Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Open letter to Archbishop Peter Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns

Monday, 25 June 2007

by Colin Coward

Dear Archbishop Peter and Bishop Martyn,

The Daily Champion Newspaper, Lagos (June 17) and the Church of England Newspaper (June 22) have published reports of a statement issued by Rev. Canon AkinTunde Popoola, Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

The Church of England Newspaper reports that Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, met with the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church. It continues with a '"warning issued by the Church of Nigeria concerning confidence tricksters using the name of the church to fraudulently solicit funds, quoting the church's communications director as saying "we have even seen a situation where a supposed knight collects money to organise homosexual meetings that only take place on sponsored news reports"'.

Canon AkinTunde is repeating allegations against Davis Mac-Iyalla published on the Church of Nigeria web site on December 28 2005. This new statement is presumably timed to coincide with Davis's widely reported presence at the Executive Council and designed to undermine his authority and integrity.

Archbishop Peter and Bishop Martyn, you both met Davis Mac-Iyalla at the White Sands Hotel, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania during the Primates meeting. Both of you were present as, in conversation with Davis, Archbishop Peter remembered the official occasions when he had previously met Davis in Nigeria. Davis was then administrator for the Bishop of Otukpo, the Rt Revd Prof. I Ugede and accompanied him to national and diocesan meetings and services.

Bishop Martyn, I asked in Tanzania, in the presence of Canon Chris Sugden and Canon David Anderson, if you would contact Canon AkinTunde and ask him to stop publishing false allegations against Davis, allegations which have led to death threats against him. You agreed to do so.

Canon AkinTunde has nonetheless repeated the false allegations. He seems intent on destroying the reputation of a Christian brother, and has put Davis' life at risk. A member of the Church of Nigeria delivered a hand-written letter to Davis's place of work earlier this year, threatening to kill him by pouring acid over him.

We believe that you will be as horrified as we are that such threats are being made and we urge you to issue a statement condemning all false allegations made against Davis Mac-Iyalla and stating that any Anglican who contemplates killing Davis or threatens violence against him is disobeying the 6th commandment and would commit a crime against God and humanity.

Yours faithfully,
The Revd Colin Coward
Director of Changing Attitude England
Davis Mac-Iyalla
Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria

The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said on 25 June 2007:

"Canon Popoola, in repeating his allegations against Davis Mac-Iyalla, is challenging the honesty and integrity both of Davis and myself. Changing Attitude England has received documentation from Mr Mac-Iyalla refuting the allegations, much of which we have placed in the public domain. We have demonstrated that Davis Mac-Iyalla has told the truth about himself. He is not a confidence trickster fraudulently organising homosexual meetings as Canon Popoola has claimed.

"What Canon Popoola is continuing to do may reasonably be described as evil. He is deliberately publishing falsehoods and lies with the intention of destroying Davis's reputation, knowing that this might be achieved by murder. He has been the agent of a story which has put Mr Mac-Iyalla's life at risk, estranged him from his family and seriously affected his health and well-being.

"In restating the false allegations, Canon Popoola has compromised the integrity of Archbishop Akinola, Bishop Martyn Minns, the Church of Nigeria and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. The allegations contravene everything the Anglican Communion has officially published about homosexuality since the Lambeth Conference resolution 10 of 1978. Paragraph 146 of the Windsor Report says '… any demonising of homosexual persons, or their ill treatment, is totally against Christian charity and basic principles of pastoral care.'

"The Episcopal Church is being judged because it elected and consecrated Bishop Gene Robinson in accordance with its own polity. Archbishop Akinola and Bishop Minns will be judged if they condone something far more serious - a deliberate attempt to destroy the reputation of a fellow Christian and to put him at risk of serious violence, because, as an openly gay Nigerian Anglican, he stands in the way of their attempt to prevent the full inclusion in the Anglican Communion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people."


Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England
Tel. Office: 01380 724908
Mobile: 07770 844302
email: colin@changingattitude.org
Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria
Email: davis@nigeria.changingattitude.org

Source: http://www.changingattitude.org.uk/news/newsitem.asp?id=305

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