Changing Attitude Network Nigeria responds to criticism by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

The Director of Communications of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Rev. Canon AkinTunde Popoola, issued two disclaimers in the form of press statements on 28 December 2005. The first statement warned the general public of the activities of fraudulent personalities. The statement implies that Davis MacIyalla, Director of the Changing Attitude Network, Nigeria (CAN), has claimed to be a knight of the Church when he is not, and to have collected money for non-existent events. The second statement alleges that Mr MacIyalla’s claim to be a member of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) is false.

Canon Popoola claims that extensive searches failed to identify that Mr MacIyalla is a registered church member. Davis MacIyalla is registered as a member of St Phillips Anglican Church, Kermo FCT, Abuja and St Andrews Anglican Church, Bakana, Degema LGA in Rivers State.

Davis MacIyalla is categorically not seeking to exploit nor attempting to defraud unsuspecting foreigners of money. Changing Attitude (England) has ascertained the integrity of Davis MacIyalla from independent contacts in the UK and Nigeria and affirms his authority as coordinator of CAN.

Davis was invested as a knight on 6 October 2002 by Bishop Ugede at a service in St John’s Anglican Church in Otukpo. Changing Attitude (England) is in possession of pictures which include Davis MacIyalla and Bishop Ugede, taken on this occasion. Details of this event were printed in Good Knight Magazine published by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

Canon Popoola implies that Davis MacIyalla defrauded the then dying Bishop of Otukpo under the guise of marrying his daughter. As a gay man Davis states that the Bishop’s family will not like the implications made and will respond to the claim because Bishop Ugede had never promised to give his daughter to Davis MacIyalla.

The General Meeting of Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN) took place in Abuja from 25 to 27 November. Evidence of the reality of the meeting can be found in the report published in the New York Times dated December 18, 2005 written by Lydia Polgreen, a staff reporter who attended the General Meeting. The attempt to defame Mr MacIyalla in the press releases seems to be designed to undermine and discredit his person and work.

Davis MacIyalla has never had a “C & S church”. He started work in 2001 as the administrator for Bishop Ugede. He has stated categorically that he was not the cashier of the school and did not run away with any money or Diocesan documents.

Since its formation in August 2005 CAN has achieved a great deal, including the formation of groups meeting in 5 dioceses, a first General Meeting held in Abuja, and significant press and media coverage in Nigeria and other parts of the Anglican Communion. The objective of CAN is to contribute to the commitment made by the Anglican Communion and specifically by Archbishop Peter Akinola to listen to the experience of lesbian and gay Anglicans. CAN also enables lesbian, gay and bisexual members of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to meet and find support and encouragement in their faith.

The press releases are also an attack on the Church of England and the Churches of North America. They are accused of being misguided and having deviated from the Biblical teaching that homosexuality is highly displeasing to the creator God. The Changing Attitude networks in England, Nigeria, Scotland and New Zealand, and our sister Integrity networks in Brazil, Canada, Uganda and the USA, with LGCM Anglican Matters UK, represent thousands of faithful lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Anglicans. The Church of England, the Episcopal Church of the USA and the Anglican Church of Canada are honouring their pastoral responsibility to their LGBT members and the commitment to listen to our experience made by the Primates and in the Windsor Report. We are working together across the Communion to ensure that our experience is heard with open hearts and minds.

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