The Anglican Communion is getting closer and closer to a split over the issue:
Nigeria's Anglican church has deleted all references to the mother church in Britain from its constitution, deepening a rift over homosexuality but stopping short of a feared schism.
The Nigeria and Ugandan Anglican churches broke ties with the U.S. Episcopal Church over its 2003 consecration of a gay bishop living with a partner. A new dispute over same-sex unions in England has deepened divisions.
On Tuesday, a statement on the Nigerian church's Web site said that "all former references to 'communion with the see of Canterbury' were deleted" at a meeting last week. Instead, the constitution affirms ties with all churches that maintain the "faith, doctrine, sacrament and discipline of the one holy, Catholic and apostolic church."
With 17.5 million members, Nigeria's church is second only to the mother Church of England among the branches in the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Episcopal Bishop of Washington John Chane has blasted the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola saying that he did not speak for the whole church, focused too much on sexuality issues and failed to address poverty in his own country.
Writing in the September issue of Washington Window the diocesan newspaper, Chane excoriated the Nigerian Primate saying he was "one of the most outspoken of this small group of men who presumes to speak for the entire global Communion."
Chane then ripped Akinola saying that he did not speak for him in how he interprets the Bible.
"If the Church is to really focus on the issues of the Bible's teaching and the core teachings of Jesus Christ, why does this Archbishop spend so much time on human sexuality issues while so many of his countrymen and women are oppressed by poverty, illiteracy and violence? Where is the strong voice of the Nigerian Anglican Church in opposing the continued neglect of vulnerable women and children, or in advocating on behalf of the poorest of the poor? Jesus was very clear in his hard teachings that one could always tell the righteous from the damned by whether they lived into feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger and visiting those who were in prison."
As we prepare for our Harvest Festival Services, we see that what’s left of the English Church is indistinguishable from a lunatic asylum. Everywhere you peer inside this once refined and educated, lovely and lovable national institution, there is only a mania for self-destruction. How else can you account for church services that compete with pantomime for dramatized idiocy? For example, I recently attended a conference for clergy at a beautiful medieval church in Oxford. It was supposed to be a choral Eucharist but there was no organ music—only some plinky-plonky stuff on an out-of-tune piano and mindless choruses in the Jesus Goes to Toytown fashion: interminable glum repetition of what was not worth singing once.
Then the Bishop came on and told us that at the laughably misnamed riot called “The Peace” he didn’t want us merely to shake hands but to “hug one another”—and not just to hug one another, but to put our arms on our neighbor’s shoulders and say three times, “You are everlastingly loved.” When, with varying degrees of squeamishness, grown men fawned on one another in this way, the Bishop came on again in full pantomime mode and said, “Not loud enough! Again—louder!” Not one word from the Book of Common Prayer throughout the three-day conference or indeed from any source that might be identified as religious in the traditional sense. And that Bishop is now Archbishop of York.