Davis Mac-Iyalla, the Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, Bobby Ikekhuame Egbele, leader of the CAN Group in Benin City, Nigeria, and the Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, recently met in Cape Coast, Ghana, for a meeting to develop Changing Attitude’s plans for the Lambeth Conference in July/August.
Whilst there they took the opportunity to visit the seminary of St Nicholas and were warmly welcomed and invited to meet the final year class of students. The tutor generously invited us to address the class and we remained for 1 hour and 30 minutes, responding to the student’s questions about homosexuality. The questions were wide-ranging and challenging. The students asked about the Bible, the experience of gay people in Nigeria and the teaching of the church. A number of them raised their hands when asked if they knew of any gay people themselves. There was a degree of ignorance about the holy scripture. All of them thought there were over 30 references to homosexuality in the Bible and were surprised to earn there are as few as seven.
We learnt a lot from each other and feel honoured to have been able to meet with the students and participate in the listening process with an interested and significant group of ordinands.
On Saturday 9 February Bobby Egbele and Colin Coward returned to the Seminary and were able to spend 1 hour with the Principal, the Very Revd Dr Victor Atta-Baffoe. He had returned the day previously from a meeting of the Covenant Design Group at St Andrew’s House in London. He was a participant in the Chicago Consultation where Anglicans from around the world met near Chicago from December 5-7 to build international coalitions and develop a strategy for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the church.
Victor Atta-Baffoe encouraged Mr Egbele in his work on behalf of LGBT Anglicans in Nigeria, recognising the very serious and dangerous circumstances under which CAN groups are working. He encouraged both of us to be faithful to our Anglican heritage and to continue to resource the listening process as best we can and to put confidence in the work of the Covenant Design Group and the Lambeth Conference and pray for a church which is faithful to the ministry of LGBT people, lay and ordained.