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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 20:30 GMT 21:30 UK
Nigerian church slams gay bishop
By Sola Odunfa
BBC, Lagos

One Church, one faith, one Lord, the congregation sang at the Cathedral Church of Christ in Lagos at the weekend.

Church bishop
Will the Church of Nigeria break ranks?
But the Worldwide Anglican Communion may not remain a united body for long if the current controversy over the place of homosexuals in the Church is not resolved soon.

The appointment of an openly gay bishop in the Church of England has pitted the church provinces in Africa against those in Canada, the US and in England.

The African opposition is led by the Church of Nigeria whose Primate, Archbishop Peter Akinola, sees the appointment as a "satanic attack on the Church of God".

I believe it is not right and... the Church of Nigeria has every right to consider what is best for it, even if it means breaking up
Nigerian Christian

The Reverend Canon Akin Johnson of the Cathedral Church of Christ said in the sermon that homosexuality had become an additional serious problem which must be rooted from the church of God.

This is not a position shared strongly in the liberalised Western churches.

But it is one to which worshippers at the Church of Nigeria Cathedral in Lagos subscribe.

Domestic support

At the end of the service I spoke to several people in the congregation and asked their views on homosexuality in general, and the appointment of an openly gay bishop in particular.

"It's an abomination. How can two men marry? It is against the Bible and it is against religion. They should not have appointed him at all", said one female member of the congregation.

Michael Kalmuk and Kelly Montfort in Canada
A gay wedding in Canada also sent shockwaves through the church

"These white people, they are very different. They are very funny. They have their own reasons for doing these things which are not African at all. We should not copy them", said another member.

"I believe it is not right and if there is no reconciliation on the matter, the Church of Nigeria has every right to consider what is best for it, even if it means breaking up", said a male member of the congregation

From these responses Archbishop Peter Akinola, Primate of the Church of Nigeria, would seem to have a strong domestic support base for his uncompromising reaction to the liberalism in churches in the West.

Gay rights row 'reinforced' homophobia
08 Jun 03  |  Oxfordshire
US church elects gay bishop
07 Jun 03  |  Americas

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