As controversy over the dismissal of some gay pastors of Anglican Church in Isiala-Ngwa and Arochukwu Ohafia Diocese continues, the church has ruled out the possibility of reversing the dismissal of the clergy, adding that gay practices is forbidden in the church of Nigeria.
A Prominent clergy in Umuahia said it does not matter to them what the Arch Bishop of Canterbury and the secretary think about it because they have their own, saying that what is important is that the Church of God in Nigeria forbids it and will not condone such practices.
The church official who spoke exclusively to News Critic said there is no room for appeal in the matter because the dismissed clergy were given fair hearing. He disclosed that the process that led to their dismissal was painstaking, starting with the setting up of the Bishop’s Court where the affected ministers were invited to come and defend themselves before the panel. He pointed out that the panel tried them and they were found guilty, hence they remain guilty of the offence of homosexuality.
According to him, the church in Nigeria has made it clear that anyone caught in such acts will be expelled from the church which is what the authorities in those diocese have done, and it is in line with the church code, he adds.
‘’So, there is no room for appeal or to recall them, but we might not rule out the possibility that they may later find Jesus Christ. Then when we meet in Heaven we greet’’.
Asked why it appears to be common in Anglican church, the clergy countered that it is not true, saying that the difference with other denominations is that while they may choose to hide their own sin, the Anglican church believes in exposing and taking action against any minister that goes contrary to commit the sin of sodomy. He said the church is poised to bring such priests to justice in accordance with the Biblical teachings.
It is of a truth that the Anglican Communion has intensified its efforts to weed out gay clergy men from amongst its fold. The renewed vigour with which the church is battling this malaise despite the opposition from England is a pointer that Nigeria and indeed Africa are alien to the culture of gay practices.
Recall that the bill to legalize gay marriage in Nigeria suffered a defeat at the National Assembly, a development that did not go down well with our foreign partners, who are promoting and pushing for gay rights of individuals globally.
However, like a plague that is spreading like wide fire in the church of God, some Anglican priests appear to have become unashamed in the acts of sodomy.
In a letter titled Notice of Dismissal from the Ministry issued by the Diocese of Isiala-Ngwa and signed by Rt. Reverend Temple O Nwaogu, presiding Bishop of Isiala-Ngwa Diocese, the church said that ‘’following a proper investigation and recommendation submitted by the panel of enquiry who found the priests guilty of homosexual practices, they are hereby dismissed from the ministry’’.
The letter read in part: ‘’We wish to inform you that the clergy whose names appear underneath have been dismissed from the Diocese of Isiala-Ngwa and their licenses withdrawn’’. They gave the names as Reverend Canon Emmanuel Nwankwo, Rev. Kelechi Nwachukwu, Rev. Sunday Azubuike, and Rev. Chris Achonye.
He said ‘’the decision was reached by the Diocesan Board following a proper investigation and recommendation submitted by the panel of enquiry who found them guilty of homosexual practices. The letter stated that in view of this, anyone dealing with them should be very careful as such can tarnish the image of the church of God.
News Critic reports that on May 5, the Church of God Anglican Communion Arochukwu/Ohafia diocese of Abia State dismissed two clergies for similar acts of sodomy. It said their dismissal followed the investigation and recommendation of the committee that looked into the allegation levelled against the duo.
A letter entitled: “Notice of dismissal from ministry”, dated April 29, 2019, and signed by Bishop of the Diocese, The Rt. Rev. Johnson Onuoha, circulated to all archbishops and bishops of the church said an investigation by the diocese, after it got wind of the allegation, confirmed that the two men were neck-deep in the act.
The memorandum which was also copied to the Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria and Bishop of Abuja, The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, warned any persons dealing with the expelled clerics to be mindful as such could dent the image of the church.
The letter read in part: “We wish to inform you that the following clergy have been dismissed from the diocese of Arochukwu/Ohafia. They are Rev. Chukwuemeka Duru and Rev. Solomon Chukwuzubelu Okonkwo.
“The report got to us that they were indulged in the act of homosexuality. We investigated and found them guilty of such accusation. We were left with no option than to withdraw their letters of order (licences and certificates of ordination) and dismissed them from the ministry.