Archbishop Akinola to stay till 2010

Posted on July 18, 2008 
Filed under News

Archbishop Peter AkinolaBishops of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) on Sunday rejected a notice of voluntary retirement from Archbishop Peter Akinola as Primate of the Church. They requested him to complete his tenure, which ends in 2010.

The Dean of the Church, Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa, said in Abuja that the bishops prevailed on Akinola to rescind his decision to retire by January 2009.

Anikwenwa, who spoke at a service of consecration of two new bishops, said the Church of Nigeria bishops took the decision after they received the Primate’s retirement notice on Saturday.

He said the veto by the bishops was preceded by wide consultations with other Anglican leaders, particularly from the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

Anikwenwa said Akinola was asked to complete his 10-year tenure as Primate to ensure continuity of some global initiatives like GAFCON, which he had strived to organise.

Speaking to newsmen, Akinola admitted that he first got a hint of the moves by the bishops at GAFCON, which ended last month in Jerusalem. He recounted that when he was elected Primate in 2000, he took a personal decision to retire from active pastoral work at 65, five years ahead of the mandatory retirement age of 70.

His election as a Primate allowed him a single term of 10 years, according to the Church canons and constitution, before the mandatory retirement age of 70.

He said: “For the next 15 months, from January 2009, the focus would be on discipleship, youth development and of course GAFCON will be on the front burner; we have to win it.

“On discipleship, I strongly think Anglicans must concentrate on growing deeper in our faith to truly love the Lord and serve him in all aspects.”

The Church of Nigeria, which has the largest concentration of Anglicans worldwide, was created in 1979 after it was carved out from the Anglican Province of West Africa.

Akinola is the third Primate, after Archbishop Abiodun Adetiloye and Archbishop Timothy Olufosoye.

– From the Church of Nigeria.