Sunday, October 5, 2008
The following is from an interview of Archbishop Peter Akinola of
the history of why he has been selected to be the reluctant
spiritual leader of the new worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Archbishop: "First of all, in the Christian Association of
Nigeria - which brings together all our Christian people, Roman
Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostal - my colleagues elected
me president for four years. So, I had to play the fatherly role though
I was much youngerthan many of the other elders, because they
looked up to me for leadership and guidance.
At the regional level we have the Council of Anglican Provinces of
Africa - we have 12 primates in Africa, like Dr Rowan in
England is Primate of All England. And the very first time I attended
their meeting, they elected me their chairman. So, again, a huge
responsibility. Each of my colleagues has his own sovereign church,
and yet they call me 'Baba', they call me 'chairman'. I have to work
very hard to ensure that we achieve whatever we want to achieve by
consensus. So, we discuss as gentlemen, as elders, as fellow fathers.
Beyond Africa is what is called 'the Global South' [a grouping of
the 20 of the Anglican Communion's 38 provinces that are in the
southern hemisphere]. Again, my colleagues chose me to be their
Whatever they saw in me, I don't know. So, the same principle, all
the way. You have to bear in mind that each primate, each bishop is
an authority in his own right, with his own jurisdiction, and for
him to submit to your leadership he must be given due respect. And
so you consult with him, you share with him, you don't dictate
to him and so you achieve results.
I've applied the same principle to Gafcon [the Global Anglican Future
Conference], and this afternoon its Primates' Council made me their