Skip to comments.Nigerian Priest Loses License in Diocese of Long Island [for speaking out]
Posted on 05/06/2005 2:42:40 PM PDT by sionnsar
BROOKLYN, NY (5/6/2005)--A Nigerian priest in the Diocese of Long Island has had his license revoked by Bishop Orris Walker because he wrote and told the bishop he opposed the consecration of V. Gene Robinson an openly gay man to be the bishop of New Hampshire.
As a result, the priest who is a U.S. citizen and married with four children now finds he is without income, his car could be repossessed, is $9,000 in arrears in rent, and faces being evicted from his home. The Rev. Emmanuel Sunday Nduka told VirtueOnline that after completing his Master's degree in theology in New York in 1999, he returned to Nigeria where he was ordained to the Diaconate the same year. He then returned to the U.S. where he was assigned to St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Brooklyn by Bishop Walker. A year later in 2000 he returned to Nigeria where he was ordained to the full priesthood. The Rev. Nduka had begun his ecclesiastical career as a lay reader in Nigeria in 1991.
Returning again to the U.S. in 2000 Bishop Walker assigned him to be Assistant Rector at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Bushwick, Brooklyn where he served till 2003.
While at St. Thomas, Walker directed the Rev. Nduka to attend General Theological Seminary in New York where he completed a Diploma in Anglican Studies.
"Inside, I felt it was Bishop Walker who should be taking the course in Anglican Studies, since I was born and bred Anglican from my roots in Nigeria. But I obeyed and told Bishop Walker that I hoped that this was what was needed to be "included" as a full Episcopalian and that after this study I would receive a bill of health as an Episcopalian --having now 'washed' myself seven times in this Seminary's River Jordan!"
After completing the course in 2003 with a 3.2 average, Bishop Walker paid for the Nigerian priest to attend an Interim Priest course in Portland, Oregon.
The Rev. Nduka's background is solidly Anglican. His father Josiah Nduka was a Catechist in what was then known as the Church Missionary Society church in Colonial Nigeria. "He was primarily responsible for church planting in villages near Nnewi in the Eastern part of Nigeria in what used to be Biafra. He was headmaster/Catechist rolled into one and built mud-church buildings that served as schools on other days. Later the CMS Church,--a colonial outreach from the Church of England and formed to spread Christianity to "heathen lands," became known as the Anglican Church in Nigeria."
For the Rev. Nduka the "bomb dropped" when he learned that Canon Robinson was a self-confessed homosexual living with another man and was being consecrated a bishop in the Episcopal Church.
"Among those that voted 'yes' to his becoming a bishop was my Diocesan Bishop Orris Walker. I could not believe it. I went to my Bible again to see if that verse was still there -- Leviticus 18:22-- "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: It is an abomination. The New Testament has it too--that fornicators, homosexuals, will not inherit the kingdom of heaven."
The Rev. Nduka said he e-mailed his Bishop quoting Leviticus 18:22 but got no reply. "His mind was made up. His 'yes' was not a mistake. In that e-mail I told him that were Christ here to make a decision, He would tell Canon Robinson to "go and sin no more," but Robinson is still living in sin and holding tightly to the man he was caught in adultery with! And now they made him their Bishop!"
"My mind became agitated when I saw that my bishop was not about to recant the 'yes' he voted. Why could he not see this simple instruction from Christianity's highest book --the Bible? Then I saw clearly that his mind was made up and that reason, one of the legs of the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason--he held reason to be the highest rank."
The Rev. Nduka argued that of all the 2.2 billion Christians in the world including the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox churches, most Anglicans and Pentecostal churches oppose homosexuality while less than 800,000 Episcopalians, a slowly dwindling denomination, believe otherwise. "I was bound by my conscience not to deviate from Scripture," he told VirtueOnline.
Weighing his options the Rev. Nduka wrote to Bishop Walker saying that he refused to go the way of a diminishing sect like the Episcopal Church.
"I then wrote to Bishop Robert Duncan, Moderator of the Network of Anglican Dioceses and Parishes in Pittsburgh, and he wrote back stating his joy "at my standing for the Gospel truth and our faithful expression of Anglicanism in North America. He then welcomed me as an associate clergy into the Network."
The Rev. Nduka said Bishop Duncan then wrote a letter to Bishop Walker on September 16, 2004 informing him of my decision and within a week of his receiving the letter Walker wrote to him revoking his License to officiate in the Diocese of Long Island.
"I was stunned. I did not know that if you disagreed with your bishop on something as central as sexual sin that you could be fired just like that. Whatever happened to the whole of idea of inclusivity, of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience? I immediately felt the impact of the loss of my position. I now face immediate poverty, threat of eviction, the loss of my car and I am presently seriously in arrears on my rent."
The Rev. Nduka said he bore no ill will or anger towards Bishop Walker, and while he disagreed with him theologically and morally he still felt kindly disposed towards his former bishop although he now distances himself from him.
For anyone who would like to support the priest or know of a job opening, they can write to him at: Rev. Nduka6@cs.com or 1417 (4G) New York Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11210
The Nigerian priest said he is looking for a faithful Anglican parish where he can minister the gospel and serve people without fear of repercussions and reprisals.
FOOTNOTE: Bishop Walker has a history of vindictiveness towards orthodox priests in his diocese. Today, as a result, only a handful remains and they live in fear of his ecclesiastical heavy-hand. He recently fired the Dean of the cathedral James L. Cardone who had just lost his son to suicide, with the Dean calling his dismissal "callous...that even the worst of business executives would have enough depth of human understanding and sensitivity not to do." Cardone blasted Walker saying, "In my opinion, he is a disgusting, despicable excuse for a human being, and he should have been removed from the church years ago." Furthermore Walker, an alcoholic, would neither confirm nor deny a report that he had AIDS, and, among other things, he once misappropriated funds from his diocesan accounts, tried to broker back into the church a sodomite priest who appeared in Penthouse magazine under an article titled, "The Boys from Brazil." Walker recently described the financial stewardship supporting the work of the diocese as "tragic".
The question now is what will orthodox ECUSA bishops do about this outrage?
That "Walker" guy (I can't call him a Bishop) is in dire need of prayers. God have mercy on his soul.
I'm curious to see what happens when and if the international Anglican community dropkicks the US Episcopalians and disfellowships them.
That Walker is a sweet piece of work. His actions trying to re-instate the priest who rated an article in PENTHOUSE Magazine, Boys From Brazil, should have gotten him busted in any decent church. He's been and out of rehabs, and he just keeps getting worse.
If this episode is what it appears to be, it is an absolute outrage. I could possibly understand if Rev. Nduka had publicly staged a confrontation, but this was done privately through e-mail. Unless there is some sort of restriction within the Anglican Communion against clergy questioning the views or actions of their bishops (and granted I am Catholic so I don't really have any idea), this seems petty and vindictive. I have spoken with clergymen from many denominations (Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist) who all agree Africa is where many if not all of the great Christian leaders and theologians are now coming from. What was done to Nduka is immoral and cruel by any standard and it is even more outrageous because he was privately trying to point out that his superior was condoning a life of sin.
I doubt that you are making book on this, but if you are, I'll take "nothing".
Tell him to "cross the Tiber". We'll take him and his family too. We've been doing this more and more lately as the ECUSA bleeds its brightest and best.
I seem to recall another great Christian leader/theologian who lived in a place called Hippo in North Africa.
*grins* Yes, I think I've heard of that fellow. Didn't he write a book about his "heart being restless"?
Last month's death of John Paul II prompted me to read a great deal about Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria. He converted from animism at a young age and devoted his life to Christ. Many people from nearby villages in Nigeria travel several hours each way every Sunday to attend mass, which I find remarkable since many Americans I know (of ALL denominations) will routinely skip services for any number of insignificant reasons.
What amazes me is that Arinze is typical of African Christians in their passion for a relationship with the Lord. Perhaps it is true that we Americans have so many material comforts that our lifestyles can minimize our desire for Christ, unless we continue to seek a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him.
Yes, but it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle!
I sent him information on St. Barnabas in Shoreline, WA. It's APA & has been looking for a rector for more than a year now. They draw Nigerian members from all over the Seattle Metro area. In August of each year they celebrate "Nigerian Sunday" - an opportunity for them to dress in African clothing (beautiful!), sing & praise in their native tongue, & enjoy a potluck fellowship with their traditional foods (yummy!). If you have a chance to visit, you'll never forget these warm & welcoming people. Sounds like it just might be a match made in Heaven.
It's a shame the good people of that church have to suffer like that. I can't see the true Christians in that faith being left to do anything but leave and start the faith again elsewhere.
Our old APA church, (we'd still be there but we had to move to a different town/state) :( had a large Nigerian membership.
They are a warm, friendly and caring people who are on fire for Christ and are open in their sharing of that passion.
I couldn't agree with you more. What a blessing this good priest would be to these good people at St. B's.
Good for you! I had mentioned them to him, but didn't know their name. I also didn't know they were looking for a rector.
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