Thursday, December 21, 2006

Anglican Archbishop writes to new CANA Congregations

A Letter of Greeting from Archbishop Peter Akinola
to the congregations who have recently joined CANA
December 19, 2006 - Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our only Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bishop Martyn Minns has informed me of your courageous decision to separate yourselves from The Episcopal Church and become part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

This action demonstrates your desire to stay faithful to the Gospel of Christ and to remain firmly connected to the world-wide Anglican Communion through this Convocation, a mission initiative of the Church of Nigeria. I welcome you to our family.

Sadly, I have also heard that some are suggesting that you are now affiliated with a Church that seeks to punish homosexual persons. That is a distortion of our true position. We are a Church that teaches the truth of the Holy Scriptures and understands that every person, regardless of their religion or sexual orientation, is made in the image of God, loved by God, and deserving of the utmost respect. That is the conviction that informs our passion for evangelism and drives our determination to establish new dioceses and congregations. We have no desire to place anyone outside the reach of God's saving love and that is why we have supported well reasoned statements such as Resolution 1.10 from the Lambeth Conference in 1998 and also the section of the Dromantine Communiqué, which condemns the "victimization or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex."

As I am sure you have heard, there is a bill currently being debated by the Nigerian Legislature that addresses the topic of same-sex marriages and homosexual activism. The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria, in its desire to see the strengthening of marriage and family life in our society, has commended the legislators for tackling this difficult issue. We have no desire to see our nation follow the path of license and immorality that we have witnessed in other parts of the world. And we also oppose the severe sanctions of Islamic law.

We recognize that there are genuine concerns about individual human rights that must be addressed both in the framing of the law and its implementation. I am glad to inform you that while the Honorable Speaker of the House, a Moslem, wanted the immediate and outright passage of the bill, the Deputy Speaker, an Anglican, persuaded his colleagues to allow full public debate on it.

I am troubled, however, by the silence of outside commentators concerning the rights of the clergy, Christians, and particularly converts to our Church whose lives are threatened and too often destroyed because of mob violence. I see no evidence of compassion for those whose rights are trampled on because of the imposition of unjust religious laws in many parts of the world. There seems to be a strange lack of interest in this issue.

We are concerned about eternal destiny and the need of every person to know the saving love of God. We preach a Gospel for all people that not only offers welcome but also the promise of transformation. We are delighted that you share these convictions with us and look forward to mission and ministry together with you in the coming years.

To God be the Glory — great things He has done . . . and is doing!

The Lord be with you.
+Peter Abuja,
The Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, D.Div.

10 comments:

mdlawlib said...

Peter Akinola writes: "I am troubled, however, by the silence of outside commentators concerning the rights of the clergy, Christians, and particularly converts to our Church whose lives are threatened and too often destroyed because of mob violence. I see no evidence of compassion for those whose rights are trampled on because of the imposition of unjust religious laws in many parts of the world. There seems to be a strange lack of interest in this issue." He is so right on this issue. His fellow Christians are being slaughtered in Darfur and no one seems to care that what can only be called a Holocaust is happening. And has anyone paid any attention to what is happening to the Christians in the Palestian controlled West Bank and Gaza? It's not pretty.

mdlawlib said...

Whoops, it's the end of the day for me, that should have Palestinian

kevin said...

Mdlawlib:

I'm going to take exception to your post, however in the view of misdirected 'friendly fire.' Nigeria is troubled land, it's government is only recently protecting it's people. There is much persecution in the north, some times it's more benigh like on Friday after the worship all the muslims go onto the highway and sit down to gind everything to a hult on their sabbith, other times more violent. Sharia law is established in the north, but under the federal court system, so often a death sentense (for sexual acts or religious conversion) is appealed to their Supreme Court where it's over ruled, however vigilante enforcement is not investigated.

Yahoo! News for Nigeria headlines (doesn't matter the day, it's always troubled in some way or another)

U.S. State Dept. Nigeria

CIA Worldfact Book Nigeria

Now the points you raised are VERY good ones. There are many act of religious pursecution going on right now. Darfur is an odd one, it's Arab muslin violance on Black African muslin, the Southern Sudan is at relative peace (THANK GOD!) even with John Garang's death. Your point about Palestine is well taken, you should add Iraq and Pakistan. Five years ago mobs were on a remote Indonesian island and few cared (but an odd car ride with Sec. Powell was arrange by God).

Nigeria makes the list of most persecution, but North Korea has top the list for many years. Some NGO are:

Voice of the Martyrs

International Christian Concern

Human Rights Watch

This post is in NO way to sound condescending, I was ignorant of much till I connected with a very strange group of people who cared deeply about Freedom of Religion and began to learn about this stuff. Sept. of '04, I listen to a guy at an IGE conference who held a thriteen page paper from a Sunni cleric in Iraq with two pages denouncing Christians, two pages denouncing Jews and seven denouncing Shiites - two years later I think I'm seeing the fruits of his hatred.

Intstitute for Global Engagement

Is a link you might appreciate, they are Christian, but they claim to be the "radical middle," because they catch grief from both the right and the left and annoy everyone.

I might comment of ++Akinola's letter latrer, Religious Freedom is kind of a personal drive with me (like the unborn are a passion to BB)

Some of the people you can blame are in this photo.

Anonymous said...

While he recognzies that there a genuine concerns about individual human rights...

I'm curious what individual human rights he supports for Gays. Or people at Truro / Falls Church for that matter.

It only took about 5,000+ articles in the US and UK to get that weak statement that doesn't directly oppose the legislation. And don't tell me he/his staff doesn't read the newspaper. What took so long?

I'm afraid that this may be a PR stunt by Akinola designed to say one thing in the USA and another in Nigeria. I challenge you to prove me wrong. A good way to do so is to show me where Akinola makes his press release visible and published in NIGERIA.

Oddly enough, he chose to add a extraneous comment about violence against Christians. I read that as him saying 'your concern about my published support for this law is not really important'.

Maybe if Akinola were really serious about his letter, he would refrain from(and apologize for) using terms to describe Gay people as 'a Satanic Attack on the Church'. In addition to being a highly inflammatory (some may say violence provoking) comment, it seems to be in violation of Dromantine Communique that he referred to in his clarification. I don't think that reasonable people will see this as a 'biblical' attack.

Anonymous said...

Well Anon:

I don't think ++Akinola has anything to apologise, see he discribed an action & it's push for exceptance as a "Satanic" attack. Well the Bible is full of passages that discribe calling what is wrong to be right as an offense or an attack. I believe reasonable people can delineate between an action and an individual, also not recognize exaggerated figures.

I believe individual human rights he supports for Gays, Or people at Truro / Falls Church for that matter are the same for adulterer, fornicator and other living in their sinful broken natures. Beloved creature who are behaving poorly, whom Jesus died, but loves too much to let them live in their brokeness.

mdlalwib said...

Kevin,

I in no way meant to downplay the serious of the situation in Nigeria. I sincerely apologize to you if that is how it came off. I know we have had our differences of opinion on this site, but I really respect your point of view and share your passion for freedom of religion. I was trying to make the point that we in the West are ignoring the horrors of what is happening to people of faith all over the globe. And Peter Akinola was right to chide us for that failure, because we are failing.

Sadly, the list of where people of faith are being persecuted is so long I don't even know where to start. Right now in France Jews are being attacked by Arab immigrants. The police have told the Jewish community to stop wearing anything that would identify them as Jewish becuase the police can't protect them. There was just a nasty incident in the Netherlands.

Again Kevin, I am sorry, I really was not ignoring the situation in Nigeria. Akinola's point really hit home with me. However, I should have been explicit in saying that his situation is also terrible and is being ignored by those of us in the West.

kevin said...

MdLawLib:

Also my apologies for misreading the meaning of your post. In the words of my Biology teacher when we arrived late, I have to use I truly regret this (becuase if we were truly sorry we'd not arrive late for her class again).

Sadly as the post immediately after mine shows why I have a sensitive trigger on the subject. I agree with the way you represented your ideas, I'm not sure if the first Mr. Anon gets its though.

Blessings,
Kevin

mdlawlib said...

I should also add to those of you who are still attacking Akinola over the bill in the Nigerian Parliament, enough is enough. He had the guts to write the letter explaining his position. I seriously doubt any of the Muslims in Nigeria would write such a letter to their American Co-Religionists. I too was a skeptic. However, Akinola has done what those of us who were concerned about the human rights issues had wanted him to do, he addressed our concerns. I don't think he could have been any clearer. And given the situation in Nigeria, it could not have been an easy thing for him to do.

As a non-Christian my real concern here was the part of the bill that would have made meetings and conversations on the issue of homosexuality, along with homosexual behavior in private, illegal. That provision would put most of us on this blog in jail. The letter has led me to understand that Peter Akinola gets my concerns. I have gained great respect for him based on his letter. And I apologize to him and to all of you for believing the worst.

mdlawlib said...

Kevin,

I completely understand why you would be so sensitive, even when proven wrong, some people still refuse to get it!

I am very glad that I have found someone who shares my concerns about religious freedom around the globe. It is really a neglected issue and it so needs voices of passion like yours.

Blessings to you!

BabyBlue said...

mdlawlib, thank you so much for your comments. What a treasure.

For those who support the One Campaign and the MDGs as we do here at BabyBlueOnline, it would be a big step for the TEC leadership to show the same kind of charity and good will as mdlawlib has toward African Anglican leaders who are desperately trying to encourage real faith and true freedom in their countries, especially in the dark shadows of radical militant Islam. I am not sure how TEC can have credibility endorsing MDGs in Africa while spending the last six months vilifying the Anglican Christian leadership. Somehow, all this talk of MDGs rings hollow when in the next breath they spew all over one of the best leaders of the African Anglican Church. What it does say to me, is that they don't know him.

bb