative movement removes itself from Canterbury, I for one will be lost and don’t know where I’ll go. It took me five years of prayer and soul-searching to leave Rome, and I’ve only been Anglican for five years. Sigh…..

For conservative Christians like me, it’s NOT a matter of focusing on one man, whether that be a pope or archbishop. It’s being a part of a church with a rich history tied to an ancient See, with all of the scholars, martyrs, history, and yearnings of a people that go with it. One of my early family members was an archbishop of Canterbury. I can’t easily turn my back on that as it would deny a part of myself. Schism is not a good thing, even for the best of reasons.

Yes, I value the African voices, the fervor and insight they bring to the Church. We need them to renew the church; we need them to be prominent with the other faithful voices, such as N.T. Wright, and not divided from them. We are stronger that way.

If the choice becomes TEC or a new confederation, I guess I’ll be a stay-at-home Christian.

[8] Posted by teatime on 06-13-2007 at 02:51 PM • top


Thanks for those reflections.  I’m assuming that you’re in the C of E.  So I’m curious—over on another thread, I was trying to make the point that many Americans tend to have an overly negative view of the state of the English church, probably since we see the world through ECUSA-tinted glasses.

What do you think?  How do things stand in the Church of England from where you’re sitting?  I myself tend to be reasonably upbeat about it, although obviously it isn’t all tea and crumpets.

[9] Posted by Jordan Hylden on 06-13-2007 at 03:00 PM • top

My hope is the same as teatime’s and Jordan’s.  Again, I have great expectations for the conference at Oxford. 

Jordan, I look forward to the fruits of your busy pen.  But, puh-leeze, it’s not as if your reporting lacks depth NOW. 


As I’ve said before, and based on Archbishop Akinola’s words here, the bottom line is that there’s a lot of “horse trading” going on behind the scenes.  Trashing the AB of C, ACI, or whoever is completely counterproductive.  “Eating our young” or each other won’t help any of this, and all my prayers are with the process. 

Meanwhile, those who need relief or safe haven are also in my thoughts.  Someday, I believe it will all be worked out.  Take heart, everyone, I speak as someone who was run out on a rail from my home in a revisionist diocese.  So much for its M.O., because I’m glad to go and will be better off anyway. 

Peace and Blessings,


[10] Posted by Orthoducky on 06-13-2007 at 03:05 PM • top

Although the ABC’s actions have provided sufficient grounds for dismay, logically it is unecessary to make conclusions or act until we know of his actions and words in the primates’ meeting following the HoB meeting.  I sense this perspective in the following:

Our heartfelt desire continues to be that the Anglican Communion will find a way to move forward together. This can only happen, however, with a Common Faith lived out within the context of an agreed Communion discipline.

If the ABC acts in the primates’ meeting to thwart any meaningful discipline of TEC following a continuation of its earlier patent rejections of DES, then we will know more upon which we can base future action. 

FWIW - the (not quite honest) subgroup report, the early issuance of invitations, the moribund PoR, the parsing of words, the silence about persecution and innovative theologies(?) within the US, not to mention partisan appointments of westerners to the ACO - IMHO, these all appear to be ordered to goals quite different from a conciliar, agreed, Communion discipline.

[11] Posted by tired on 06-13-2007 at 03:07 PM • top


Many thanks.  grin  I’m much agreed with everything you say here.  Earlier I think I mentioned that I had the good fortune of meeting J.I. Packer, and talking with him a bit about what’s going on in Anglicanism.  Among other things, he emphasized how important it is for all of us to respect each other’s decisions as brothers and sisters in the faith.  We may be called in different directions in the coming months, and none of us less in obedience to Christ for it.

[12] Posted by Jordan Hylden on 06-13-2007 at 03:14 PM • top

+Akinola and +Orombi have consistently stated that they view the US initiatives as temporary stopgap measures.

They have always indicated they would prefer for a permanent solution to be found within Instruments of Communion.  But for that to happen, others within the Communion need to understand that the AC is not the most important thing to these leaders, and that they will not remain indefinately in an Canterbury led Communion if it means sacrificing their witness, or abandoning what Akinola+ refers to as souls in the balance. 

Nigeria and Uganda, will not be alone in staying home if the invitations are not changed.  This situation can be very simply avoided by TEC reversing itself by Sept. 30, or the ABC rescinding invitations to the offending Bishops on the basis of their rejection of the Communique and decision to walk apart.

[13] Posted by Going Home on 06-13-2007 at 03:20 PM • top

Alas, I am an American and member of TEC. However, England is my favorite place on Earth and I’m blessed with the best of friends there, so I visit often and annually for extended holidays. I was in the process of emigrating to live and teach in England when a debilitating illness struck; so those plans are on hold in hopes of remission.

I have worshiped in several C of E churches, have always been welcomed, and have enjoyed beautiful liturgy and sound preaching. It’s a curious thing, and I can only speak as an American visitor, but to me the C of E seems like an eccentric aunt to whom some are devoted, others are rather disdainful but most regard fondly and can’t imagine the loss if she were to die. She is an integral part of Englishness and rather taken for granted. I think disestablishment would do much for raising up disciples rather than acquiescing with subjects.

It always tugs at my heart to see a venerable old church in its current use as an auction house or retail establishment; however, scholarship reminds that so many churches were created for “livings” in times gone by that even in the best of times there would be no need for all of them. I’ve enjoyed many well-attended services in England in a variety of churches and think that more than a spark for the old faith remains. I am impressed at the way the C of E is seeking people where they live and offering programs in a variety of venues, including the Internet. Disestablishment would fan those flames, IMO.

Honestly, I think the C of E has weathered the times better than an established American church would have, if Americans can imagine such a thing.


[14] Posted by teatime on 06-13-2007 at 03:32 PM • top

It certainly sounds like good news.  I pray thoughtful communion and cooperation will be the rule of the day so that down at the pew and outreach level, what eventually becomes apparant is received with joy because of the obvious greater good that it represents.

[15] Posted by Capt. Father Warren on 06-13-2007 at 03:35 PM • top

Thanks, Teatime.

[16] Posted by Jordan Hylden on 06-13-2007 at 04:26 PM • top

...“or the ABC rescinding invitations to the offending Bishops on the basis of their rejection of the Communique and decision to walk apart”.

Yeah, obviously starting with the Bishop of Newark.  Check out their “presentation” to Executive Council over on Kendall’s blog.  Through Spong’s tenure to now, that diocese has lost over half its membership.  So much for the true success of the “gospel of inclusion”...

Tired’s post above is well-taken.  Those are all behaviors to keep an eye on.  I’m hopeful and don’t yet draw such a hard line as Matt, and believe in exhausting Communion alternatives prior to possibly splitting up the whole thing and creating a See in the Global South.  But, in the long run, I too may have no time for dithering and/or apostasy….



[17] Posted by Orthoducky on 06-13-2007 at 05:26 PM • top

Given Akinola’s previous actions and words, I have a hard time taking this

Our heartfelt desire continues to be that the Anglican Communion will find a way to move forward together. This can only happen, however, with a Common Faith lived out within the context of an agreed Communion discipline. We continue to pray that The Episcopal Church will heed the call to repentance and make a positive response to the request of the primates’ in Dar es Salaam.

with any degree of true seriousness.

But then, much as I dislike Robinson, I don’t trust Akinola and don’t think that it’s any surprise that The Living Church said that it was not likely that entire dioceses such as Fort Worth et. al. would flock to him for oversight.

[18] Posted by Vintner on 06-13-2007 at 05:27 PM • top


Without comment -

[19] Posted by Clann Donald on 06-13-2007 at 06:32 PM • top

I will admit that I am no theologan nor church historian, but it seems to me that certain recent events are extremely important and others, although much talked about, far less important.

For example, surely it is VERY IMPORTANT that ++Nigeria, ++Uganda, ++Kenya and others are consistently and repeatedly affirming that orthodox Anglicans in North America must and will receive adequate pastoral care, and that these lawsuits are a terrible thing and should stop.

Far less important and IMHO greatly overanalyzed: Who is ultimately invited to that Tea Party at Lambeth, and who goes and who does not go.

Perhaps it is also overly pessimistic to assume that TEC will win all lawsuits.

[20] Posted by rkreed on 06-13-2007 at 10:59 PM • top

FWIW, I think Teatime’s original post expresses the views of many Canadian Anglicans.  I, for one, will quite likely become a stay-at-home Christian if it comes down to a choice between a TEC North and some new federation. I will just have to try to find (increasingly difficult these days) a validly consecrated eucharist somewhere in my Diocese 4 times a year and wait for things to sort out.

[21] Posted by jobeena on 06-13-2007 at 11:11 PM • top

Smuggs:  Why do you dislike Robinson?  Have you met him?  Had a conversation with him?  I have done both and find him a very affablee and likeable fellow albeit someone who is living in self-denial.  Many “good” people have chosen the world and culture over God’s Word and promises.  His consecration was tragic and his theology is tiwsted - but I sure can’t say that I dislike him

[22] Posted by DaveG on 06-14-2007 at 08:50 AM • top

DaveG, in another posting, albeit not this one, I made a comment that I disliked the words and actions of both Robinson and the words and actions of these primates who are assuming authority that they neither have nor have they been given.  I did not put it that way on the posting on this thread and should have.  Aside from his words and actions, Robinson has caused my family, who has met and talked with the man, no small amount of grief and I can honestly say that I have no desire at this point to meet him much less talk to him.  God may one day grant me that ability but my fear is that if I saw him, I would not accept His strength to temper my words.

[23] Posted by Vintner on 06-15-2007 at 08:14 AM • top

Someone please let me know if I am overlooking something:  As well as I can see the situation is that ECUSA’s leadership has tossed the Bible and all its doctrines and implications out the window.  All they have left is the non-intervening theoretical “God” whose actual attributes are subject to committee approval.  Technically, they have thus devolved to the point of the pre-Christian skeptics and cynics.  While there are a few working priests who do hold to some form of the orthodox Faith, even then the greater part would be hard-pressed to defend such basic truths as are still proclaimed in the liturgy, and the place of Holy Scripture in the real world.  In short,  the ECUSA has declared itself apostate, though rabidly defending its faithfulness to a “truth”  it redefines to fit the occasion.  All this, in combination with the current failure of “Evangelicalism” to effect a real change in a society where 80+% of the people are “evangelical” and the biggest businesses are drugs, sexual exploitation, and, I think, gambling, and we have to conclude that the US is more a mission field than a missionary.  By the Lord’s grace there are some who care more for the soul than the consensus, for the truth and glory of God than appearances and politics.  I would venture that whether we are talking about primates who were invited by desperate parishes & dioceses for help in maintaining their continuity in ministry, or others who simply saw the mess over here and have done what little they could to help, we need to stop the sniping, reflect on our own place before God in His kingdom economy, and take those hands that are being extended in the fellowship of Christ.

[24] Posted by Robert Easter on 06-15-2007 at 12:25 PM • top

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