Dear friends, It is Easter weekend and tomorrow we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, risen from the tomb to bring to us the new life in God which is his gift of love and truth. This Holy Week and Good Friday many of you will have followed Jesus from his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday with the crowds praising him to his betrayal y Judas, his arrest in the garden of Gethsemane and his trial by Pontius Pilate, abandoned by his friends and followers. This Lent has been a hard time for us, with the Nigerian Government pushed by Archbishop Akinola and our Church to support the bill attacking LGBT people and threatening to withdraw our rights and try to silence us and make us invisible.
This Easter weekend we need to be full of hope and patience whatever is happening in our church and in the Government. The bill has still not been passed into law and we continue to pray and hope and work for its destruction. We will not be sure that we have succeeded in destroying the bill until the election is over and the new Government takes its place. CAN has worked hard with support from many other African and international human rights organisations to alert the world to the dangers of this bill and the threat to us in Nigeria. This has been a great gift despite the dangers, because many people around the world have become more aware of us, of our trials as LGBT Nigerians, and of the need for the World to take action against inhuman and unchristian actions against us.
Despite the fears and trials we have suffered, our God is glorious and victorious and victory is ours once again on this Easter Day 2007. Christ is risen indeed, and CAN members and supporters need to be glad that God is taking us to even greater levels of faith and commitment even in the midst of the hard times we are living through. The Nigerian election is important for all of us. The outcome of the election will decide the way we are going to be governed and the policy of the future. We have an opportunity to make our voice heard when we cast our votes. CAN members and their supporters should think very well before they vote for anyone and make sure you are voting for the best candidate who will oppose corruption and maintain the civil rights of us all. We are making plans for the leaders meeting in May. This will be the first time we have met together as leaders since 2005. So much has happened since then, CAN has grown and matured, the Anglican Communion has presented us with new challenges but also with opportunities to make our voices heard. We are known around the world. We have challenged the idea that homosexuality doesn’t exist in Africa.
We have shown as a lie the idea that the Church of Nigeria doesn’t have LGBT members. The world knows we are faithful Anglicans offering our ministry and worship in our churches across the country. The leaders meeting will be a time for reflection and planning for the future. We can gain strength from each other as we talk of our hopes, share worship and prayer together and meet our Lord Jesus in fellowship and love. We need to continue to work together, united by our faith in God and one in our life in the Lord Jesus. Together, we can move forward from this glorious day of resurrection to build a new kingdom in Nigeria, a Kingdom where God’s blessing is poured out on all his people, heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered.
We will need all our resources to build our strength and work for our security and visibility. God is calling us to tell the truth about ourselves to the world. God is faithful and he will never abandon us. May the risen Christ pour his love and glory on us all this holy season of Easter.