By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
The Orthodox Anglican Church was established in 1964 in South Carolina, USA, when Bishop Parker Dees and a group of Episcopalian ministers rose against the ECUSA, leading to the break away from the Canterbury-based Church, where their complaints included ECUSA's liberalism and secularism; frequent review and watering down of the Book of Common Prayer; remarriage of divorced persons; ordination of women as bishops and priests; amendment of the Scriptures, contrary to Rev. 22: 18-19; tribalism, especially in Africa; worldliness; clericalism-rule by the clergy; and prelacy – emergence of powerful clergy ruling the Church.
In 1967, the Church was registered as a world-wide communion. This answers the question frequently asked as to the difference between the OAC and Canterbury based churches. OAC decided to go back to the basics of true Anglicanism.
Apostolic succession in Orthodox Anglican Communion believes in the preservation of the episcopate in apostolic succession as well as the faith, worship, the teaching of traditional Anglicanism and historical Christianity. It is also known as the Anglican Continuum or Traditionalist Anglicanism, i.e. it believes in the traditional forms of Anglican faith and worship from which the Canterbury churches have deviated in recent decades. The continuing Church encompasses a number of Christian churches in various countries that are Anglican in faith, history and practice, while remaining outside the Canterbury Anglican Communion. These churches believe that the traditional forms of Anglicanism have been revised or abandoned by some Anglican Communion Churches. The continuing Churches, therefore, say that they are continuing or representing Anglicanism's line of apostolic succession, beliefs and practice.
Orthodox Anglican Communion exists in America-USA, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, Venezuela. In Africa, Orthodox Anglican is found in Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, D. R. Congo, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, Cameroun, Tanzania and Rwanda. It also exists in Asia, Europe and Australia.
Entering into Nigeria In August 2011, Orthodox Anglican Communion was founded when contact was made with the headquarters by Rt. Rev. C. I. Umane. Eventually, the Diocese of Benin was created during the Synod in Lagos on September 24, 2011. Umane was consecrated as Bishop of Benin Diocese on October 30, 2011. The Orthodox Gospel Church of Nigeria International was registered on September 18, 2012. On January 25, 2015, Umane was presented as Archbishop.
At the ceremony, two Dioceses, i.e. Edo North-Central and Diocese of the East, were created. We are connected to the original vision of the Anglican reformation, a return to the doctrine and practice of the early Christian Church without Roman additions or Protestant subtractions, The Orthodox Anglican Communion is both Catholic (universal) and Evangelical, giving rise to the classification of Orthodox Anglicanism as the Via Media, i.e. the 'middle way' between Catholicism and Protestantism. Catholicism Christianity denotes the entire body of Christians. Evangelical Christianity is based on the gospels; more particularly the gospel which emphasizes personal conversion and faith in the atonement through the death and resurrection of Christ as a means of salvation. We also subscribe to the Lambert Quadrilateral of 1830 as the non-reformable points of the doctrine of Orthodox Anglican Communion.
We accept the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the revealed word of God, containing all things necessary for salvation, and being the rule and ultimate standard of faith. We accept the Nicene Creed as the 'Symbol of the faith' and the Apostles' Creed as the baptismal; with the Athanasian Creed as an exposition of the doctrine of Trinity.
We accept the two sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion. We accept the Historic Episcopate as essential to the ministry of Christ's Church, adapted locally to the varying needs of the people of God around the world. The Orthodox Anglican Communion is 'Biblical Catholicism', meaning that of the three great historic branches of the Church, namely Catholic Anglican, Eastern, and Roman, Orthodox Anglican Communion is the only one based upon the revelation of God in the Holy Scriptures.
To the Orthodox Anglican Communion, the Scriptures are inviolate and immutable. The Orthodox Anglican Communion is a biblically based faith, adhering to the word of God, thus separating it from the Eastern and Roman Communion which have introduced human-made doctrines into the Church.
We believe in the genuine spiritual power of the sacraments. We believe in the power of God to heal the sick and broken-hearted. We believe that loyalty to our Lord Jesus Christ is expressed by service to our fellow men and women. We believe in the inward spiritual development and the outward amendment of life of every Christian. We stand by the biblical faith and morality. We believe that marriage is a sacred bond between man and woman, thus rejecting gay practices, including same-sex marriage described as an abomination. We believe seriously in prayers and supplication.
The traditional books of worship are the Book of Common Prayer and King James Authorized Version of the Bible. We reject secularism and liberalism which run against the traditional beliefs of the Church, watering down of the essential truths of the gospel, the election of women into the episcopate. Orthodox Anglican Communion is seriously opposed to the appointment of gay priests, gay bishops and same-sex marriage.
The Orthodox Anglican Communion believes in two sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion because they were ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ, and are necessary for salvation. Others such as marriage, ordination, confirmation, penance, orders and extreme unction are not counted as sacraments because not everybody is expected to be involved in them, and are not necessary for salvation. The Orthodox Anglican Communion does not believe in transubstantiation, that is, the Holy Communion elements of bread and wine actually turned into the real body and blood of Jesus Christ at the consecration. The Orthodox Anglican Communion bishops trace their consecration back to the Holy Apostles and thence from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, OAC has received hostility, the campaign of calumny, pure hatred, court cases (pending) and accusation of gayism (pure lies as can be seen from our belief system, etc).
OAC does not hate anybody, personalities or organizations. What we ask for from rival churches, especially from the Anglican Church Nigeria, is to join hands with us to evangelize, bring back Anglicans in Diaspora (Anglicans who left Anglican Churches). They are in millions. We forgive our detractors in the spirit of Jesus Christ. Let us rise up and build the Church of God (Neh.2: 17 – 18).
Umane is Archbishop of Nigeria, Adewumi is Bishop of Ogun Diocese, Omoregie is Bishop of Diocese of Edo North Central, Baaba is Bishop of Diocese of Abia and Idowu Ojo, Bishop of Diocese of Oyo.