Conservative Anglican leader is named president of Nigeria's Christian association

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2003

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) Archbishop Peter Akinola, the leader of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican), has been elected president of the Christian Association of Nigeria an alliance of Protestants and Roman Catholics in a nation with a strong Muslim presence.

The post is just the latest position of responsibility for Akinola, one of the most important Christian leaders in Africa.

Akinola also is the spokesman for an international ''working committee'' of bishops who claim to represent more than 50 million Anglicans and have declared ''impaired communion'' with the U.S. Episcopal Church because it elevated an openly gay bishop.

Akinola, whose own church has 17.5 million members, has a third role as new chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, which unites the continent's 37 million Anglicans, about half the total in world Anglicanism.

Akinola, a former missionary with a master's degree from America's Virginia Theological Seminary, was elected bishop of Abuja in 1989. He retained that responsibility when he was named Anglican Primate of All Nigeria last year.

The Anglican Communion says Nigeria has an estimated 60 million Christians.

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