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Akinola Spells Out Motive Of Bishops Conference
by Bolade Omonijo and Justus Waimiri
CAPA 041025-1
October 25, 2004

[CAPA - Nigeria] As Anglican bishops from Africa converge in Lagos, Nigeria, for a special conference, the Primate of Church of Nigeria, The Most Revd Jasper Akinola has dispelled fears that the conference was called to take a position on the homosexuality debate within the Church.

At an inaugural press conference held at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church today, Archbishop Akinola who is the hosting primate and chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) emphasized that the conference had been scheduled since 2001, which was long before the ongoing crisis.

According to Archbishop Akinola, homosexuality is not a problem in Africa. He said: “We are all united on the issue. Out of 12 Primates 11 are united in their view that it goes against the church doctrine and the scripture. It has nothing to do with tradition and culture. Only one Primate has a different opinion and that is not to say that he has the full support of his province. It is his personal opinion.”

Archbishop Akinola said the conference would focus on issues such as poverty and diseases ravaging Africa, with a view to coming up with common solutions.

He said the conference would be held through seven workshops and the plenary sessions. Other issues to be discussed include theological education, the church and the state in the continent and women and youth.

Asked about the position of his church on women ordination, the Primate who was joined at the press conference by Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya and Henry Orombi of Uganda said women priests had already been ordained in Kenya and Uganda among other Provinces in Africa adding that the issue was already being discussed actively in Nigeria. He said the church would take a position by March next year.

The Primate said the theme of the conference “Africa Comes of Age: An Anglican Self Evaluation” was chosen to underline the fact that the church in Africa was now mature and could take an independent position on issues.

He dismissed reports that he walked out of the Primates Standing Committee held in London last week.

The press briefing was also attended by the Archbishop of Lagos, The Most Revd Ephraim Ademowo, the chairman of the local organizing committee, the Rt Revd Peter Adebiyi, the Bishop of Pretoria, The Rt Revd Jo Seoka and the Bishop of Lebombo, the Rt Revd Dinis Sengulane who is representing Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndugane of Southern Africa.