Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Rev. Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, was elected a bishop today by the Anglican province of Nigeria with the mandate to oversee a cluster of expatriate Nigerian parishes in the United States.

Mr. Minns, 63, pronounced himself “stunned” by the news, which he received midmorning on his cell phone.

The priest said he was notified by the archbishop of Nigeria, the Most. Rev. Peter J. Akinola, who immediately put him on a speakerphone to address hundreds of Nigerian Anglicans gathered in Abuja, the country’s capital.

“I said I was honored by their willingness to place their trust in me,” said Mr. Minns, who immediately called Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee with the news.

“We haven’t really had an opportunity to think about this yet,” a diocesan spokesman said this afternoon.

The cluster, known as the Convocation for Anglicans in North America, is a group of 20 to 25 churches established by the Anglican Church of Nigeria as a conservative alternative to the liberal U.S. Episcopal Church.

“We have deliberately held back from this action,” Archbishop Akinola said in a statement, in the hope the 2.2-million-member Episcopal Church would turn back from its 2003 consecration of Canon V. Gene Robinson as the world’s first openly homosexual bishop.

But the actions of last week’s Episcopal General Convention, he added, “make it clear that far from turning back they are even more committed to pursuing their unbiblical revisionist agenda.”

Mr. Minns, who already had planned to retire from Truro, has been runner-up several times as bishop for U.S. Episcopal dioceses. No date has been set for his consecration to the episcopate.

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