Covenant will not stop The Episcopal Church’s Innovations, says Akinola

By David W. Virtue in Singapore
April 19, 2010

The former Primate of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola lashed out at the Episcopal Church today telling delegates to the Fourth Global South Encounter that the continued actions of the Episcopal Church, especially the forthcoming consecration of an avowed lesbian to the episcopacy, makes a new Anglican Communion almost inevitable.

“If the churches in the Global South sign up, would they then become a new Communion? Wouldn’t that further polarize the church? On the other hand, the Churches in the Global South cannot forever continue to merely react to the actions of the Western churches. If TEC for political reasons chooses to sign, and we can’t stop them, but continues to disregard the mind of the Communion on these matters that have caused us so much grief, it will make nonsense of the whole exercise.”

Akinola blasted the Episcopal Church saying that the Communion leaders have worked very hard over the last three years trying to agree and sign a new Anglican Covenant, but it is clear that the Episcopal Church will never honor it, even if they did sign it.

“Initially, it was felt that a comprehensive Anglican covenant would help heal the wounds and restore confidence in our relationships within the Anglican family, as it would provide for accountability. But as things stand today in the Communion, this Encounter gathered here in Singapore needs to assure itself if the proposed covenant offers any such hope.

“Has the torn fabric of the Communion been addressed? Can the Covenant address the problem? There are those who are in what they call ‘impaired communion’ and others in what is called ‘broken sacramental communion’ with The Episcopal Church in North America and the Anglican Church of Canada. All calls for accountability and repentance have not been heeded. Decisions taken by the Primates to resolve the problem at their meetings in Brazil, Dromantine and Dar es Salam have been jettisoned. Consequently, the Communion has not been able to mend the ‘broken net’,” he roared to some 130 stunned archbishops, bishops, clergy and laity from 25 countries that make up the Global South.

The Covenant is a very serious and weighty matter, he thundered from the pulpit of St. Andrew’s cathedral. “Be it between God and his people or between business partners and even in the context of marriage, the terms and conditions of any covenant must never be taken lightly.

“It is the eighth year since we have not all been in communion with one another, globally, in the same Anglican Church. It appears that some of our leaders value the ageing structures of the communion much more than anything else, hence, the illusion that with more meetings, organizations and networks the crises will disappear. How wrong.”

Akinola tore into The Episcopal Church. “We all know that signing the covenant will not stop TEC from pursuing its own agenda. In fact only recently, it elected and confirmed another openly gay priest (this time a woman) to the episcopate. The Communion is still unable to exercise discipline. We are God’s Covenant to the world, yes, but we are divided. We lack discipline. We lack the courage to call ‘a spade a spade’. Our obedience to God is selective.

“Our desire in the Global South is for a genuine healing of the Church. Our desire is for the restoration of sacramental communion among all the churches in the global Anglican family. Much precious time has been spent, or maybe wasted, on this crisis. The real mission of the church, which is to make Christ known to all is suffering and in some cases neglected. We in the Global South cannot continue in this way. Yet, we see no light at the end of the tunnel. Time is God’s precious gift for which we are accountable to God as His stewards. This Encounter must show us the way forward in all of this.”

“Where do we go from here?” he cried.

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