Head of Nigerian Anglicans congratulates new Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin Welby: The new Archbishop of Canterbury

The leader of Anglicans in Nigeria urges the new Archbishop of Canterbury to be courageous

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nicholas Okoh, on Friday, congratulated Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, on his appointment as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Mr. Okoh said, shortly after British Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Mr. Welby as the new spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion that he looks forward to working with the new leader.

With the appointment, Mr. Welby, 56, has become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and his several roles include providing spiritual leadership to more than 70 million Anglicans worldwide including Nigeria.

“We congratulate him heartily and wish him a successful tenure. I am optimistic that he can do something because he has a very strong negotiating ability,” Mr. Okoh said.

“The major task is how to heal the wounds and bring the Anglican Communion together in the West, Africa and the rest of us.

“It’s very important for us to work together but the attitude of some is what is giving trouble to the Communion and we want him to direct his attention and energy to healing wounds and bringing everybody together,” he added.

Mr. Okoh, the leader of some 18 million Anglicans in Nigeria, asked Mr. Welby to be courageous and embark on major restructuring of the governing system of the communion.

“We also want to encourage him to uphold the faith once delivered to all the saints.

“We wish him well and wish him the very best. He should not be afraid as we will not push for anything that will destroy the communion. We wish him the very best,” he said.

The process of the selection of the Archbishop of Canterbury begins with the 16-member Crown Nominations Commission, CNC, which select candidates for the job.

The committee’s recommendations are then narrowed to two candidates, whose names are forwarded to the Prime Minister to appoint, in consultation with the Queen of England.

The Nigerian Anglican Church had in 2008, boycotted the Lambeth Conference, the once-in-a-decade conference of all Anglican bishops because of sharp divisions over homosexuality.

The church was critical of Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, over his handling of the divisions in the church.

The Nigeria Anglican Communion under the leadership of Peter Akinola was furious over the invitation of the bishops of the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Canadian Anglican Church, who had promoted the homosexual agenda in the communion, to the Lambeth Conference.

Mr. Okoh along with other Anglican primates often criticised Mr. Williams’ leadership style.

Last week in Abuja, Mr. Okoh argued that the British Government and the monarch should no longer decide who emerges as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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