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Sexuality issue must be resolved before Lambeth – Archbishop Akinola

The Church of England Newspaper reports:

The issue of homosexuality and the Anglican Communion must be resolved before the 2008 Lambeth Conference, if the Church of Nigeria is to participate, Archbishop Peter Akinola argues.

In a Jan 14 interview with the Guardian newspaper of Lagos, Archbishop Akinola, the Primate of the Communion’s largest province, said sending over 100 Nigerian bishops to Lambeth would not be an act of prudent stewardship, if the conference was simply going to be an expensive episcopal jamboree.

“A Lambeth Conference that will not be able to guide the church in a way that the church will embrace” and “comply” is “not worth attending.” The Church of Nigeria would be a “bad steward, to use God’s resources and waste it on jamboree. God will hold me responsible and accountable for spending money in that way.”

Attendance at a Lambeth Conference does not make you a “Christian,” nor a “leader” nor “bishop”. “You are all these before you go to Lambeth,” the Nigerian church leader stated. He saw the Lambeth Conference as a “gathering of bishops in fellowship to think together, to pray together and seek God’s face together, discuss issues in an atmosphere of peace and conviviality.” It “does not legislate,” nor can it tell “any diocese or province” what to do.

However, “as a result of the fellowship, praying together, studying the word of God together” the bishops at Lambeth come to a “consensus of opinion, which we now commend to the provinces for further actions.” The Nigerian church believed the “moral strength” underlying its deliberations and decisions “should be strong enough to make everybody comply with it.”

The 1998 Conference “came to the conclusion that homosexual conduct is not acceptable in our church.” However the American Church had rejected this, saying its approval of homosexual behaviour “is their business and not ours. They said it is good for them. “That is why we are saying in Nigeria and indeed in Africa that if the Lambeth Conference resolutions and consensus-building will be of no use to some people, it is not worth attending,” Archbishop Akinola said. “For me to close my eyes to raise over 120 million Naira for the three week meeting and for somebody to take decisions reached there lightly, I will rather use that money for mission and evangelism in Nigeria.”


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