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“Why Anglican Primate should rescind Bishop Adebogun’s suspension”

by Church Times
A source in the Anglican Diocese of The Trinity in Indiana, USA has given reasons why the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Revd Henry Ndukuba should rescind the decision to suspend the Bishop of the Diocese, The Rt Rev Kayode Adebogun.
Adebogun was  suspended because of  the series of utterances and actions attributed to him since the General Synod of the Church at Nnewi in September 2023.
His utterances were said to have  undermine the authority and lawful directives of the Primate of the Church and the General Synod of the Church with regard to the Church’s Mission in North America and Canada generally.
The Primate according to a  statement by the Church on February 1 2024 was “acting pursuant to its inherent powers in the Constitution and Canons of the church (Canon XVI 1 paragraphs (g) and (h) of the Constitution and Canons) to suspend any consecrated Bishop whether serving in Nigeria or outside Nigeria in relation to breaches of the said Constitution and Canons.”
But the source in ADOTT who preferred anonymity said in the first place the situation that led to Adebogun’s suspension should not have been allowed to fester to the point that it became a media issue.
The source said,  “Anglican Church is a church of order.  it has a way of resolving its issues quietly over the years. I can’t recall any time in the history of the church, especially the Church of Nigeria when it resulted to media publication, public shaming, and humiliation the way we experienced under the current primate
“The primate cannot elect a bishop alone. He cannot consecrate a bishop alone, cannot translate a bishop alone, and does not have the authority to discipline or suspend a bishop alone.  The decision of the Primate to unilaterally suspend bishops is not the Anglican norm and way.”

Primate acted utra vires

According to the source, “The primate acted ultra vires in the unilateral suspension of Bishop Adebogun.  “By the tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Primate is only first among equal. He is not an Anglican Pope  We cannot afford to drag the office in the mud.”
He explained further that The Episcopal Synod of bishops elects a bishop and only the same body has the authority to discipline.  “Suspension is usually an outcome of a genuine and honest investigation. To suspend and later investigate is a clear violation of fairness and cannot be supported in the Scriptures or a circular society,” the source said.

Church Constitution

Drawing heavily on the constitution and canons of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) the source said,  “Chapter XIV page 30, Chapter XVII, pages 42-49 and  Canon XVI  Pages 93 -109 clearly state the processes for Church discipline. None of these was adhered to by the primate. All bishops including the primate promise to uphold the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria. It isunfortunate that the primate has violated the constitutions and Canons of the church.”
The way forward for the church according to the source is for the primate to first rescind the decision to suspend the Bishop and then follow the constitutions he promised to uphold at his presentation as primate in March 2020.
He expressed concern that if the issue is not resolved amicably, it may lead to legal battle which may not augur well for the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.

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