2/05/2007

Church of Nigeria: Expected amendment?

The Press release about the upcoming special General Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) included the following quote from the Bishop of Sokoto, The Rt. Rev. Augustine Omole: "It is going to be a history making event. It is expected that there will be an amendment of the constitution of the Church of Nigeria at this meeting. So it will be on record that this amendment was made in Sokoto." This session of the General Synod is being called a "special" session, so its agenda may be related to matters of interest to those of us who are concerned about Anglican Communion affairs. Then again, perhaps not. It meets for three days, February 6-8, just prior to the pre Primates Meeting strategy session in Nairobi and the Primates meeting in Dar Es Salaam so I have some interest in whether or not this is just accidental or related.

There was no indication in the press release as to just what that amendment to the Constitution might be about. You can read the Constitution of the Church of Nigeria HERE.

So, what will that amendment be about?

Here are some possibilities:

As it stands now the status of CANA is that it is a convocation of churches related to the whole of the Church of Nigeria with an oversight group within the Church of Nigeria and with Bishop Martyn Minns as a bishops assigned to the work of CANA. (See Constitution , CofN, Chapter 9 (39)c). Perhaps there will be changes making it possible for CANA to be a diocese of the CofN.

The Constitution of the CofN allows for the incorporation of dioceses in areas adjacent to Nigeria (9 (39)e). Perhaps the change is to allow for the incorporation of dioceses outside and not adjacent to Nigeria, thereby making it again possible for CANA to move from being a convocation to a Diocese, and (as importantly) for a diocese, or at least the people of a diocese, elsewhere in the Anglican Communion to become part of the Church of Nigeria. (This will produce a snarl in Anglican Communion affairs.)

Then again, there is the issue of the tenure of the Archbishop of Nigeria. As it stands he can only be in place ten years. (5(32) Nothing prevents the General Synod from extending the length of service of the Archbishop.

Then again, none of this may be what the special session is about.

We ought to be clear, as well, that the Church of Nigeria is as free as we are to enact such rules for its common life as it sees fit. My interest here is to know if some of those changes have consequences regarding wider Anglican Communion affairs.

So...what other possibilities might there be?

Share your thoughts!

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