General News of Saturday, 5 January 2019
A retired Archbishop of the Orthodox Anglican Church of Ghana (OAC), Most Rev Dr. Jacob Augustine Welbourne, has taken issues with the Primate of the institution for authoring a statement about his dismissal – which story was carried by the DAILY GUIDE.
As a principled and disciplined person who would not support or condone any illegality, he said he could not have supported the appointment of the person who has been made the Archbishop ‘because he was not properly elected and consecrated as per our Constitution and Canons. I was asked to support this illegality for which I declined hence this unfortunate alleged action by the Primate.’
Continuing he said that ‘as a retired Archbishop of the Orthodox Anglican Church of Ghana, the Cannons are no longer applicable to me, since I am no longer in active service nor do I occupy any office that the Canons and the Constitution regulate. I have not by any means shown gross disregard to the church and the office of the Primate, but have always been following due process as stipulated by our own Constitution and Canons.’
He described as very sad that a lot of the clergy including the Dean of the Cathedral have left the Orthodox Anglican Church of Ghana with their huge number of congregants as a result of this unfortunate action of the Primate, the Most Rev. Thomas E. Gordon and allegedly endorsed by the Diocesan Convention of the OAC in Ghana.
He recalled the correspondence Archbishop Thomas E. Gordon wrote to the Standing Committee of the Church in Ghana on April 16th 2016 as to how to elect a new Archbishop for the Church in the country – part of which asked that they must be individuals who have dedicated much time and effort to Christ and the global Orthodox Anglican movement. It added that ‘Archbishop Jacob Welbourne should be honoured and respected for his service.’
Unfortunately, he pointed out that ‘the Primate did not heed to his own advice. Rather he disrespected and circumvented the very canons he had advised the OAC Ghana to follow. As the immediate past Archbishop of the Church in Ghana, I advised him and the Archbishop of Nigeria, Dr. Umane against circumventing the Constitution and Canons for electing a bishop for it would create confusion.’
He went on ‘if the publication as stated by the DAILY GUIDE that you are hereby notified that any public assertion of ecclesiastical status derived from the Orthodox Anglican Communion is null and void is to be believed and followed, then, all subsequent ordinations and consecrations made by me during my tenure of office as an Archbishop which include virtually all the African Bishops and Archbishops, will also be null and void.
Nobody, he said, can strip him of his hard-earned reputation which he added he would defend using all legal means.
Most Rev Dr Jacob Augustine Welbourne’s reactions was triggered by a story carried by the DAILY GUIDE in its edition of December 24th, 2018 titled ‘Orthodox Anglican Church Sacks Archbishop’.