Nazir-Ali denies being 'sectarian'

|PIC1|The Dean of Southwark has criticised the outgoing Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, of placing himself “outside of full communion” with the Anglican Church.

Very Rev Colin Slee made the comments in the introduction to the annual report for Southwark Catheral, which was given to congregants attending last week’s Easter Sunday celebration, according to The Telegraph.

The Dean spoke against the decision of Bishop Nazir-Ali, as well as the Bishops of Lewes and Willesden, to boycott last year’s Lambeth Conference. He said the boycott raised questions about their future in the Anglican Church.

"One reason why peace broke out at the Lambeth Conference was that the Puritan fringe stayed away, they boycotted the Conference – and they included the Bishop of Rochester, Lewes and Willesden in the UK," he said. "It is my view that any bishop who engaged in the boycott has placed himself outside full communion and his status as a bishop of the Anglian Church must be open to some debate."

The Bishop of Rochester was one of many Anglican clergymen from around the Communion to boycot the Conference over the inclusion of the leadership of the US Episcopal Church, which has strongly promoted homosexuality, despite traditional Church teaching that it is a sin.

Dr Nazir-Ali recently announced he would be resigning as Bishop of Rochester so that he could concentrate on helping persecuted Christians around the world.

This too came under criticism from Rev Slee who said, "The Bishop of Rochester has just announced his resignation, whatever he may say, it is clearly a move towards a sectarian alternative church intentionally designed to create turbulence in the Anglican Communion."

Rev Slee also spoke out against the conservative group GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference), which was formed last year in the face of increasing liberalism in Anglican churches in America and Canada.

Rev Slee accused GAFCON of “bullying conformity” and being sectarians who “flouted the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury”.

Responding to the accusations, Bishop Nazir-Ali was quoted by The Telegraph as saying he had made clear the reasons for his resignation and that they were not sectarian.

He said, "I have said what I want to do and they have nothing to do with these issues at all. The Dean has a right to say what he feels, I am sure about that."