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Half a million driven from their homes by Boko Haram: The Church of England Newspaper, March 28, 2014 April 11, 2014

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The insurgency in Northeastern Nigeria waged by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram has forced nearly 500,000 people from their homes and threatens the stability of West Africa, U.N. High Commissioner for Human rights Navi Pillay has warned.  “With thousands of refugees fleeing from Nigeria, and arms and fighters reportedly flowing across international borders in the other direction, this terrible conflict is no longer solely an internal matter,” she said last week during a tour of the country. Human Rights Watch reports that 2014 is on track to becoming the deadliest year of the insurgency with 700 people reported  dead so far.  Speaking to the media following a service commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Archbishop Vinning Memorial Cathedral in Lagos on 8 March 2014, the Primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh warned that no one was safe, adding “As we pray for God to help this nation, we also call on the Federal Government to double their effort.” The Bishop of Lagos West, the Rt. Rev. James Odedeji added “government should take full responsibility of securing the life and property of its citizenry which it took an oath to do.”

Uganda plea to the CoE: The Church of England Newspaper, March 7, 2014 March 20, 2014

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The Primate of the Church of Uganda has urged the Church of England not to follow the Episcopal Church into the abyss by endorsing gay marriage or blessing gay unions.

The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali told The Church of England Newspaper that while the Church of Uganda “has had no discussions about breaking away from the Church of England or the Anglican Communion,” it was troubled by its apparent indecision over sin and sexuality.

“It’s true that the fabric of the Anglican Communion was torn at its deepest level in 2003 when the American Episcopal Church consecrated as Bishop a gay man living in a same-sex relationship. Not only was this against the Bible, but it went against the agreed position of the Anglican Communion. Our current concern is that the Church of England seems to be drifting rapidly in the same direction,” he said.

In a sermon delivered on 1 March 2014 the archbishop stated the Western churches appeared unaware of their double mindedness. “Many people have spiritual blindness but let us not mix issues. One hundred and thirty six years ago, the Church of England sent graduates from Oxford University to Africa to evangelise. America is a super power built on Christian principles… but in all this money is involved,” he said.

In a note of clarification to his sermon, the archbishop told CEN: “We are very grateful to them for sending missionaries who told us about the good news of Jesus Christ. Ironically, they seem now to be reversing themselves. Fortunately, we no longer need to be directed by them. We can read and interpret the Bible for ourselves, and we know what it says about sexual behaviour belonging between one man and one woman in holy matrimony.”

“Homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture, and no one in the leadership of the church can say legitimise same sex unions or homosexuality,” Archbishop Ntagali told AFP, urging the “governing bodies of the Church of England to not take the path advocated by the West”.

Last week the Church of Nigeria congratulated the Church of Uganda for standing strong against overseas pressure for it to accomodate Western cultural practices to its preaching of the Gospel. In a letter dated 21 Feb 2014, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria, commended the Church of Uganda for “uphold the authentic Gospel and the historic heritage of our Church, by rejecting the erroneous teaching and practice of homosexuality.”

Nigerian church support for sodomy laws: The Church of England Newspaper, February 21, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, Marriage.
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Faith leaders in Nigeria have unanimously applauded the revisions to the country’s sodomy law, and have denounced as imperialist, racist and condescending Western pressure to change the country’s attitude towards homosexuality.

Leaders of the Muslim community as well as the head of the country’s Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches applauded President Goodluck Jonathan for signing a law banning same-sex marriage, gay clubs and public displays of same-sex affection into law on 7 January 2014.

While overseas Catholic and Anglican leaders including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have expressed reservations about the new law, their Nigerian counterparts have endorsed the ban on gay marriage.

In an open letter written to President Jonathan published by the Catholic News Service of Nigeria, the press arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama called the new law “a bold and clear indication of the ability of our great country to stand up for the protection of the highest values ​​of the Nigerian and African cultures around the ‘ institution of marriage and the dignity of the human person, without giving in to international pressure to promote unethical practices of homosexual unions and other related vices. ”

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh stated his church also opposed the introduction of gay marriage into Nigeria. In a speech given at a banquet honouring retired Archbishop Peter Akinola, Archbishop Okoh was reported to have said the underlying issue was not homosexuality itself, but man’s rebellion against God’s law.

“Many people do not realise that what is referred to as the homosexual trouble is not the homosexual or lesbian trouble but people’s refusal to accept the Scripture for what it is, authority for life and practice following God.”

“In the beginning, man questioned the authority of God in the garden by saying did God actually say that you should not eat the forbidden fruit. That challenge to God’s authority dethroned God’s power and enthroned man’s power. So they concluded that God has no right to tell man what to do and that they were the people who knew what to do. So man set God aside and took over the command. Consequently, disaster followed,” he said according to Channels TV in Lagos.

The question for Nigeria was not merely government sanction for sexual sin, but the decision Adam and Eve faced in the Garden of Eden to defy God, he argued.

The controversy over gay rights and gay marriage in Nigeria has also been played out in the national legislatures of Uganda, Tanzania and Cameroon which are in the process of adopting laws banning gay marriage.

Both Nigerian prelates were sharply critical of overseas political pressure to adopt Western sexual mores.

Archbishop Kaigama  thanked President Jonathan for his “brave and wise decision” to sign the bill into law and prayed that God would protect his “administration against the conspiracy of the developed world to make our country and continent as a dumping ground for the promotion of all the unethical practices, that destroy God’s plan for man.”

Akinola kidnapped: The Church of England Newspaper, January 10, 2014 January 16, 2014

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Nigeria’s Archbishop Peter Akinola was kidnapped on Christmas Eve by armed gunmen on Christmas Eve, but was released unharmed after he refused to pay a ransom.

At approximately 3:00 pm on 24 December 2013, the former Primate of All Nigeria was “carjacked” outside of the offices of the Peter Akinola Foundation Centre for Youth Industrial Training in Abeokuta, the capital of Western Nigeria’s Ogun State. Shortly after his driver pulled onto the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, a car carrying four gunmen cut off the archbishop’s Toyota Primera and fired pistols into the air.

Their car was forced to the roadside and the gun forced the archbishop and his driver to lie face down on the floor of the back seat.  The car was driven west towards Nigeria’s border with Benin while the bandit who held the archbishop at gunpoint demanded a ransom payment. Archbishop Akinola told the bandits he was a retired clergyman and had not the means to pay ransom.

The kidnappers stopped in a deserted area near the Benin border and after stripping the archbishop and his driver of their clothes, released them into the bush unharmed.

In a Christmas Day interview with the Premium Times, Archbishop Akinola said after he wa released, he made his way through the bush to a road where he “saw a police vehicle coming and there were gunshots, and the police team later came to rescue me from the spot.”

The archbishop had high praise for the police and for Ogun Governor Ibikunle Amosun. “I have to praise them, and I appreciate the governor who left his work to the bush looking for us. It’s unprecedented for a governor to personally lead a team into the bush. He risked his life and yet he didn’t mind that. I’ am deeply touched and impressed,” he said.

Nigerian plea to keep politics out of church: Church of England Newspaper, November 15, 2013 November 14, 2013

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A stampede that killed 28 people at the close of a vigil at a Catholic festival in South Eastern Nigeria has led to calls from church leaders to ban politicians from canvassing voters at church services.

Details as to the cause of the sudden rush of the crowd at the Holy Ghost Adoration Camp Ground in Anambra State remain unclear. But at approximately 6:00 am on Saturday 2 November 2013 the crowd of 100,000 began to rush towards the exits, trampling scores of worshippers and killing 28.

The National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor , urged the Anambra governor Peter Obi to launch an inquiry into the tragedy. However, the chairman of CAN in South East Nigeria, the Anglican Bishop of Enugu,the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, said the federal government should investigate the disaster.

Leaders of the governor’s political party have called for the arrest of opposition candidate in the forthcoming gubernatorial election, Senator Chris Ngigie saying his comments to the crowd had caused the stampede – a charge the senator has denied.

Speaking to reporters after the disaster, Bishop Chukwuma said: “It is my own duty as CAN chairman, South East to ban all politicians from attending our churches with their teams for campaigns. The church should also steer clear of partisan politics because there are different kinds of people in the church that belong to different political parties.”

“So it is wrong to come into the church and begin to talk about manifestos. It is not going to be acceptable any more because it causes commotion and disrespect for one another.

“We appeal to bishops, priests, pastors and clergymen to please avoid politicians coming to use churches as campaign arena. This does not augur well for our spiritual growth.

“We therefore urge the Federal Government to set up a probe panel to find out what actually happened because we feel very much worried. Since the state government is involved, I think there should be a neutral body for the investigation,” Bishop Chukwuma said on behalf of CAN.

150 dead in Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria: Anglican Ink, September 22, 2013 September 23, 2013

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Over 150 people were killed in a series of terror attacks in northern Nigeria last week. On 17 September 2013 the Islamist militant group Boko Haram blocked the highway from Maiduguri to Damatura, killing 143 travelers, and on the 18th Boko Haram gunmen attacked two towns.

On the 17th, the terrorist group ambushed a military convoy on the Baga to Maidurguri highway. The army reports that an officer and 15 soldiers were killed in the attack, though local news sources report 40 soldiers dead and 65 missing. The ambush followed a clash between government forces and Boko Haram earlier in the week in Kafiya Forest in Borno State, which killed 150 Boko Haram fighters.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

Archbishop Kattey freed: Anglican Ink, September 15, 2013 September 15, 2013

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The Church of Nigeria’s number two man, the Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey has been freed, sources in Nigeria tell Anglican Ink.

The archbishop is understood to have been unharmed, but no details as to the events surrounding his release have been confirmed by the Church of Nigeria.

Read it all at Anglican Ink.

Archbishop kidnapped: The Church of England Newspaper, September 13, 2013 p 6. September 12, 2013

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The Archbishop of the Province of the Niger Delta, the Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, Bishop of Niger Delta North, has been kidnapped.

While driving to Port Harcourt to meet with the Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the archbishop and his wife Beatrice were stopped by gunmen in Eleme on 6 Sept 2013 at approximately 10:30 pm.  A Rivers State police spokesman told the News Agency of Nigeria the kidnappers forced the car from the road. They abandoned the vehicle and Mrs. Kattey and fled into the bush with the archbishop.

Kidnapping for ransom has reached epidemic proportions in southern Nigeria in recent years.  In September 2010, the Bishop of Ngbo, the Rt. Rev. Christian Ebisike was stopped at a roadblock as he was driving to Owerri. The next day the bishop was released by his abductors on the Ontisha – Owerri road.  It is not known if a ransom was paid.

On 24 Jan 2010 the Rt. Rev. Peter Imasuen, Bishop of Benin was also kidnapped at his home in Benin City, the capital of Edo State in Southern Nigeria.

Bishop Imasuen was abducted by armed gunmen who followed home after Sunday services at St Matthew’s Cathedral.  As his car entered the walled compound of his home, bandits forced their way inside, overpowering a watchman.  The bishop was bundled into a car by gunmen and driven away.  A ransom of £200,000 was demanded, and the bishop was released unharmed four days later.

The kidnapping of Archbishop Kattey has sparked outrage from the Nigerian newspapers, and is being seen as a symbol of the government’s inability to promote law and order.

Church of Nigeria will not pay ransom for kidnapped archbishop: Anglican Ink, September 10, 2013 September 12, 2013

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The Diocese of Niger Delta North will not pay a ransom for its kidnapped archbishop, the Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey – Dean of the Church of Nigeria and Archbishop of the Province of the Niger Delta.

At an 8 September 2013 press conference in Port Harcourt, the Ven. Richard Opara, president of the diocesan clergy council said that while no ransom demand had been received, the diocese would not negotiate with criminals.

“No contact has been made with the captors. We will not pay any ransom. Ransom payment is not in our dictionary. We are only asking for his unconditional release. We are not happy and the Church of Nigeria is weeping because the number two man has been taken away,” the archdeacon told the press conference.

First printed at Anglican Ink.

Anglican Archbishop kidnapped in Nigeria: Anglican Ink, September 7, 2013 September 7, 2013

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The Most Rev Ignatius Kattey

The Archbishop of the Province of the Niger Delta, the Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, Bishop of Niger Delta North, has been kidnapped.

On the evening of 6 Sept 2013 at approximately 10:30 pm while driving to Port Harcourt, the archbishop and his wife were stopped by gunmen in Eleme.  A Rivers State police spokesman told the News Agency of Nigeria the kidnappers abandoned the car and Mrs. Kattey and fled into the bush with the archbishop.  No demand for ransom has yet been received.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Nigeria’s Mothers’ Union rejects child marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, August 16, 2013 p 7. August 25, 2013

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The President of the Mothers’ Union of Nigeria has joined civil and women’s rights activists in the West African nation in denouncing the country’s senate for blocking a bill to that would have banned child marriages.

On 6 August 2013 Mrs Nkasiobi Okoh, president of the MU and wife of the primate Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, told a women’s Christian conference in Abuja Anglican women were “categorically” opposed to allowing child marriage.

The question of child marriage was brought before the legislature this month when the senate debated a series of constitutional amendments proposed by the Constitution Review Committee. A proposed amendment to Section 29 of the constitution states that a citizen must be of full age in order to renounce his or her citizenship, and clause 29(4)(a) clarifies that “full age” means 18 years or above; however, clause 29(4)(b) adds that “any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age.”

The Review Committee recommended striking the latter clause as discriminatory against women and the measure was approved by vote of 75 to 14, receiving the necessary two-thirds majority.

However on 28 July the Sunday Trust reported that Deputy Minority Leader Ahmed Sani Yerima objected to the removal of the clause as it implied that 18 years was the minimum age for marriage. He told the senate “under Islamic law, any woman who is married is of age, and if you say 18 years is the minimum age for marriage, then you are going against Islamic law.”

The senate voted to reconsider the amendment, which received only 60 votes in its second reading – 14 short of the two-thirds majority.

In a statement following the vote the NGO “Girls not Brides” said: “This does not mean that senators voted to legalize child marriage in Nigeria. The contentious clause has been part of the constitution since 1979, and its scope has always been limited to the question of renunciation of citizenship. However, the senators’ decision to retain the clause, particularly in view of the arguments that convinced them to do so, has been considered by many as an implicit legitimization of child marriage.”

The Child Rights Act adopted by the Senate in 2003 sets the minimum age of marriage at 18. However only two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states have endorsed it, and in some Muslim-majority states girls may be married as young as 12 years of age, “Girls not Brides” reports. And according to a UNICEF report, 39 per cent of Nigerian brides in 2000-2008 were under 18.

Mrs Okoh said Anglican women were opposed to child marriages, as they fostered the oppression of women and robbed girls of their future. “We have always been emphasising that girls should be trained, when they are trained, we are influencing not only their home, but the wider community, that is my belief and I know that, that is what our women believed,” she said, according to the Vanguard Newspaper.

Bible supports capital punishment, Archbishop declares: The Church of England Newspaper, July 21, 2013, p 7. July 18, 2013

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The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has reaffirmed the morality of capital punishment telling reporters last week the execution of convicted criminals by the state did not contravene Christian ethical teaching.

On 21 June 2013 four men were hanged in Benin, Edo State after they exhausted their appeals following their convictions for murder. In a statement signed by Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, president of the Nigerian Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the bishops described the executions as “a clear departure from modernity to savagery”.

“We believe that the actions aimed at reforming criminals will do better good to the society than capital punishment,” the Catholic archbishop said.

Overseas organizations led by Amnesty International also condemned the hangings. However Archbishop Okoh told reporters on 5 July 2013 “government should not allow anybody or organisation to teach it what morality is. The law of capital punishment for those who rightly deserve it should be enforced.”

The convicts executed last month were part of a criminal gang that had been found guilty of robbing a woman then raping and murdering her, the archbishop said. “Where is the human right of this woman? Meanwhile, the armed robbers involved had been executed, and people are crying for the human rights of the armed robbers,” he noted.

“Anybody who has degenerated to that level of depravity deserves capital punishment and it should be enforced,” said Archbishop Okoh, adding that it was “not true to say that punishment does not deter crime, it does.”

One of the duties of government is to administer justice. “Punishment must be effected and that is the essence of government, the Bible supports it, and the government cannot abdicate from punishing crime in the name of Amnesty International,” he said.

Anglican funeral for Chinua Achebe: The Church of England Newspaper, May 26, 2013 p 6. May 27, 2013

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Chinua Achebe

A tug-of-war over the body and reputation of Nobel laureate Chinua Achebe is underway Nigeria.

The Punch newspaper reports the Church of Nigeria has declined to turn over the remains of the author of Things Fall Apart — the most widely read book in modern African literature  – to the tribal leaders of the Ogidi community in Anambra State in the Niger Delta for burial.

The body of Prof. Achebe, who died on 21 March 2013 in the United States, is to be buried on 23 May 2013 in Ogidi.  President Goodluck Jonathan and other Nigerian leaders are expected to attend the ceremony at St. Philip’s Anglican Church. However Chief S. Okoli, the Regent of Ogidi, said that as Prof. Achebe was a “titled man” he would be buried according to Igbo customs, his body line state in a yam barn attended by “daughters of the clan” and buried at midnight.

However the novelist’s family said Prof. Achebe was a devout Christian and would have preferred a church burial. Nor would his wife be required to perform the tribal rituals for widow at the time of the death of her husband, the novelist’s niece Mrs. Ngozi Ezedum told Punch. The Church of Nigeria had abolished the “widowhood rites because they were repugnant to good conscience” she said, adding her aunt would not be required to shave her head, drink the water used to bathe her husband’s corpse, sit on the floor and sleep in the same room with the body until the funeral.

“She will not even wear any mourning clothes black or white. The Anglican Church doesn’t want that anymore,” Mrs. Ezedum said.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 72, May 18, 2013 May 18, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican.TV, Church of England, Church of Nigeria, The Episcopal Church.
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Episode 72 of Anglican Unscripted brings even more news about the Anglican Church (Communion) around the world. Kevin and George talk about stories from Tanzania and Nigeria, who are dealing with internal conflict and Muslim-on-Christian violence.

It is also time to give an update on the Temporary Same Sex Liturgies the Episcopal Church passed at General Convention last year and who is using them and who is not.
AS Haley updates all the major legal cases around the country and discusses the late breaking news from The Falls Church.

Peter Ould talks about the growing conflict and investigation in Jersey. It is hard to tell if the biggest issue is jurisdiction or lack of trasparency.
Finally, in the blooper real at the end of the episode (after the credits) one of our contributors reveals a hidden talent. #AU72 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

“No amnesty for Boko Haram” says the Church of Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, May 5, 2013 p 6. May 5, 2013

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The Archbishop of Nigeria Nicholas Okoh has warned that a blanket amnesty for the terror group Boko Haram would see Christians driven from Northern Nigeria. In a position paper prepared by the church in response to the creation of an amnesty commission by President Goodluck Jonathan, the archbishop warned that amnesty without reconciliation would not solve the problem.

“If the Federal Government goes ahead through the amnesty committee to make peace on BH’s terms, it would have inadvertently and effectively banned Christians and Christianity from the North. In the amnesty committee, who will speak for the right of the church, not to be tolerated, but as Nigerian Christians to exist side by side with Islam and Muslims, build churches, worship freely, move about freely without being hunted down with all sorts of weapons?,” said the document entitled “’The rough edges of the amnesty proposition”.

According to extracts published by the Vanguard newspaper on 29 April 2013 the Archbishop asked: “Will the amnesty committee ensure that Christians are not merely tolerated in the north but are allowed to live abundant life as Muslims as Christians do in other parts of the country?”

In the most recent clash between the Army and Boko Haram, aid agencies report 187 people were killed after two days of fighting in the town of Baga near the border with Chad.

£25 million raised for church youth work: Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 p 7. April 24, 2013

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Arthur Eze

A fund-raising dinner in Nigeria last month has raised over £25 million (Nairas 6 billion) for the St. Stephen’s Anglican Deanery and Youth Development Centre in Otuoke, in Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta region. Leading the list of donors was philanthropist and oilman Arthur Eze, who donated £7.8 million (1.8 billion Nairas) to fund the construction of the Anglican training institute, Forbes magazine reported.

Nigerian Pres. Goodluck Jonathan, whose hometown is Otuoke, told those attending the dinner that he was grateful for the gifts given by wealthy Nigerians to support the development of impoverished communities in their own country. Private philanthropy strengthened the nation and empower individuals. This will create an “opportunity for the younger ones to grow. Even if we die in the next 100 years, people will remember that those before them have something for them,” the president said.

Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013

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Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.

The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”

He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”

The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth.  It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”

When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”

“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.

The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”

The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”

“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.

Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.

“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”

But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” –  “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.

“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.

“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.

In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”

But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.

“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.

Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”

The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”

“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.

In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death.  God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones.  We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”

At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts.  We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”

“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it.  The tomb is empty.  The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated.  Jesus is alive.  In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life.  This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.

The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”

Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business.  That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”

“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat.   When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast.  Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter.  We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection.  We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people.  We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others.  We have a passion for justice.  We are also people of hope.  Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”

Soft judges encourage crime Archbishop warns: The Church of England Newspaper, February 17, 2013 p 7. February 22, 2013

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A two year prison term or an option of paying a fine of £3000 for stealing £9.3 million from the Nigerian Police Pension Fund was an invitation to politicians to steal, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh told members of the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee in Benin City last week.

On 6 Feb 2013 Archbishop Okoh said he was appalled by the lenient treatment given by the Abuja High Court to convicted thief John Yusuf. “Nigerians are unhappy with the kid-glove treatment given to a man who, by his act, must have killed many pensioners. It is a great encouragement to looters of government treasury. Whatever is responsible for such encouragement of evil, government should act promptly to show the people where its sympathy lies.”

The Washington, DC-based NGO, Transparency International, gave Nigeria a score of 27 out of a possible 100 in 2012, placing the country among the most corruption plagued countries in the world, earning the same score as Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan.

Denmark scored a 90 in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) edging out New Zealand for first place. Somalia edged out Afghanistan and North Korea to came in last of the 176 nations surveyed, scoring 8 on the CPI. Among the nations of West Africa, Nigeria ranked 14th while Cape Verde was ranked 1st in the region with a score of 60 and Ghana second with a score of 45. Africa’s highest ranking nation on the CPI was Botswana which was ranked 30th world wide with a score of 60.

The CPI ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 – 100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean.

While the government had taken steps in recent months to confront the terrorist violence of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria, “equal attention should be given to the insecurity created by armed robbers, kidnappers, and human trafficking across the country,” the archbishop said.

On 5 Feb 2013 the Archdeacon of Ogidi, the Ven. Obi Ubaka reported the vicar of Umunachi in Awka State had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom. The archdeacon said the Rev. James Achigbu and his wife were driving home from visiting a neighboring church when their car was stopped at a road block by a criminal gang.  The archdeacon reported the gang has demanded money, but the parish has stated it will not pay a ransom and has appealed to the kidnappers for the release of their priest.

In his address to the standing committee, Archbishop Okok called upon the government “to do more to address the sore issues of unemployment for young graduates and general poverty in the country.   In addition, we wish to advice government at all levels to make corruption unattractive to both the rich and the poor.”

A spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, responded to the archbishop’s call by noting the church’s role in transforming Nigeria. “The theme of the meeting, overcoming the challenges of the time is apt and divinely inspired. As leadership and representatives of the entire membership of the Church of Nigeria you will take up the challenge of re-invigorating the Church in the vanguard of our national transformation efforts,” Gov. Oshiomhole told the gathering.

Archbishop Adetiloye a foe of idolatry and corruption: The Church of England Newspaper, February 3, 2013 p 7. February 5, 2013

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Spiritual and material corruption was eating away at the hearts of the Christian Churches of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said last week, warning that the failure of Church leaders to live up to their callings was emblematic of the failure of Nigerian civil society.

In his eulogy for the late Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Joseph Adetiloye on 25 Jan 2013 at St Paul’s Church in Odo-Owa in Ekiti State, Archbishop Okoh told the mourners: “We are not here to help Archbishop Adetiloye but to help ourselves to see if we can realign with God and make a meaning of our life.”

Taking as his text 2 Timothy 4:7-8, the archbishop lambasted Prosperity Gospel preachers who taught false doctrine and used their ministries to enrich themselves.  “The church today is highly criticised because many of us who profess Christ are very poor images of Christ,” the archbishop said.

“It is a pity that we have become slaves to money; we have lost our dear moral values in the name of getting money,” he said, noting “teaching now centres around quick money, quick riches, and selfishness in the service of God.  People don’t want to serve, but to get reach quick through miracles,” he said.

The archbishop added that “rather than worshiping God, today most Christians worship money, and some other gods that are of no benefit to the growing of the Gospel and the spread of evangelism.”

The pursuit of wealth had even led to some Christians to “idol worshiping in the name of cultural reawakening,” he said.

The late Archbishop Adetiloye had lived an exemplary private life, Archbishop Okoh and had dedicated his ministry to growing the church and combating the infusion of pagan practices and secret societies into the life of the church.  Archbishop Adetiloye “waged war against augmenting the power of God with some other powers.”

Nigeria needed more men like Archbishop Adetiloye — a “courageous prophet of the church who was not afraid to speak the truth to the authorities and stood firm in it,” Archbishop Okoh said.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 64: February 3, 2013 February 4, 2013

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In this week’s episode of Anglican Unscripted your host discuss the adventure (misadventures) of Presiding Bishop Jefferts-Schori as she descended onto the city of Charleston last week. Allan Haley examines the legal details of the preemptive strike launched against TEC and Schori and how this battle was won. There is also much international news with stories on Egypt and Nigeria and no AU is complete without a story from Canterbury with Peter Ould – this time he talks about the coming wave of Same-Sex Marriage in England . Tweet #AU64 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

Archbishop Joseph Adetiloye of Nigeria dead at 82: The Church of England Newspaper, January 20, 2013 p 7. January 24, 2013

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The man who oversaw the rapid growth of the Anglican Church in Nigeria that saw the West African church become the largest province in the Anglican Communion in the 1990’s has died. Archbishop Joseph Adetiloye died suddenly at his home on 14 Dec 2012, his family reports. He was 83.

Born on Christmas Day in 1929 on a small farm in Ekiti State, the future archbishop lost his father at the age of 3 and worked on the farm as a child to help support the family.  At the age of 8 he won a place at an Anglican mission school and began the training that led to his ordination as a priest and election as second Bishop of Ekiti in 1970.  In 1985 he was translated to Lagos and in 1988 he was elected the second Archbishop of Nigeria, retiring in 1999. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference Archbishop Adetiloye was the behind the scenes leader of the conservative coalition that codified the Anglican Communion’s views on human sexuality as expressed in Lambeth Resolution 1.10.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan observed: “Archbishop Adetiloye will be long remembered for his zeal and passion for evangelism and planting of churches and his interest in not only the spiritual life of church members but also their education, health and economic well-being.”

Church of Nigeria threatens to break with Canterbury over gay British bishops: Anglican Ink, January 10, 2013 January 11, 2013

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Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

The Church of Nigeria will break with the Church of England should it appoint clergy living in gay civil partnerships to the episcopate.

In a statement released under the signature of the Archbishop of All-Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh at the close of the bishops’ annual retreat this week, the Anglican Communion’s largest church: “Sadly we must also declare that if the Church of England continues in this contrary direction we must further separate ourselves from it and we are prepared to take the same actions as those prompted by the decisions of The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada ten years ago.”

The 20 Dec 2012 announcement by the House of Bishops and clarification issued on 4 Jan 2013 that the church had ended its moratorium on the appointment to the episcopate of clergy who had contracted civil partnerships but who had pledged to remain celibate has sparked sharp criticism from within Evangelical ranks within the Church of England and from the overseas church.  The claim that clergy who had entered a relationship that mimics marriage for same-sex were living a godly and moral life by refraining from consummating the relationship left some archbishops nonplussed.

The African church’s objections were not to the appointment of men to the episcopate who had a same-sex sexual orientation, but to clergy who had contracted a gay civil partnership being appointed to the episcopate. The proviso that such relationships were celibate only when they involved the clergy of the Church of England was preposterous, one African bishop told Anglican Ink.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Terror attack at base chapel in Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, November 29, 2012 December 5, 2012

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Terrorists have attacked the base chapel at the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) in Jaji in Kaduna State, killing an undisclosed number of people.  While no group so far has claimed responsibility, the twin suicide attacks follows a campaign of bombings and shootings mounted by the Islamist Boko Haram terror group, which has demanded Christians convert to Islam or leave Northern Nigeria.

Government reports state that on 25 Nov 2012 at approximately 1:00 pm a terrorist driving a bus packed with explosives detonated his vehicle outside the Protestant Chapel at the Nigerian Army’s staff college. Services had concluded for the morning and only the parish council remained in the building. Aside from the bomber, no deaths occurred in the attack, though the exterior of the building was damaged.

However, as a crowd gathered to inspect the damage and help the wounded a second bomb exploded.  Reuters reported that at least five people were killed while the Vanguard newspaper reported 11 deaths.  The Kaduna state police command declined to comment on the incident telling This Day newspaper that as the attack took place at an army compound, only the army could discuss the incident.  A military spokesman in Kaduna, told AFP that two bombs have exploded at the AFCSC, but he declined to offer further

Last month, at least 10 people were killed and 145 wounded in the bombing of a Catholic Church in Kaduna, and an estimated 3000 people have died in terror attacks since Boko Haram began its jihad in 2009.

Last week, the Nigerian Armed Forces offered a reward of 50m Naira (£198,000) for information leading to the capture of Abu Bakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Justin Welby joins Tony Blair in Nigerian launch of inter-faith youth dialogue: The Church of England Newspaper, November 29, 2012 December 5, 2012

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The Archbishop of Canterbury-designate has joined Tony Blair and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan in launching an inter-faith initiative in Nigeria to promote reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.

On 22 Nov 2012, Bishop Justin Welby took part in the conference in Abuja organized by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation that brought Christian and Muslim students together. “By talking directly to one another, the aim is to break down barriers, and give the students the knowledge to resist extremist voices and ideology by working together to achieve long term peace for the next generation in Nigeria,” conference organizers said.

“Thirty four years after first coming to Nigeria, and with more than seventy visits since in all parts of this vibrant, passionate, talented and promising country, I am both challenged and profoundly excited by this initiative,” Bishop Welby said.

“It is a service, there is no question of bringing some external solutions, and peace and development in this country are always made possible only by Nigerians. Thank you for allowing me to contribute to the future of a country I admire and love,” he told the young people participating in the gathering.

Christian and Muslim leaders welcomed the dialogue between young people, while Mr. Blair said personallydeeply committed to addressing the challenges of religious reconciliation in Nigeria. Understanding and respecting different faiths is central to securing sustainable peace, particularly where those who seek to misuse religion for violent ends aim to destroy it.”

He lauded the work of Bishop Welby also, saying he hoped “that over the coming months, the work he and my Foundation do will go towards healing the rifts and divisions amongst faiths in the country, bringing unity and peaceful co-existence”.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Nigerian police out of control charges Amnesty International: The Church of England Newspaper, November 11, 2012 p 6. November 15, 2012

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The Nigerian government’s heavy handed response to Boko Haram’s terror campaign was violating the civil liberties of Muslims claims the international human rights group Amnesty International.

The 1 November 2012 report, Nigeria: Trapped in the cycle of violence, documented the crimes of the Islamist terror group, which is seeking to impose Sharia law on the West African nation and drive out Christians from the country’s North. It also lambasted the government for what it called serious human rights violations carried out by the security forces including enforced disappearance, torture, extrajudicial executions, the torching of homes and detention without trial.

The report follows the news of the latest terror attack which left eight people dead and over one hundred injured in a suicide bombing of St Rita’s Catholic Church in Kaduna.

According to a report printed in the Daily Trust, Fr. Michael Boni, the rector of St Rita’s, said the church was unexpectedly left unguarded on 28 Oct. “We only had the catholic cadets who secure the area on Sundays during service,” he said from his hospital bed, noting that unlike previous four Sundays, the police were not at their posts during the worship service.

Fr. Boni said that the attack came as the sign of the peace was being exchanged when a lone bomber rammed an explosive-packed car into the outside wall of the church.  “I moved to bring out the Holy Communion and at that point I can’t say what happened because there was pandemonium everywhere, people stamping on one another to gain access to outside.

“So all I noticed was that I was drenched in blood completely, I thought at first that my left eye is blown off, because the eye was covered in blood and I could not see, but I quickly recovered as people came to my aide, they even asked me where my car key was so that they could take me to the hospital and remarkably, I remembered where the keys were and they brought me to the hospital,” he said.

In its report, Amnesty International said the situation had become intolerable.  “The cycle of attack and counter-attack has been marked by unlawful violence on both sides, with devastating consequences for the human rights of those trapped in the middle,” said its Secretary General, Salil Shetty.

“People are living in a climate of fear and insecurity, vulnerable to attack from Boko Haram and facing human rights violations at the hands of the very state security forces which should be protecting them,” he said.

The government of Nigeria must take effective action to protect the population against Boko Harem’s campaign of terror in northern and central Nigeria, but they must do so within the boundaries of the rule of law. Every injustice carried out in the name of security only fuels more terrorism, creating a vicious circle of murder and destruction,” said Mr. Shetty.

“Only by clarifying the truth about events, establishing accountability for abuses, and bringing to justice those responsible can confidence in the justice system be restored and human rights be guaranteed.”

Famine fears for Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, November 11, 2012 p 6. November 13, 2012

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The Bishop of the Church of Nigeria’s On the Niger Diocese has warned his countryman to prepare for famine in the coming year in the wake of last month’s flooding of the Niger River from unseasonal monsoon rains.

Speaking at a memorial service on 14 Oct 2012 at All Saints Cathedral Onitsha, Bishop Owen Dozie Nwokolo urged Nigerians to stockpile food but also be ready to lend a help hand to those in need. “one way man can demonstrate the purpose for his creation is by lifting a heavy burden on his unknown neighbour and wiping his tears,” the bishop said according to The Tide newspaper.

Nigeria’s worst floods in nearly 50 years have killed 140 people and flooded much of the country’s farmlands in the Niger River basin. In the northern state of Kogi, NEMA state coordinator Ishaya Chonoko told Reuters 623,900 people had been displaced and 152,575 hectares of farmland destroyed so far.

On a tour of the flood ravaged region, President Goodluck Jonathan said the floods were a “national disaster”.  He told residents at one displaced persons camp:”We are thinking of how to settle you all back to your places after the floods. Government is doing everything possible to cushion the effects on you … it will soon be over.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Fast for Nigeria: Anglican Ink, November 1, 2012 November 1, 2012

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National Christian Conference Centre, Abuja Nigeria

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has issued a call that on 7 Nov 2012 Christians fast and pray for a week, seeking divine intervention in aid of Nigeria.

Speaking at a press conference on 31 Oct 2012 in Abuja publicizing the Church of Nigeria’s second Divine Commonwealth Conference at the National Christian Centre in Abuja, the Primate of All Nigeria – Archbishop Okoh – told reporters prayer should be the first response in the battle against terrorism.

John Wesley wrote that fasting as a form of righteousness was vain. If done without love, it was a form of godliness without the power, since an inwardly motivated religion of the heart was necessary. Fasts proclaimed by the Church of Nigeria were motivated by love of God, love of country and love of “our fellow Nigerians”, the bishop said.

The Church of Nigeria believed that the natural grounds of fasting were sorrow and the burden for sin and as an aid to prayer.  By fasting believers might avert the wrath of God’s judgment, or seek his blessings. It was in this spirit the church called Nigeria to fast and pray, he explained.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 54, October 26, 2012 October 27, 2012

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In this weeks episode Kevin and George bring an update on the Diocese of South Carlina and their separation from the Episcopal Church. Also this week they talk about Women’s Ordination and the new task force created by the Anglican Church in North America. And what episode would be complete without news from one of the broken Anglican “Instruments of Unity”. Peter talks about the reality of Women Bishops in England and Allen Haley guildes the viewer thru the Kangaroos courts found in Title IV. Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com #AU54

Monsoon waters submerge cathedral: The Church of England Newspaper, October 21, 2012 p October 22, 2012

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Unseasonable monsoon rains have caused the Niger River to flood, forcing tens of thousands from their homes. Bishop Emmanuel Edafe Emamezi of Western Izon Diocese in Nigeria’s Delta State reports that flood waters have inundated his cathedral and destroyed several churches.

On 5 October 2012 the Nigerian Red Cross reported 148 people had died across 21 Nigerian states in the flooding.  “Torrential downpours in recent weeks have caused widespread destruction and forced many families into makeshift camps,” the aid agency said on its website. “An estimated 134,000 people have now been affected by the floods and concern is growing about the spread of waterborne diseases.”

“It is like Florida … swampy with a lot of sea water mixed with fresh water because we are close to rivers and the Atlantic,” Tam Alazigha, the chief economic adviser for Bayelsa state told CNN, adding that “ a lot of people have been displaced. Snakes, crocodiles and hippos have been displaced and are ending up in people’s homes. Everyone has been displaced.”

Bishop Emamezi said the flood waters had moved quickly.  “We suddenly saw that we were cut off by the flood. We ran out. My driver was hardly able to remove the cars from the compound. The disaster is huge.”

“Our church at Ojobo has been swept away now,” he said, adding the “diocesan treasurer battled the flood by swimming to safety.”

The West African monsoon season runs from May through October. Weather forecasts predicted a wet October, and last month the National Emergency Agency warned those living on the banks of the Niger to be prepared to evacuate.

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

40 students murdered in Nigerian sectarian massacre: The Church of England Newspaper, October 14, 2012 p 6. October 16, 2012

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Christian leaders in Nigeria have denounced the murder of 40 university students in Mubi, Nigeria and have called for the government to implement tough new laws to combat sectarian terrorism.

On the evening of 1 Oct 2012, terrorists dressed in military uniforms went door to door in a student dormitory at Adamawa State University shooting students or cutting their throats with machetes.  Some press accounts reported the killers were working from a list, and asked each man his name and then freed him, or took him outside to be killed.  No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Boko Haram is suspected of having been behind the attack.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) released a statement last week condemning the massacre. CAN national secretary the Rev. Musa Asake said “CAN rejects the theory of election dispute as responsible for the massacre of over 40 students, considering the manner it was reportedly carried out. It believes that the reason is phony and that such a theory, arrived at in haste, can only serve to shield the real culprits and cover up their motives.”

He applauded President Goodluck Jonathan’s promise to track down the killers and urged Christians not to respond to the murders with revenge attacks. “We call on all men and women of goodwill in Nigeria to join the government to fight what may snowball into a religious or ethnic war,” Mr. Asake said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

“Don’t print money, fix the economy” Archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, October 6, 2012, p 6. October 10, 2012

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The Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria has criticized his government for seeking to address the country’s fiscal crisis by printing higher denomination bank notes.

Speaking after the consecration of the new Bishop of Ifo the Rt. Rev. Nathaniel Oladejo Ogundipe, on 8 Sept 2012, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said he was unpersuaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) assurances the new notes would not spark inflation.

“We don’t need N5000 notes,” he said, saying most Nigerians do not have any money anyway. “I think if we have something else we can do with money, let us do it, not printing N5000 notes.”

While the CBN believes it will not cause inflation, “the ones they introduced before actually caused problems. And it has reduced our lower denominations to nothing. For me, I don’t think higher denomination of money is our problem today. Nigeria has many other problems to face” first, he said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

2 Dead in Nigerian Sectarian Bombings: The Church of England Newspaper, September 30, 2012 p 5. October 5, 2012

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Two people have been killed and 45 wounded in a car bomb attack on St John’s Catholic Church in the Northern Nigerian city of Bauchi.

On 23 September 2012, a car attempted to enter the church compound shortly after 9:00 am. Police report the driver detonated an explosive device and the car exploded in the church’s parking lot, killing him and one other person attending mass in the church.  The militant Islamic group Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the attack.

The Bauchi bombing is the first major incident since the Nigerian army reported that it had killed several of the group’s leaders in a gun battle on 17 September outside of Kano.  Boko Haram had switched tactics in recent weeks, also, destroying 30 mobile phone towers in Northern Nigeria, cutting off communications in some parts of the country.

The chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Rev. Pokti Lewis told Sahara Reporters, “we are sad but are appealing to all Christians to be calm and not seek revenge, we have not kicked against anyone and his or her religion but God is watching and time will tell.”

“Just few Sundays ago we lost nine persons in a suicide bombing and today again,” he said, warning Boko Haram was engaged in a war of religion. “This clearly cleansing agenda by those perpetrating this act” designed to convert, kill or drive out Northern Nigeria’s Christians.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Boko Haram violence a threat to the “Nigerian project”: The Church of England Newspaper, August 26, 2012 p 6. August 29, 2012

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The Archbishop of Nigeria has called upon the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to stop the drift towards anarchy as more Christians were killed last week by Islamist terrorists.  Attacks on churches and Christians were reported across Northern and Central Nigeria, with 19 worshipers attending a Pentecostal service in Okene in the central Kogi state murdered by gunmen.

In an interview with Punch, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that at the “rate we are going, the country is drifting fast into anarchy and if people now capitalise on that situation, it will degenerate to dog eat dog.”

Anti-Christian violence has prompted some Christians to flee the North, while many churches report sharp decreases in worship attendance.  The Bishop of Kaduna, the Rt. Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon told his synod last week that the latest outbreak of violence had caused a 30 per cent drop in attendance.

On 6 August 2012, gunmen attacked a Bible Study held at the Deeper Life Bible Church in Okene.  Local press accounts of the attack say that the attackers shut off the generator plunging the church into darkness and then sprayed the building with machine gun fire.  Nineteen were killed in the attack, and two soldiers were killed in a firefight the following morning with the suspected gunmen.

In a communique released at the close of the 19th Kaduna Synod, the diocese warned Nigeria was sliding towards anarchy. Nigeria could soon see its own version of the Rwandan and Bosnian “ethnic cleansing” of recent years.

The Muslim militant group Boko Haram posed a threat to the “98 year old Nigerian project”  the synod warned by its “acts of bombing, shooting and other forms of destructive attack on the Nigerian state.”

First posted in The Church of England Newspaper.

‘No reprisals’ Nigerian archbishop tells embattled Christians: The Church of England Newspaper, July 29, 2012 August 4, 2012

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The Archbishop of Kaduna has called upon Christians in Northern Nigeria to “stay and pray” in the face of sectarian attacks by Islamist militants and not respond to violence with violence.

In an interview published last week in the Sunday Tribune, Archbishop Edmund Akanya urged Christians “to pray. We are against the issue of reprisal and attacks because that would not lead anybody anywhere. Two wrongs don’t make a right. What we preach is peace; we do not preach violence. We do not encourage it and we are telling our members not to join in that kind of reprisal. That is the stand of the church on this issue.”

On 7-8 July, Muslim Fulani herdsmen reportedly attacked Christian Berom farmers in Plateau state killing more than 100 people including two government officials.  While clashes between migrant herdsmen and farmers have taken place in the past, the Muslim militant group Boko Haram has claimed involvement in the latest clashes.

Boko Haram spokesman Abu Qaqa, told Nigerian reports his group “wants to inform the world of its delight over the success of the attacks we launched…in Plateau State on Christians and security operatives, including members of the National Assembly.  We will continue to hunt government officials wherever they are; they will have no peace again.”

Security experts have questioned the Islamist terrorist group’s involvement in these latest attacks, but former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell writing on the website of the Council on Foreign Relations stated “whether Boko Haram was actually involved or not, Abu Qaqa’s rhetoric looks, indeed, like he is trying to incite all-out religious war.”

Reprisal attacks have also been launched against Muslim targets, and on 17 July a Muslim school was bombed in the state capital of Jos killing a boy.

Archbishop Akanya said churches in Northern Nigeria were taking steps to defend themselves.  “We are encouraging our churches to put fence and gates; they should disallow cars from entering. They should get security men who can man the place. In many churches that I have visited, the bombers were not able to get access because of these barricades that are there.”

Those carrying out reprisal attacks were not true Christians, the archbishop said.  “These boys that even carry out these reprisals do not go to church.  That is the truth. I know what I am saying because those who go church will put their succor and relax their case in the hands of God and not going to fight back because they went to fight outside of the church environment. If it is self-defense, it would not have been outside of the church environment.”

Christians must not take the law into their own hands. “I do not think, by my conviction and the Bible I read that we have that instruction to go and be fighting people as a church or Christian. If anything, we should all cry to God to forgive our iniquities. Who knows if God is using this to warn us and to turn our hearts back to him. We should look at those facets and begin to think of how to cry unto God. We have seen cases that were worse than this in scriptures and how God delivered the people and it is still the same God. He can still do it for us,” Archbishop Akanya said.

Archbishop Okoh urges Nigerians to keep the faith in the face of terror: Anglican Ink, June 4, 2012 June 4, 2012

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Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

A lone suicide bomber killed at least 15 people last Sunday in a terrorist attack on a church in Nigeria’s Bauchi state. On 3 June 2012 a terrorist drove into the compound of the Harvest Field of Christ Church, Yelwa, Bauchi State, detonating a car bomb as worshipers began leaving the morning service.

While no group has so far taken responsibility for the attack, police believe the attack was the work of Boko Haram, the radical Islamist sect whose name in Hausa means “Western education is sacrilege.” At least 500 people have been killed in mass terror attacks in Northern Nigeria so far this year – church leaders in Nigeria report the death toll is much higher as sectarian murders in the countryside are seldom reported in the media.

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“This synod called the whole of the country not to lose faith.  Because of the bombing and insecurity people were beginning to lose faith in God as if God is not able to protect them,” the archbishop said to the 2nd Session of the 8th Synod of the Diocese of Abuja meeting at St. James’ Church Asokoro, Abuja.

People were also “beginning to lose faith in the entity called Nigeria,” he said. “Individuals also are beginning to lose faith — losing courage in themselves, they feel that everything is collapsing.”

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Bloody Sunday in Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, May 13, 2012 p 7. May 21, 2012

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At least 20 people were killed in two attacks on churches by the militant Islamist terror group Boko Haram in Nigeria on Sunday, while Islamist extremists have been blamed for a Sunday morning attack on a church in Nairobi that has left one dead.

Four people were shot to death during a church service in the northeast town of Maiduguri. “Boko Haram who were six in number came in a Volkswagen Golf car and shot the pastor and three others while they were about to administer the Holy Communion to worshipers,” Maiduguri police spokesman Samuel Tizhe told Reuters.

The attack in Maiduguri in the northeastern Borno state – the home of Boko Haram – followed an attack earlier in the day in Kano.  The Nigerian Red Cross reports sixteen people were dead following an attack by gunmen at a worship service held in a lecture hall at the city’s Bayero University.

Sunday’s shootings are the latest in a series of attacks that police blame on Boko Haram – a militant Muslim group that seeks to impose Sharia law on Nigeria and to expel or convert the country’s Christians.  On Easter Sunday, 36 people were killed when a suspected Boko Haram militant detonated a car bomb inside a church compound in Kaduna, while on Christmas Day 37 people were killed in church bombings.

Kano has been the scene of sporadic fighting between Boko Haram and the security services.  In January the sect killed 186 people in an attack on churches and government offices in Kano.  Last week suicide car bombers attacked the offices of the pro-government newspaper This Day in Abuja and in Kaduna killing four.

In Kenya, in Nairobi, a grenade was thrown in Church linked to the congregation ‘God’s House of Miracles’ just before the start of services. At least one person died and more than ten people were injured, Kenyan press reports said.  While no group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, police suspect the militant Islamist group Somali Shabaab in this latest attack.

In a sermon delivered before the attacks on 22 April, the Bishop of Owo, the Rt. Rev. James Oladunjoye urged President Goodluck Jonathan to use the army to restore order.  Boko Haram was like a cobra, the bishop said.  Stroking its head to appease it would not work, as the snake would soon bite.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Archbishop rejects corruption charges: The Church of England Newspaper, April 22, 2012 p 5. April 26, 2012

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The Primate of the Church of Nigeria has denounced as “satanic” the calls for the impeachment of the President of Nigeria after an Italian construction firm refurbished a church in the president’s home town.

Speaking to reporters last week, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said the claim put forward by the opposition ACN party that there was an element of corruption in the refurbishment of a church was nonsense.

“The call for the impeachment of the president over the renovation of the church in his town is satanic and it is capable of causing religious bigotry which we don’t want. The ACN should apologise and retract the statement. We call on the National Assembly to disregard the call,” the archbishop said.

The ACN was wasting its time by pursuing a political vendetta against the president.  The Muslim-dominated party’s actions would serve only to flame religious tensions and did nothing to address the major issues facing the nation, he argued.

Speaking to reporters in Abuja after Easter services, the Archbishop said:

“It is not an issue, that church, I can renovate it myself, it was already built and the renovation of church can be done by either [the Italian construction company] or anybody.  People are looking for problem where there is none. The President doesn’t have to have a friend to renovate that church, since if anybody volunteered to do it, those people will receive blessing from God.”

“Those who are pointing to the renovation of the church, let them search their midst, there are logs in their eyes, not the speck in somebody’s eye,” the archbishop said.

In a statement published in the country’s major newspapers, the Italian construction firm noted that they had rebuilt the church as part of a The company said its act “of Corporate Social Responsibility is an established practice in our Mother country (Italy) and Italian firms in Nigeria have engaged in this practice rendering free construction, medical and advisory services as well as providing scholarships to various communities within Nigeria” since 2005.

It had refurbished the church in response to a “request by the Otuoke Community.”

It had not been “induced to do this act neither where we compensated for it by the Federal Government,” it said, adding that it had not been “awarded any major contracts under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan rather nearly all the projects being executed by the Company are from the previous administrations which are ongoing.”

Church of Nigeria caught up in political bribery scandal: The Church of England Newspaper, April 13, 2012 p 6. April 18, 2012

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The Church of Nigeria has been dragged into the corruption scandal that has pitted President Goodluck Jonathan and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). On 2 April 2012 the ACN accused the president of corruption for allegedly soliciting a bribe from a foreign contractor, the Italian construction company Gitto Costruzioni Generali Nigeria Ltd.  (CGC) The alleged bribe was the gift of St Stephen’s Anglican Church built by the contractor in the president’s home town.

In a statement given to the press on 4 April 2012, presidential spokesman Reuben Abati stated that “a contractor who has worked and continues to work in Bayelsa State and other parts of Nigeria thought it fit, in fulfillment of its corporate social responsibility, to facilitate the renovation of the small church in the President’s home town of Otuoke.”

Mr. Abati said that the president however had never solicited or received a church as “bribe” from any contractor and that the building belonged to the Church of Nigeria, not the president. He added that the Anglican Bishop of Ogbia Diocese, Rt. Rev. James Oruwori, had also commended President Jonathan and his family “for building a house of prayer for the Lord”.

The ACN’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, responded that the president had been convicted out the mouth of his spokesman.

“Since the statements did not deny that the church in question was constructed or ‘renovated’ by a foreign construction firm taking contracts from the government and that the church is situated in the President’s community, and since they did not refute the statement credited to the President himself that he solicited and received the ‘gift’, then we are compelled to renew our call on the National Assembly to urgently launch impeachment proceedings against the President,” the ACN spokesman said.

“Shouldn’t the President see the obvious conflict of interest in a church where he worships being gratuitously renovated by a government contractor?” the ACN spokesman said.

But in an advertisement printed in the Nigeria press this week, the Italian construction firm said the renovation of the church was part of the corporation’s policy of being a good corporate citizen.

The company said its act “of Corporate Social Responsibility is an established practice in our Mother country (Italy) and Italian firms in Nigeria have engaged in this practice rendering free construction, medical and advisory services as well as providing scholarships to various communities within Nigeria” since 2005.

It had refurbished the church in response to a “request by the Otuoke Community.”  CGC “was not induced to do this act neither where we compensated for it by the Federal Government,” it said, adding that it had not been “awarded any major contracts under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan rather nearly all the projects being executed by the Company are from the previous administrations which are ongoing.”

“President Goodluck Jonathan did not solicit any gifts” from CGC, nor was “any gift received by President Goodluck Jonathan or on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan” from CGC, it said.

CGC “did not build a new church at Otuoke for President Jonathan or any other person. The fact of the matter is that the Company, as well as friends and well wishers of the community, were contacted during the burial of the late Pa Jonathan by the members of the community and parishioners of Otuoke to renovate the already existing church. To this end (GCG) responded to this request based on its strong Corporate Social Responsibility culture,” the company said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Resist Muslim aggression, Archbishop tells Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2012, p 6. March 1, 2012

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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has urged Christians in Northern Nigeria to hold fast and not abandon their homes in response to attacks by the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram.

The archbishop’s plea for peaceful resistance comes amidst heightened anti-Christian persecution in Northern Nigeria.  The Barnabas Fund reports that 95 per cent of the Christian residents of one northern state have fled in fear. However, the Bishop of Dutse, the Rt. Rev. Yusuf Lumu, told reporters the insurgency had evolved from an anti-Christian to an anti-government campaign in recent weeks.

Nevertheless the Rev. Garba Idi, chairman of the Yobe State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) told the UK-based Christian aid organization the situation in Yobe state was “terrible.”

“Churches were burnt and attacked while many Christians lost their lives in the course of this mayhem,” Mr. Idi said.  “We have to leave because the sect is hunting us; that is why we had to flee… Many Christians have left Yobe to save their lives from these attacks.”

In Yobe approximately 20 churches have been set alight since November and 15 Christians have been murdered over the past six weeks by Muslim militants, Mr. Idi reported.

Speaking to members of the Church of Nigeria’s Standing Committee meeting at St Faith Cathedral Church, Awka on 17 Feb 2012 Archbishop Okoh warned that unless the government acted quickly, a civil war leading to the unraveling of Nigeria was in the cards.

“We call on Boko Haram, their sponsors and admirers to have a rethink; in fact, all of us have a lot to lose in the event of a breakup of the country, if pushed too hard,” the Primate told the meeting, according to the Information Nigeria website.

The unity of Nigeria was “non-negotiable”, the primate said, as were its people. “We are all one,” Archbishop Okoh told the 170 members of the provincial standing committee.

But the government must ensure that the life and liberties of its citizens were safeguarded.  Northern Christians must be protected by the government, he said, but Northern Christians must also stay and resist the attacks of Boko Haram.  He also charged the church’s clergy and parish leaders to ensure that security arrangements were in place so as to prevent attacks on worshipers.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the attacks upon Nigeria’s Christians and has mounted a campaign of violence with the aim of imposing Sharia law on the country.  On Christmas Day 35 people were killed in one attack upon a Catholic Church in Madalla, near the capital of Abuja, when terrorists threw bombs into a crowd leaving the church after a service.

Bishop Lumu told the Nation newspaper that he believed the terror campaign was evolving.  Boko Haram had been “hijacked by politicians,” he charged, bent on destabilizing the government so as to provoke a military coup.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 27, February 6, 2012 February 7, 2012

Posted by geoconger in AMiA, Anglican Church of the Congo, Anglican.TV, Church of Nigeria, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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Kevin and George reveal breaking news from the Diocese of Central Florida and Bishop-Elect Brewer. They also clarify an Anglican Ink report on AMiA’s Winter Conferences Ordinations. AS Haley discusses the horrible witness TEC is showing the world through the US Legal system. And we discuss the violence in Nigeria and show comments from Archbishop Ben Kwashi from Mere Anglicanism 2012. And there may be some behind the scene footage after the credits again.

Church Commissioners pledge support for embattled African Christians: The Church of England Newspaper, January 27, 2012 p 7. February 2, 2012

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Tony Baldry, MP

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner has pledged the support of the Church of England in aid to Africa’s embattled Christians.

On 20 January 2012 — the same day as 200 Nigerians were killed in terror blasts by al-Qaeda linked terrorists — the member for Bury North, Mr. David Nuttall (Con) asked the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Mr. Tony Baldry, what plans the church had to provide “support for Christian communities in Nigeria.”

Mr. Baldry responded that “Lambeth Palace” was in “regular contact” with the Church of Nigeria and that Dr. Rowan Williams has followed closely the “ongoing situation in the region.”

He added that the the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev. Justin Welby was “currently visiting Nigeria on behalf of the archbishop” and that the Church of England supports the Church of Nigeria’s effors to “end the murder and violence. It is putting its efforts into supporting movements for peace and reconciliation within the northern and central belt communities of Nigeria.”

Mr. Nuttall pressed the Second Church Estates Commissioner to condemn the terror campaign mounted by Boko Haram and “to take whatever action is necessary to bring such attacks to an end.”

Mr. Baldry responded that to “murder people simply for their religion or simply because they are Christians is totally barbaric, taking us back through the centuries. I very much hope that the Government of Nigeria will do everything they can to prevent the continuing murder of Christians. It is particularly disturbing that the person accused of bombing St Theresa’s church just outside Abuja was found hiding in the home of a local state governor.”

The member for Edinburgh North and Leith, Mr. Lazarowicz (Lab/Co-op) rose and asked whether the Second Church Estates Commission agreed that the issue of the “persecution of Christians—or, indeed, of those of any faith—must now be taken much more seriously by international agencies, by this Government and by other bodies that can play a role?”

He added that this was “the third month in a row in which the hon. Gentleman has had to answer questions relating to persecution or discrimination against Christians.”

The member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Simon Hughes (LD) rose and noted that his borough contained the “largest African community in Britain.”

He asked whether the church might find a way to “communicate better to Christian Africans in Britain what is being done” by the Church of England and the Christian churches in Africa to respond to persecution as well as find a way of involving British Africans in the peace process who “may be able to build a bridge” between the warring communities – points to which Mr. Baldry concurred, stating he would raise them with Dr. Williams.

Meet murder with love, archbishop tells Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, January 27, 2012 p 7. February 2, 2012

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Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has urged Nigerian Christians not to seek vengeance for the wave of anti-Christian and ethnic violence sweeping across Northern Nigeria.  The archbishop’s peace plea follows a series of bombings carried out by the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group, Boko Haram, which last week killed over 200 people.

The plight of Nigeria’s Christians was also raised in Parliament last week, with MPs pressing the Church of England and the government to use their influence to end the violence.

Reporters from the Leadership newspaper in Kano counted 185 bodies in the mortuaries of the city’s main hospital following four apparently coordinated bomb blasts on the evening of 20 January 2012.  The death toll is expected to rise, the newspaper said, as other bodies are brought to the hospital, while several people were severely injured in the blasts and are near death.

Following the attack by the radical Islamist group, police imposed a 24-hour curfew on the city, which was modified to a dusk to dawn curfew on Monday.  The Kano bombings were followed by an attack on a Christian community in North-Eastern Nigerian town of Tafawa which left nine people dead and ten wounded.

President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, condemned the Islamist attacks, protesting the fact that “honest Nigerians were brutally killed by terrorists.”

“We will not sit here and watch while enemies of democracy spread terror across our land,” he said.

In a statement released on 23 January following the visit of the Bishop of Durham to Nigeria, Archbishop Okoh warned the violence in the North posed a “very serious challenge” to the government and was giving President Jonathan many “sleepless nights.”  However, the outbreak of “religious strife” was unnatural as Christians and Nigerians sought “to continue to live together peacefully as before.”

He stated that Christians were “facing serious temptation” as the “intense attack” by the Islamist radicals was “tempting the Christians whether to continue to maintain peace, always turning the other cheek, or fight back to find their safety.”

The archbishop called upon government and Muslim leaders to “reach out to Boko Haram to dissuade them from dastardly acts.”

He called upon Boko Haram to “leave the Church alone,” and to “dialogue with government if they have any axe to grind with her.”

However Christians would not meet violence with violence.  “The attempt to drag Nigerians into militancy is something Nigerians must resist,” Archbishop Okoh said.

Govt backs down in face of Nigeria’s general strike: The Church of England Newspaper, January 20, 2012 p 6. January 25, 2012

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Bishop Peter Adebiyi

First printed in the Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishop of Lagos has called upon the President of Nigeria to convene an all-party, all-ethnic congress to negotiate the future of the West African nation in the wake of a week-long general strike that followed the government’s lifting of price controls on fuel.

On 16 January 2012 President Goodluck Jonathan capitulated to union demands and partially restored the state-subsidy on fuel.  The week of civil strike saw the military deployed in the streets of Lagos and most major cities.

President Jonathan conceded that the “government appreciates that the implementation of the deregulation policy would cause initial hardships” and agreed to subsidize the price of fuel.

Under a deal brokered with union leaders, the price of gasoline in Nigeria will drop from £.60 per litre to £.39, or from $3.50 to $2.27 per gallon.  Before the government lifted price controls fuel prices averaged £.29 per litre or $1.70 gallon.

The International Monetary Fund and the country’s economic advisers had pressed the government to eliminate the fuel subsidy.  While Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer, the country’s four refineries are incapable of meeting consumer demand.

Approximately 85 per cent of Nigeria’s refined petroleum must be imported from abroad, with the federal government spending an estimated £4.5 billion to subsidize fuel purchases.

Successive Nigerian governments have kept diesel prices low as most small businesses and many private homes rely on generators to provide electricity as the national power grid is antiquated and unreliable.  For the vast majority of Nigerians subsidized fuel prices were one of the few benefits they received from the country’s oil wealth.

Church and union leaders had urged the government not to life the fuel subsidies, and when the government refused to compromise a national strike was staged that led to mass protests, riots and outbreaks of communal violence across the country.

The Bishop of Lagos West, the Rt. Rev. Peter Adebiyi said it made no sense for President Jonathan to send the army into the streets of Lagos in response to the strike.

Lagos State had “recorded an unprecedented number of votes during the last presidential elections [for President Jonathan], despite the fact that the state is being governed by one of the opposition parties.  It is instructive that from the pattern of voting in other elections, the people of Lagos State voted the President as a person and not the political party he represents”

The bishop was amazed that the candidate “Lagosians voted massively for, turned around to militarize the state in the face of simple and peaceful demonstration against government policies that affected citizens of Nigeria.  Are we at a war,” the bishop asked.

“It is rather shameful and unbelievable seeing military personnel brandishing guns and armour tanks in the early hours of Monday 16th of January, 2012 as if we are at a way”, the bishop said, whereas “simple dialogue and sense of reasoning would have prevailed instead of the military option.”

Christians and Muslims, Yoruba and Hausa were united in opposing the fuel increases, the bishop said.  “Going by the overwhelming presences of dignitaries that attended the rallies in Lagos against the removal of fuel subsidy, despite their differences in party and religion affiliations, attests to the fact that government must always do what pleases the people,” he said.

Bishop Adebiyi called upon the government go convene an all-party Sovereign National Conference “where different ethnic groups in the country will come together in a round table and decide how they should be governed.” For as it stands now, Nigeria is not working, the bishop said.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 23, January 9, 2012 January 9, 2012

Posted by geoconger in AMiA, Anglican Church of Rwanda, Anglican.TV, Church of Nigeria, Popular Culture.
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Kevin and George deliver news and commentary on a possible civil war in Nigeria and the latest news (and commentary) from PEAR and the Anglican Mission in America. Allan Haley talks about last years news and the good news of 2012. oh… and then there is that tattoo story….

Civil War looms in Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, January 6, 2012, p 7. January 6, 2012

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Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma

Action, not talk is needed from Muslim leaders if Nigeria is not to fall into civil war, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria said last week in the wake of Christmas Day terror attacks mounted by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh appealed to Nigeria’s Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs to exercise leadership, saying “it is not enough to condemn the act. It is not enough to dissociate itself from it.”

Muslim leaders “must take some pragmatic steps in the interest of all of us to bring about an end to this matter. There is no other body in a better position to speak to Boko Haram,” the archbishop told reporters last week during a visit to St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla in the Niger State.

On 1 Jan 2012 Boko Haram issued an ultimatum to Christians living in the Muslim majority areas of Northern Nigeria to leave within three days, or face their wrath.  The terror group has claimed responsibility for a series of bomb and gun attacks on churches and the police stations across five states on Christmas Day.  At St Theresa’s Catholic Church in Madalla near the capital of Abuja, 35 people were killed when a bomb was tossed into the congregation as the service was ending.  A half dozen other Christians were killed in related attacks across the North also.

Archbishop Okoh called upon Nigeria’s political and traditional leaders to take immediate action to prevent the country from falling into civil war.  The governors of Nigeria’s northern states must come together, he said.  “They meet to discuss national issues and I don’t see any national issue that is more critical than this one; the issue of the security of the nation.”

“If they can meet on other things, this is a critical issue that should engage their attention. They should find a solution to it. They are in a better position to find a solution to it.”

“I also make my appeal to the political elite in the National Assembly and those of them in the states,” the archbishop said.  “They should find a solution to this matter as a matter of urgency, because if there is no Nigeria, there will be no political office holders.”

The spectre of sectarian war loomed, the head of the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Rev. Ayo Oritsjafor told AFP. “The consensus is that the Christian community nationwide will be left with no other option than to respond appropriately if there are any further attacks on our members, churches and property.”

In a speech given on 30 Dec 2011 Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma also warned that the Ibo people of the South-East would not hesitate to follow the example of the late Ikemba Nnewi – the leader of the short-lived Biafran Republic which attempted to break away from Nigeria in the 1960’s – and take up arms to protect themselves.

“If the Federal Government fails to do something urgently, we shall declare war in Nigeria. Our quietness should not be seen as cowardice. If the issue is not addressed, we will resume [Ikemba Nnewi’s] fight against injustice. Enough is enough.”

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Christians targeted in Christmas bombing campaign in Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, December 23, 2011 p 7. December 29, 2011

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Archbishop Ben Kwashi

Islamist militants are suspected of being behind a pre-Christmas terror campaign in the Northern Nigerian city of Jos.  Boko Haram – a militant Muslim group that has pledged to convert all of Nigeria to Islam – has threatened to disrupt the Christmas holidays, the Nigerian media reports.

On 10 Dec 2011, three bombs exploded as crowds gathered to watch a Real Madrid – Barcelona football match at a public television viewing centre.  One man was killed and 11 injured, while a fourth bomb was defused by police.

In the early hours of the following morning, a woman was killed and two others were wounded when gunmen attacked a Christian village in Kagora.

Speaking on the persecution of Christians in Nigeria at a conference sponsored by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Archbishop Ben Kwashi of Jos observed that sectarian violence was unknown in the city until 1987.

In that year a Hausa militant group was organized and the administration of the city divided in two, with a Muslim majority area created for the north of the city.  By 1997 tensions between the majority Christian population and the Muslim minority – who wielded political power through the support of the military government – began to erupt and fighting ensued.

Over 2000 people were killed in sectarian fighting in 2001, the archbishop said, and 2010 saw a “huge massacre” of Christians at the hands of Islamist militants.  The Boko Haram insurrection saw the introduction of terror bombings of Christian sites in the city, with the first attack launched over Christmas 2010.

Archbishop Kwashi stated there has “never been an arrest” in the attacks on Christians in Jos, while the results of government investigations into the violence have been kept secret.

“If the killing of Christians is not called by its name,” he told the CSW meeting, this “crime will continue to go on under the name of religion.”

“If it is declared criminal” by the government, the “persecution will be reduced,” he said.

Speaking in response to last week’s bombings, CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “The security situation in both Plateau and Kaduna States are of great concern. Security services must remain vigilant regarding threats to disrupt Christmas celebrations in Jos, and take proactive steps to secure areas in both Plateau and Kaduna States where attacks are likely to occur. ”

Mission schools returned by state govts in Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, December 2, 2011, p 6. December 7, 2011

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Archbishop Christian Efobi

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Governor of Nigeria’s Anambra State has returned the mission schools nationalized by the government to their former owners.  The announcement follows upon decisions in the Delta State and other southern states to return mission schools to the country’s churches as government seeks new solutions to the crisis of education in Nigeria.

On 20 November 2011, Governor Peter Obi, accompanied by the Anglican Archbishop of the Province of the Niger and Bishop of Aguata, the Most Rev. Christian Efobi, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, the Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, made the announcement at a press conference in Awka.

“The collapse of education in the state is directly connected with the takeover of schools owned by the missionaries, churches and voluntary organisations in 1970. That singular exercise signaled the disappearance of morality and building of character from our school system. This can no longer be allowed,’’ the governor said.

The state would also contribute N6b (£24 million) over the next 15 months to the state’s churches for the maintenance of the schools.

The two archbishops thanked the governor for his decision, with Archbishop Okeke stating: “You have written your name in gold and you have wiped the tears of our people. You have rectified anomalies of the civil war and the fault of our past leaders. With this action, the church has forgiven them for forcefully taking over our schools.”

In 1942, 97 per cent of Nigerian students were enrolled in Christian mission schools and up through the mid-1960’s mission schools continued to educate the majority of children in the majority Christian Igbo (Southeast) and Yoruba (Southwest) dominated sections of the country.

A desire to foster a common Nigerian identity following independence prompted the first wave of school nationalizations.  The tempo increased rapidly however, following the Biafra Civil War (1967-1970) when state governments began nationalizing church owned schools and hospitals in a move to combat tribalism.

In an editorial printed earlier this month, This Day, a Lagos newspaper endorsed the return of mission schools.  It noted that it was “concerns about national cohesion” that prompted the “summary usurpation of proprietary rights over private schools by government” in the 1970s.

However, “whatever goodwill” the government expected from seizing the schools was lost by its “failure to compensate the original owners of the schools, or treat them with respect during the take-over process.”

Nationalization also saw a “collapse of values of discipline and staff integrity” and a “precipitous decline of academic standards.”

This Day called “for the return of schools to their original owners” as a way to stem the collapse, but urged the government not to wash its hands of education, and called for a uniform system of school inspections to ensure quality education for all Nigerians.

National week of fasting and prayer for Nigeria: The Church of England Newspaper, December 2, 2011 p 6. December 1, 2011

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Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, has called upon citizens of the West African nation to begin a season of fasting and prayer for their embattled country.

Plagued by sectarian strife in the North and separatist violence in the Niger Delta, political stagnation and economic uncertainty, Archbishop Okoh told the 2011 Carnival for Christ conference last week in Abuja the church’s general synod had approved the  “seven-day prayer and fasting” for “the president and the whole country” from 28 Nov to 3 Dec.

Nigerians should “pray for peace; to pray for the cessation of attacks; that God should intervene in our affairs because this new dimension of throwing bombs we have never seen it before and it’s almost killing the psyche of the people of the country.”

The troubles facing Nigeria would find their solution in prayer and in faithful obedience to God, he said, citing Joel 2:25. “So, I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.”

It is not certain whether President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria will give the government’s blessing to the fast, as the state has sought not to become embroiled in religious issues so as not to favor any Christians or Muslims.

Fasts were proclaimed by the British and American governments during the Nineteenth century – President Abraham Lincoln authorized the last national period of prayer and fasting during the American Civil War in 1865.   Five general fasts were authorized by Parliament in the Nineteenth century in response to a cholera epidemic, the Irish potato famine, two during the Crimean war and the last proclaimed in 1857 during the Indian mutiny.

While the Church of Nigeria draws upon the reformed Catholic tradition of the Church of England in its understanding of the purpose of fasting, its doctrine and discipline was molded by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and draws heavily upon the teachings of Evangelical revival.

Like the Church of England, the Church of Nigeria promotes fasting as spiritual discipline.  Nigerian churchmen tell CEN their church draws upon Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiæ who held that fasting was a tool in defeating temptation in the flesh.  But it has also been informed by the Protestant reformers teachings that fasting was not an end or virtuous in itself.

John Wesley wrote that fasting as a form of righteousness was vain. If done without love, it was a form of godliness without the power, since an inwardly motivated religion of the heart was necessary. The fast called for by the Church of Nigeria was one motivated by love of God, love of country and love of “our fellow Nigerians”, CEN was told.

The Church of Nigeria believed that the natural grounds of fasting were sorrow and the burden for sin and as an aid to prayer.  By fasting believers might avert the wrath of God’s judgment, or seek his blessings. It was in this spirit the church called Nigeria to fast and pray, the spokesman noted.

Cutting fuel subsidies will devastate Nigeria warns bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2011 p 7. November 22, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Development/Economics/Govt Finances, Politics.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Church leaders in Nigeria have urged the government to cancel plans to cut the country’s national fuel subsidy, warning it will cause massive social unrest.  However, the government’s proposal to remove price controls on refined petroleum products has won the backing of anti-corruption activists and foreign aid donors, who say the policy serves to distort the economy and enrich corrupt officials.

While Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer, the country’s four refineries are incapable of meeting consumer demand.  Approximately 85 per cent of Nigeria’s refined petroleum must be imported from abroad, with the federal government spending an estimated £4.5 billion to subsidize fuel purchases.

Successive Nigerian governments have kept diesel prices low as most small businesses and many private homes rely on generators to provide electricity as the national power grid is antiquated and unreliable.

In a paper released last week, Chatham House stated the “idea behind the subsidy – to keep fuel cheap at the point of sale to the ordinary consumer, regardless of location in the country – makes sense” politically, but it encourages corruption as “much of the money” spent by the government on fuel subsidies “does not benefit ordinary Nigerians, and is instead funneled off during the lengthy import process.”

“Former President Yar’Adua was candid about the long-term impacts of the subsidy: ‘There is a very strong cartel in this country that is benefiting from the issue of subsidies and it has introduced colossal corruption within the system’,” Chatham House said.

However, church leaders have urged the government not to cut the subsidies.  In a speech given on 26 October 2011, Anglican Bishop Ephraim Ikeakor of Amichi stated “in Nigeria we do not create the enabling environment before we bring in new policies. Fuel subsidy should be removed when certain measures have been put in place to cushion the effects.”

According to an account of his speech published in the Vanguard newspaper, Bishop Ikeakor said Nigeria “cannot boast of functional refineries … we have great problems of insecurity, terrible dilapidation of our infrastructures, collapse of education, industry, teachers and civil servants not properly remunerated” and the failure of the government to enforce minimum wage laws, “yet some people want to remove the fuel subsidy.”

“The timing for removing fuel subsidy is very wrong,” the bishop said.  “Removing it is a time bomb that is waiting to explode,” he warned.

Chatham House noted that Nigerians did not trust their government to “fully and successfully deregulate the downstream sector and reinvest money saved in infrastructure development.”

The future may see “major protests across the country if people do not feel any sense of participation in this process and see a damaging increase in the cost of their diesel,” Chatham House said.

Bishop Ikeakor offered a blunt message to the government.  While the elites in Abuja were “living flamboyantly” the “poor masses are suffering” … “yet they want to add to their suffering. Mr. President, no removal of fuel subsidy for now, as it will be counterproductive and do more harm than good.”

Nigerian winter over, ACNA says: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2011 p 6. November 17, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, CANA, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria.
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Bishop Julian Dobbs

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The chill in relations between the Church of Nigeria and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is over following a meeting of the churches’ archbishops in London, senior ACNA leaders tell The Church of England Newspaper.

A breakdown in communications was blamed for the frost in relations between Nigeria and the conservative province-in-waiting in the US, which complained it had not been consulted about the creation of a new Nigerian outreach in America.

Last month the head of CANA, the Church of Nigeria’s missionary jurisdiction in the US, Bishop Martyn Minns announced the formation of the Diocese of the Trinity, to be headed up by CANA suffragan Bishop Amos Fagbamiye.  On 12 Oct 2011 Bishop Minns said Trinity had been formed “in order to strengthen our missionary focus and provide enhanced support for local clergy and congregations, especially for Nigerian Anglicans living in North America.”

While the new diocese received warm public words of welcome, its creation had come as a surprise when it was proposed earlier this year, as it had been initiated by the Church of Nigeria and not by CANA.

However, CANA suffragan Bishop Julian Dobbs denied there was any discord between the ACNA and Nigerian House of Bishops.  CANA had been successful, he argued because its “members reflect a broad and complex spectrum of complimentary ethnic and racial identities and maintain a healthy equilibrium between the historic spiritual streams of Anglicanism: Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical and Charismatic.”

“As a missionary outreach of the Church of Nigeria, CANA maintains our unimpeachable connection with authentic Anglicanism in the Anglican Communion; with our partners in the Anglican Church in North America we are building a future for faithful Christians,” Bishop Dobbs wrote.

“Therefore, we are appalled by the suggestion that we have created a conflict,” he added.

A spokesman for the ACNA was distressed by characterizations of the Diocese of the Trinity as race-based, telling CEN the new diocese was centered-round culture and worship styles.  On 31 Oct 2011 Archbishop Duncan stated there had been a “desire among many Nigerian nationals, some of whom have been part of CANA and some who have been waiting for a development like the Missionary Diocese of the Trinity, to come together as a Nigerian diocese in North America.”

The “provision for affinity dioceses” within the ACNA structure made possible the formation of the Trinity Diocese, he said.

A spokesman for Archbishop Duncan stated that Archbishops Okoh and Duncan met in London during the week of Oct 24-28 adding that relations were amicable and there was no tension between the churches.

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