Hundreds of African Anglican Bishops arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, for the first-ever Africa Anglican Bishops Conference, which officially opens on Wednesday, Oct. 27. While the main topics of discussions are centered on poverty eradication and social services, the bishops are expected to invest much of their energy to discuss the implications of the recently released Windsor Report on homosexuality in the church.
On Oct. 26, Archbishop Peter Akinola, the Primate of Nigeria and the Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, spoke at a short press briefing to explain the direction and focus of the Oct. 27-31 conference.
According to the Anglican Communion News, Akinola said the Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo would officially open the conference and then the participants will break “into workshops that will discuss at length key issues including poverty, disease, holistic gospel proclamation, Anglican identity, church and state relations, women and youth affairs, and leadership crisis in the church.”
Akinola has been known for his avid support to the traditional teachings of the Anglican Church. Since 2003, when the Episcopal Church USA elected an actively gay bishop to service, Akinola had been at the forefront of the league of archbishops who severed ties with the American branch of the Anglican Communion. Akinola, along with numerous African bishops, also rejected the missionaries and financial donations offered by the ECUSA.
Last week, upon the release of the Windsor Report – the yearlong report on the affects of ordaining homosexuals and blessing homosexual unions in the Anglican pulpit – Akinola said that “report falls far short of the prescription needed for this current crisis.” Currently, more than half of the world’s Anglicans have severed ties with the ECUSA for its actions.
“The report fails to confront the reality that a small, economically privileged group of people has sought to subvert the Christian faith and impose their new and false doctrine on the wider community of faithful believers,” he wrote.
Akinola concluded his statement with the desire to further discuss the implications of the Report sigh other African Anglican bishops and to speak out on the “crisis created by the North American Church.”
“I will now take it to the All Africa Bishops Conference that will gather in Lagos from October 26th-31st and we will have further opportunity to speak of the crisis created by the North American Church,” he wrote.
Several other Archbishops addressed the crowd at the press conference. Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda explained to the crowd that the African church will speak out against the various injustices and human rights abuses prevailing in Africa.
“Our church will never be quiet on any form of injustice,” said Orombi.
Anglican Church of Kenya head, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, spoke out against the corruption within African government, saying, “During this meeting we will implore our governments to treat our people well and we trust they will listen.”