Nigerian churchmen lament CoE synod vote on women bishops

Joseph Adetiloye.jpg

Leaders of the Church of Nigeria have voiced their displeasure with the vote by the Church of England’s General Synod to permit the consecration of women to the episcopate. While the Nigerian House of Bishops has not issued a formal statement in the wake of the 14 July 2014 vote, the Bishop of Ngbo, the Rt. Rev Christian Ebisike, told the News Agency of Nigeria the Church of England was being unfaithful to Scripture. “The Archbishop of Canterbury and by extension the Church of England did not do their homework very well and I do not think they consulted widely with other Provinces of the Anglican Communion,” the bishop said, adding the Church of England “should see itself as a role model for the Anglican Communion but unfortunately, it is not living up to that role.” Bishop Ebisike observed that while women served as evangelists and teachers in the early church according to scripture, there were “no women apostles.” He added that “when you ordain a bishop and he is not recognized by some parts of the communion that is not a bishop.” After a wide consultation within the church among clergy and lay leaders, in 2005 the Church of Nigeria’s standing committee permitted women to be ordained to the deaconate, but not to the priesthood and the episcopate. In December 1993 the Bishop of the Diocese of Kwara in Central Nigeria, the Rt. Rev. Herbert Haruna ordained three women to the priesthood over the objections of the primate, the Most Rev. Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye, Archbishop of Lagos (pictured). The Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria subsequently nullified the ordinations and sanctioned Bishop Haruna.