The Archbishop of Nigeria had some weeks ago proposed a two day work stoppage in Nigeria for all Christians. Not much was heard from within Nigeria. So what was the Archbishop up to? Quite a bit it seems. On March 28th, the second day of the work stoppage, the good Archbishop was hard at work doing advance work on hostile incursion into the province of the Anglican Communion known as the Episcopal Church.
The Archbishop of Nigeria and the Bishop of Forth Worth had a meeting on March 28th, and the Archbishop wrote Bishop Iker a letter dated March 30th, in which he said,
“As you know one consequence of this (brokneness of the Anglican Communion) has been the isolation and alienation of a growing number of Nigerian and other Anglicans. In response to this the Church of Nigeria has established CANA (a Convocation for Anglicans in North America) to provide pastoral care for those Anglicans who are unable to find a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church during these difficult times. I was pleased to hear your enthusiastic support for this endeavor and especially gratified by your willingness to fully recognize and work in close partnership with the episcopal leadership that we expect to elect and consecrate in the coming months.”
Please note the phrase, “to fully recognize and work in close partnership with the Episcopal leadership that we expect to elect and consecrate in the coming months.”
It would seem from what the Archbishop states in the letter that Bishop Iker has promised to “fully recognize and work in close partnership” with newly ordained bishops from Nigeria, meaning of course to work with them in the United States.
OK. So what we have is a single diocesan bishop “fully recognizing” these bishops. Are they bishops working only in the diocese of Fort Worth? Not likely. CANA – now termed a Convocation for Anglicans in North America – will be sending its bishops here with a connection to a local diocese but with a wide range of responsibilities for mission that is dismissive of the duly constituted Anglican Province in place.
No one is fooled: This is an attempt to get around the spirit and the canons concerning bishops exercising their ministries only in their dioceses, not to mention the specific recommendations of the Windsor Report. The fact that Bishop Iker “fully recognizes” these soon to be bishops is irrelevant to the charge that can be laid against the Archbishop of Nigeria, the bishops themselves and Bishop Iker. There is in this the great potential for collusion in actions against the provincial authority and autonomy of the Episcopal Church.
The Archbishop of Nigeria has become an embarrassment to Anglicanism, and the Bishop of Fort Worth has unfortunately linked his future to the Archbishop.