Church of Nigeria responds to NJ parish fracas

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PRESS RELEASE December 19, 2022

The attention of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria (CoN), His Grace, the Most Rev’d Dr Henry C. Ndukuba was drawn to a series of videos recorded recently in Christ Church, Irvington, New Jersey, USA, during meetings, Church worship and events being held in the Church, and circulated widely.

The Primate has also been aware of criticism directed at the CoN leadership as being indifferent or worse, to the avoidable crisis in one of the churches that is connected with the CoN mission in the United States.

CoN however hitherto deliberately resisted the urge to go public and perhaps fuel the unfortunate internal crisis and the suspicion and mistrust that unfortunately culminated in the disruption of a worship service and involvement of New Jersey law enforcement agents to restore a semblance of order.

This statement is merely to put the record straight.

The leadership of CoN obviously disapproves of the disorderly and unwholesome behavior on display in the videos.

However, the unfortunate characterization of the loud and disruptive but otherwise non-violent protest by Church members inside and outside the Irvington Church as “domestic terrorism” is completely disingenuous. One can therefore only consider it be part of an invidious plot to cow all those who express dissent over the proposed unilateral takeover of the Church in Irvington by ACNA without due process.

Through continuing approaches and discussions with the leadership of ACNA the CoN has been doing its very best to peacefully resolve this apparently anticipated but utterly mismanaged crisis.

CoN committed itself to this path of cooperation and peace and has consequently chosen not to be distracted by disparaging and false statements, publications and most uncharitable motives attributed to it. One publication even speculated that Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) authorized the disruption in the Church!

CoN’s dignified silence, even though nothing could be further from the truth, has gone a long way to diffuse the tension while trying to get to the bottom of the festering crisis in the Irvington Church that spilled over in public on 3rd and 4th December 2022.

Such inflammatory comments are however most disheartening and now seem to suggest that the entire incident in the Irvington Church was perhaps carefully orchestrated by certain persons; in order to provoke a response that would naturally be censured.

The CoN is especially disturbed by the commentary from certain quarters and amongst certain ACNA Bishops in particular, who have sought to disparagingly associate the Church of Nigeria with such conduct and have attributed the altercations that took place to encouragement and support from the CoN.

It is most astonishing that some of such communications by Bishops in the Church of God should go so far as to falsely and maliciously allege that the Primate of the CoN instigated the individual Church leaders and parishioners shown and heard in the videos.

The CoN as a partner of ACNA within Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), remains wholeheartedly committed to working with ACNA to reconcile the bitterly divided congregation of God’s people in the Church at Irvington and to restore mutual understanding, love and peace in the Church.

The LORD be with you,

The Venerable Gershinen Paul Dajur, PhD,

General Secretary, Church of Nigeria.

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