A group of Nigerian bishops including Nicholas Okoh, the Primate, visited the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace when in the UK in February.
Their message to the Archbishop was the need to allow Nigerians to worship in “the Nigeria way” in abandoned Church buildings or to allow them a scheduled time in parish churches where they could express themselves unreservedly in worship. The reason given was the need to save them from the unceasing and intense bleeding of their young executive Anglicans who are moving over to the New Generation Churches due to what they describe as the “cold” worship style in England.
Nicholas Okoh says their request was viewed positively by the Archbishop of Canterbury who requested them to put the proposal in writing, assuring them that it is a practical proposal.
Today, somewhat belatedly, I was asked by the Church of England Newspaper to comment on the proposal from Changing Attitude’s perspective. In 10 minutes at the end of the evening, this is what came to mind:
In asking for the freedom to worship in the Nigerian way in abandoned church buildings or at scheduled times in parish churches where they can express themselves unreservedly in worship, Archbishop Okoh is arguing that different groups of people in the Anglican Communion should be free to worship in ways appropriate to particular groups.
Changing Attitude is equally free to argue for dedicated space where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people may worship in ways appropriate for us. As Archbishop Okoh asks for the freedom to worship in England, we would argue for the Church of Nigeria to make time and space available in churches in Nigeria where LGBT people can worship in freedom.
In fact, Changing Attitude does not believe in the creating of culturally distinct churches. There may be variety in the way we worship, but we all woriship one Lord Jesus Christ as Anglicans and LGBT Anglicans are integral to congregations in the UK and in Nigeria. We hope the Archbishop of Canterbury will encourage renewal in congregations where the life of the Spirit is diminished and pray that Nigerian Anglicans worshipping in the UK will contribute their own rich heritage and passion to this renewal.