Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola rejected requests from both Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and proceeded with the May 5 installation of a leader for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), reported Episcopal News Service.
Archbishop Williams and Bishop Jefferts Schori had sent separate letters urging Akinola to reconsider his decision to install Bishop Martyn Minns.
Bishop Jefferts Schori had said the installation "would display to the world division and disunity that are not part of the mind of Christ" and would "not help the efforts of reconciliation."
Archbishop Akinola responded to Bishop Jefferts Schori's letter, saying that CANA provides "a safe place for those who wish to remain faithful Anglicans but can no longer do so within The Episcopal Church."
Archbishop Akinola also criticized Bishop Jefferts Schori for appealing to the ancient church "when it is your own Province's deliberate rejection of the biblical and historic teaching of the Church that has prompted our current crisis."
Archbishop Akinola said he only received Archbishop Williams’ letter after the ceremony. "CANA is for the Communion and we are more than happy to surrender it to the Communion once the conditions that prompted our division have been overturned," he said in response to Archbishop Williams’ letter.
The installation service was held at the Hylton Memorial Chapel, a nondenominational Christian event center in Woodbridge, Virginia.
In his sermon, Bishop Minns reportedly said that the Anglican Communion "is wrestling with irreconcilable truths" and offered CANA as a "gift" to those in the Episcopal Church "who crave a different theology."
"The Church of Nigeria itself has almost nothing to offer," Archbishop Akinola reportedly told those gathered. "We are doing this on behalf of the Communion. If we had not done this many of you would be lost to other churches, maybe to nothing at all."