Changing Attitude is not surprised by today’s revelation that Archbishop Peter Akinola’s letter to the Nigerian Synods was in fact mostly re-written by Bishop Martyn Minns.
Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said: “This confirms our suspicion that the agenda of the coalition which has claimed the title ‘Global South’ is to defeat any attempt to overcome prejudice against LGBT people and accept our full inclusion in the church. The agenda of the true Global South is diverse and varied. This document has been generated by an American/English agenda under the cloak of a hijacked organisation called the Global South. The agenda is driven by conservatives from America and England. The American authorship of Nigerian documents which we had long suspected to be the case is now shown to be true. The tragedy is that the conservative campaign against LGBT inclusion drives their determination to split the Anglican Communion. Their strategy is to destroy, not to build up the Communion, to evict LGBT people from the Kingdom of God, not to welcome us in.
On Sunday 19 August the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) published a letter from Archbishop Peter Akinola to the Nigerian Synods entitled “A Most Agonizing Journey towards Lambeth 2008”.
Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, commented at the time:
“Analysis of the text and comparison with Archbishop Akinola’s interview in The Guardian, Lagos, published 30 July 2007 suggests that, like most of the publications from Abuja, this was written for the Archbishop by his conservative American secessionist friends. It is dishonest. It misrepresents church history and the recent history of the Anglican Communion.”
This analysis has now been confirmed by the article in today’s Church Times, 24 August. It confirms the suspicion Changing Attitude has long held, that many of the documents and press releases issued by the Church of Nigeria and Archbishop Peter Akinola have their origin in or are heavily edited by Bishop Martyn Minns, Canon Chris Sugden, Canon David Anderson and other conservative secessionists.
Colin Coward and Davis Mac-Iyalla (Changing Attitude England and Nigeria), Caro Hall (Integrity USA) and Scott Gunn (Inclusive Church) were present at the Primates’ Meeting at the White Sands Hotel in Tanzania, February 2007. Today’s report confirms the deep suspicions we developed as we observed the visits by Archbishop Peter Akinola to the first floor room where Martyn Minns, Chris Sugden, David Anderson and others met every day, all day. We speculated on what they were they doing which could possibly occupy so much time. One possibility was that they were waiting patiently for Archbishop Akinola to come and report to them (quite improperly) what had been taking place in the Primates Meeting next door. We suspect that this is indeed what the Archbishop did.
Today’s report reveals that they were clearly doing more than this. They were drafting material for Archbishop Akinola to take back to the Primates’ Meeting. They prepared an alternative text for the final Communiqué which Archbishop Akinola was given to present to the Primates. The final press conference on the Monday evening was delayed until nearly midnight, almost certainly because Akinola was arguing at length with the other Primates, desperately trying to force the Minns/Sugden/Anderson agenda on the other, mostly unwilling, Primates.
Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said today, 24 August:
“The analysis of Archbishop Akinola’s letter reveals and confirms much more than the information about the complex authorship of the letter.
“The majority of the letter was written or redrafted by Bishop Martyn Minns. This demonstrates that the most extreme demands being made of the Anglican Communion by the secessionists originate not with Archbishop Akinola in Nigeria but from Bishop Minns and other extreme conservatives associated with CANA.
“The conservatives who have been driving the Global South agenda have tried to present themselves as orthodox in contrast to what they claim is TEC’s heterodoxy. In their campaign to defeat those of us who support the full inclusion of LGBT people in the Anglican Communion, they are prepared to use methods which we believe to be abusive, dishonest and fail to embody Christian values.
“The full inclusion of LGBT people in every Province of the Anglican Communion is something for which Changing Attitude and our partners in Integrity will continue to work, with integrity, honesty and openness of process. We have never believe that the fragmentation of the church is a necessary or inevitable result as our Communion works through what is clearly a challenging and painful process.
“We are faithful, orthodox Anglicans. We are working together to provide resources for the Lambeth Conference in 2008. We are developing relationships and networks between LGBT Anglicans across the Communion. We are committed to the Listening Process. We believe the process will both benefit the church and change the church. We understand that it is this potential for change that persuades conservatives to oppose these developments and repeatedly to ignore paragraph 3 of Lambeth Conference Resolution 1.10 which commits the Communion ’to listen to the experience of homosexual persons’. We know this listening process is changing, and will continue to change the Communion, as the experience of Anglican LGBT people becomes more widely heard and understood.”