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 Communionâ€™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.
â€œA Lambeth Conference that will not be able to guide the church in a way that the church will embraceâ€ and â€œcomplyâ€ is â€œnot worth attending.â€ The Church of Nigeria would be a â€œbad steward, to use Godâ€™s resources and waste it on jamboree. God will hold me responsible and accountable for spending money in that way.â€
Attendance at a Lambeth Conference does not make you a â€œChristian,â€ nor a â€œleaderâ€ nor â€œbishopâ€. â€œYou are all these before you go to Lambeth,â€ the Nigerian church leader stated. He saw the Lambeth Conference as a â€œgathering of bishops in fellowship to think together, to pray together and seek Godâ€™s face together, discuss issues in an atmosphere of peace and conviviality.â€ It â€œdoes not legislate,â€ nor can it tell â€œany diocese or provinceâ€ what to do.
However, â€œas a result of the fellowship, praying together, studying the word of God togetherâ€ the bishops at Lambeth come to a â€œconsensus of opinion, which we now commend to the provinces for further actions.â€ The Nigerian church believed the â€œmoral strengthâ€ underlying its deliberations and decisions â€œshould be strong enough to make everybody comply with it.â€
The 1998 Conference â€œcame to the conclusion that homosexual conduct is not acceptable in our church.â€ However the American Church had rejected this, saying its approval of homosexual behaviour â€œis their business and not ours. They said it is good for them. â€œThat 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,â€ Archbishop Akinola said. â€œFor 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.â€