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Evidence mounts that CoN wants to go it alone

By David W. Virtue, DD
October 18, 2022

VOL has obtained two documents from reliable sources that indicate the Primate of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion (CoN), Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, is attempting to make the CoN its own global Church movement that is not just separate from Canterbury, but disconnected from her GAFCON partners.

The documents, both signed by Abp Ndukuba when reviewed in light of his most recent public address at the Church of Nigeria Standing Committee, it is clear that the Anglican Communion can really draw no other conclusion other than the CoN is seeking to be its own church movement and tradition.

The two documents (see below) include a letter sent to Bp Andy Lines of the Anglican Mission in Europe (AMiE) in which Abp Ndukuba lays claim to several independent Anglican Mission Congregations (AMC) that are led by Nigerian clergy. The second document provides clear
language of Abp Ndukuba's intent - newly signed by-laws for the full incorporation of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM) in the US and Canada. Incorporating CONNAM is clearly intended to solidify a permanent presence for the CoN in North, and even
South, America. In fact, based on his Standing Committee speech, Abp Ndukuba is working to expand into other provinces as well including his African neighbors.

Regarding the AMC, a recent report to GAFCON partners from the Right Reverend Andy Lines, leader of the Anglican Mission in Europe (AMiE), brought the welcome news of greater unity among the Anglican Churches that have left the Church of England in order to remain faithful to orthodoxy and the historic Christian faith.

That "unity" includes several mission churches, collectively known as Anglican Mission Congregations (AMC), that are lead by Nigerian clergy.

The Church of Nigeria, or at least Abp Ndukuba in his letter, attempts to lay claim to the AMC, many of which have no connection to the CoN. It was not that long ago that many of these churches were formed under Abp Peter Akinola and Abp Okoh, Abp Ndukubs' two predecessors.

In following the vision of Abp Akinola from so many years back, GAFCON identified and consecrated Bp Lines to, in effect, unify the effort of bringing orthodox Anglican Churches together.

However, Abp Ndukuba has turned away from GAFCON and his predecessors. In his letter to Bp Lines concerning these churches all coming together, Abp Ndukuba said, "This is a complete breach of protocol and disrespect and undermining of our authority...". He goes on to assert that he is not releasing these churches. While Abp Ndukuba could act maliciously against the clergy of these churches according to CoN canons, the churches themselves are not under his authority. Who would have thought that CoN clergy faithful to the GAFCON
movement may now need to seek refuge from the CoN primate?

The second document, recently signed by-laws with direction for the future structure, governance, and full incorporation of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM) in the United States and Canada. CONNAM will undoubtedly seek non-profit status as a church organization in the US and commensurate status in Canada.

This action by Abp Ndukuba represents a complete reversal of course from supporting the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), to now competing with the ACNA and the Episcopal Church. Supporting the ACNA had been the previous position held by the former primates of the Church of Nigeria. Abp Peter Akinola, who birthed the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), is regarded as the original visionary of ACNA and has been unwavering of his support.

Abp Nicholas Okoh, who transferred one diocese to the ACNA while primate, played a strong role in supporting Bishop Derek Jones and the Anglican Chaplains who most recently transferred to the ACNA as a full Jurisdictional body. While VOL reached out to Bishop Felix Orji, bishop for the Anglican Diocese of the West and current Coordinating Bishop for CONNAM, for comment, there's been no statement -- yet.

Bishop Orji has long been on record of supporting the ACNA and many have conjectured that, following the move of his closest fellow bishop, Bp Jones, to the ACNA, that he would soon follow. There is little doubt that the majority of CONNAM churches under Bp Orji are committed to the unified orthodox movement in North America under the ACNA. I suspect many churches in ADOTW, if not the entire diocese, won't now find a way to move completely to the ACNA.


Letter to Andy Lines:


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