Archbishop Robert Duncan of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) had the pleasure today of announcing the election of the Ven. Julian Dobbs and the Rev’d Canon Dr. Felix Orji as suffragan bishops. These bishops-elect will serve the ACNA and its member jurisdiction the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), which was founded by the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.
Earlier, Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA had called Archbishop Duncan from Nigeria to consult on the Church of Nigeria’s House of Bishops’ prayerful deliberations to elect these new leaders. Archbishop Duncan remarked, “I am glad to congratulate our good partners in CANA and the Church of Nigeria on their wise selection of new bishops for our common ministry here in the ACNA. Godly and faithful leadership is vital to who we are as Anglicans, and I have no doubt that Bishops-elect Julian Dobbs and Felix Orji will be great servant-leaders for the ACNA and the church at large.”
The episcopal elections on Friday, March 4, 2011, capped a week of missional work by the Church of Nigeria’s Standing Committee, led by Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. Archbishop Duncan commented, “The ACNA is truly indebted to Archbishop Okoh and to the Church of Nigeria. They’ve been strong leaders in GAFCON and the Global South, and they’ve stood by us here in the Anglican Church in North America. The bishops they’ve already given us have been invaluable to the ACNA. I know that Julian and Felix will help us to continue to go from strength to strength as a Province in North America.”
In addition to the election of Julian Dobbs and Felix Orji, the Church of Nigeria announced that it would receive the Rt. Rev’d Derek Jones as a suffragan bishop. Bishop Jones is already a suffragan bishop in the ACNA College of Bishops.
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What is really worthy of note in this article is that the Nigerian House of Bishops recognized the orders of Bishop Derek Jones, rejecting the recommendations of the 1958 Lambeth Conference relating to the churches of episcopi vagantes bishops and the orders of these churches. The Nigerian House of Bishops' recognition of Bishop Jones' orders, while not quite on the same order as The Episcopal Church's rejection of the Lambeth Conference's recommendations on human sexuality, represents a major parting of the ways between the Church of Nigeria and the Lambeth Conference and is further evidence of the breaking apart of the Anglican Communion.