The Archbishop of Nigeria, in his pastoral letter to the Church of Feburary 25, 2006 wrote the following:
“The Anglican World Today:
These times are perilous for our Communion world-wide, resulting from the continuing obstinate revisionist agenda, master-minded by ECUSA and her allies. We must intensify our prayers for the truth of the word of God to be the guiding light for the Church. We will also do more by ensuring that we do not associate with ECUSA in any official capacity. We have already taken a decision to train our clergy and church staff within our own environment and in partnership only with those who hold similar biblical views of God and human sexuality with us. The emergence of Church of Nigeria Mission to America, known and called, ‘Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), registered Charity Trust in U.S.A., is a serious step to put into action our bible-based convictions. We solicit your prayers for God to guide our future, especially with our being called upon to offer leadership both to the Global South and CAPA. We remain committed to the orthodox faith rooted in sound doctrines about Jesus Christ and the purity of the Gospel as a sure way of gaining our true economic emancipation and presenting a holistic mission now being threatened by some churches in Europe, North America and Canada.”
The September 2005 Press Release that accompanied the announcement of the change in the Constitution that allowed for convocations of churches related to the Church of Nigeria outside Nigeria said this, “The Constitutional change also allowed the Church to create Convocations and Chaplaincies of like-minded faithful outside Nigeria. This effectively gives legal teeth to the Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in Americas (CANA) formed to give a worshiping refuge to thousands in the USA who no longer feel welcomed to worship in the Liberal churches especially with the recent theological innovations encouraging practices which the Nigerians recognize as sin.”
CANA at least at first was an acronym for “Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in Americas.” In an odd little piece titled, “The miracle of CANA continues,” the Archbishop slides this title in the direction it has now taken… there he said, “Earlier this year we announced CANA - a mission of the Church of Nigeria, a Convocation for Anglicans in North America. We see this as a creative way to provide pastoral and episcopal care for those alienated by the actions of ECUSA. As we said in our letter of April 7th, 2005, 'Our intention is not to challenge or intervene in the churches of ECUSA or the Anglican Church of Canada but to provide safe harbour for all those who can no longer find their spiritual home in those churches.' While CANA is an initiative of the Church of Nigeria it is our desire to welcome all those who share our faith and vision for the Church.”
So the transmogrification is complete: It starts as CANA, “the Convocation of Anglican Nigerians in Americas,” and ends up being CANA, “a Convocation for Anglicans in North America.” It moves from any semblance of being about a place of refuge for Nigerian Anglicans, and becomes an extension of a provincial structure of one province in another whose target population is members of the Episcopal Church. The second title, the one for which letters of incorporation are written, is unabashedly the creation of a second Anglican structure in the United States and Canada.
The Church of Nigeria and its Archbishop have broken off official relations with the Episcopal Church and so it is no wonder that they see the United States as “open missionary territory.” But this set of actions is so clearly in total disregard of long standing Anglican Communion principles that there is more than adequate grounds for demanding that the Church of Nigeria be held accountable before the rest of the Communion.
The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada need to immediately demand that the Church of Nigeria end its activities in developing the Convocation for Anglicans in North America, and that if it does not do so that it be held accountable to the rest of the Communion for such actions.
If we keep silent, the Church of Nigeria simply walks away with the license to do as it wishes while claiming to be true to Anglican principles. Enough!