Davis Mac-Iyalla, director of Changing Attitude Nigeria arrives in London on 5 July directly from a 20-city speaking and preaching tour at 52 events across the USA, where he addressed the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church meeting from June 11–14 on the homophobic violence promoted by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
On arrival in England, his first engagement will be to attend the General Synod of the Church of England. In York he will talk at a meeting of the CA York group on Saturday 7 July and a fringe meeting at General Synod on 8 July. He will meet bishops and members of Synod. He also hopes to meet Bishop Benjamin Kwashi of the diocese of Jos, Nigeria, who is at Synod for a meeting organised by Anglican Mainstream.
On Tuesday 10 July Davis will travel from York to Hexham to speak to the CA Newcastle and Durham group, and has invitations to speak to the CA groups in Ripon and Leeds, Lincoln, Birmingham, Manchester and Guildford. He will meet the Changing Attitude England trustees, preach in Devizes and at St James Piccadilly and St Thomas Finsbury Park in London and meet Canon Philip Groves, Facilitator for the Listening Process, at the Anglican Communion office in London.
Davis has recently hosted a meeting for 30 West African lesbian and gay Christian leaders, the majority from Changing Attitude Nigeria. They were joined by leaders from LGBT Christian groups in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo together with Colin Coward, Director of CA England and the Revd Stephen Coles, Vicar of St Thomas Finsbury Park and member of General Synod.
Lambeth 2008 and the Listening Process
Davis Mac-Iyalla’s visit to the UK and USA is a contribution to the listening process to which the Windsor Report committed the Anglican Communion. Changing Attitude believes that the worldwide church needs to hear lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered voices from different cultures and different Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
Davis will be part of the team gathered together by Changing Attitude, Integrity and Inclusive Church to be present at the Lambeth Conference in 2008. With LGBT people from a number of other African Provinces, Davis will be available to speak first hand about the authentic experience of lesbian and gay Anglicans in Africa.
Church of Nigeria persecutes Davis
In December 2005 following the first General Meeting held by Changing Attitude Nigeria in Abuja, the Church of Nigeria, (Anglican Communion) became aware of his presence, a gay Nigerian Anglican.
The Rev. Akintunde Popoola, Director of Communication for the Nigerian Church, published a disclaimer on the church web site designed to destroy Davis’s reputation. Canon Popoola denied that Davis exists, denied he is an Anglican, denied he is gay, accused him of theft, accused him of falsely planning to marry a bishop’s daughter, accused him of soliciting money from foreigners under false pretences, and then posted to numerous Anglican websites denouncing Davis.
Changing Attitude England has substantial evidence showing that all of Canon Tunde’s accusations were invented by him and are false. We have Davis’s Church membership card, photos of his first communion and his licensing as a lay reader. We have pictures of him after he was knighted by the late Bishop of Otupko, in the bishop’s company. Knighting is an honour given to senior laypeople who have made a significant contribution in certain dioceses of the Nigerian Church.
When Bishop Ugede died unexpectedly, Davis was dismissed as principal of the Diocesan School because he was gay. Since founding CAN he has been falsely arrested after printed materials were found in his car, beaten and held for some days in a police cell. He has received death threats, one delivered directly to his door last December, been forced to flee his home and become estranged from his family. Whatever Christians think about the morality of homosexual behaviour, no person should be treated in the way Davis has been treated by his own Church.
Opposition to gays in Nigeria
The Primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria persuaded the Nigerian government to introduce a bill outlawing gay marriage in an attempt to silence once and for all Davis and the work of Changing Attitude. The Bill would make it illegal for lesbian and gay people to associate with each other, including with friends and family and in church, and ban gay access to the media or to visit a gay website. Lesbian and gay people face imprisonment for even having lunch together, let alone organising a meeting for prayer, Bible study and mutual support.