Delta State — The Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion has threatened to break away from the Church of England over the decision of the later to drop opposition to gay bishops in civil partnerships.
The announcement, from the Church's House of Bishops, would allow gay clergy to become bishops if they promise to be celibate. The move that did not go down well with Conservative evangelical Anglicans.
Arising from its 2013 annual retreat, held at the Ibru Centre, Agbarha Otor, Delta State, the Bishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) said they heard with dismay, the news of the recent action of the Church of England House of Bishops.
According to Vanguard, the Primate, Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev Nicholas Okoh said "the decision to permit homosexual clergy in civil partnerships to now be considered for the episcopacy is one step removed from the moral precipice that we have already witnessed in The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada.
"When the Church of England failed to exercise its legal and moral right to opt out of the civil partnerships legislation in 2005 warnings were given in England and around the Anglican Communion that this was a first step towards the recognition and institutionalization of behavior contrary to the plain teaching of scripture and reaffirmed for all Anglicans by the 1998 Lambeth Conference in its Resolution 1.10.
"Sadly those warnings were ignored and we now face the next step in a process that could very well shatter whatever hopes we had for healing and reconciliation within our beloved Communion.
"We are also grieved by the timing of this decision coming only days before the retirement of Archbishop Rowan Williams and before Dr Justin Welby becomes the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
"We urge the House of Bishops to reconsider their decision so as to allow for a full, prayerful and sober reflection on the call on all clergy, especially bishops, to live holy lives and not encourage what are, at best, morally ambiguous partnerships that make it impossible for a bishop to be a wholesome example to the flock. Especially, since the supposed assurances of celibacy, while perhaps well intentioned, are both unworkable and unenforceable," said Okoh.