At Axis of Episcopal Split, an Anti-Gay Nigerian - New York Times
At Axis of Episcopal Split, an Anti-Gay Nigerian - New York Times: "The way he tells the story, the first and only time Archbishop Peter J. Akinola knowingly shook a gay person’s hand, he sprang backward the moment he realized what he had done.
"Archbishop Akinola, the conservative leader of Nigeria’s Anglican Church who has emerged at the center of a schism over homosexuality in the global Anglican Communion, re-enacted the scene from behind his desk Tuesday, shaking his head in wonder and horror.
“This man came up to me after a service, in New York I think, and said, ‘Oh, good to see you bishop, this is my partner of many years,’ ” he recalled. “I said, ‘Oh!’ I jumped back.”
Archbishop Akinola, a man whose international reputation has largely been built on his tough stance against homosexuality, has become the spiritual head of 21 conservative churches in the United States. They opted to leave the Episcopal Church over its decision to consecrate an openly gay bishop and allow churches to bless same-sex unions. Among the eight Virginia churches to announce they had joined the archbishop’s fold last week are The Falls Church and Truro Church, two large, historic and wealthy parishes.
In a move attacked by some church leaders as a violation of geographical boundaries, Archbishop Akinola has created an offshoot of his Nigerian church in North America for the discontented Americans. In doing so, he has made himself the kingpin of a remarkable alliance between theological conservatives in North America and the developing world that could tip the power to conservatives in the Anglican Communion, a 77-million member confederation of national churches that trace their roots to the Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
“He sees himself as the spokesperson for a new Anglicanism, and thus is a direct challenge to the historic authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury,” said the Rev. Dr. Ian T. Douglas of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass.
The 62-year-old son of an illiterate widow, Archbishop Akinola now heads not only Nigeria — the most populous province, or region, in the Anglican Communion, with at least 17 million members — but also the organizations representing the leaders of Anglican provinces in Africa and the developing world. He has also become the most visible advocate for a literal interpretation of Scripture, challenging the traditional Anglican approach of embracing diverse theological viewpoints."
Akinola's response when meeting the gay man sounds just like something Jesus would have done, doesn't it?