An Indiana commercial court has issued an order temporarily restraining the Anglican Diocese, Church of Nigeria from dissolving the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity, Inc. (ADOTT).
ADOTT is a member of Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM), a missionary initiative of the Church of Nigeria.
It is also a full-fledged ecclesiastical unit that operates primarily as a missionary, evangelical and church planting movement, with more than 80 parishes spread across the U.S. and Canada.
Olukayode Adebogun (Bishop Kay), current bishop of ADOTT; Nathan Kanu (Bishop Kanu), coordinating bishop of CONNAM; and Henry C. Ndukuba, primate of the church of Nigeria; are the defendants in the suit marked 49D01-2401-PL-003210.
According to the plaintiff, the Church of Nigeria’s legislative body passed a resolution in September 2023, to dissolve ADOTT on February 2, 2024.
They claimed that ADOTT’s board of trustees was not given advance notice of this resolution and did not participate in the vote.
They further revered that there is no provision in ADOTT’s constitution which allows the Church of Nigeria to dissolve the Diocese of Trinity.
The plaintiff also claimed that after the Church of Nigeria’s resolution was announced, ADOTT was subjected to spiritual and economic harms.
The plaintiff added that ADOTT’s clergy and membership have split, causing divisions within the diocese and harming its finances and resources.
Consequently, ADOTT’s board of trustees met on January 11, 2024, and voted to oppose any attempt at dissolution, including pursuing the present legal action.
Although the defendants were notified about the suit, they did not file any motion or brief in response to the case.
Delivering ruling on the application on Thursday, Heather A. Welch, presiding judge, held that “ADOTT has demonstrated that it will suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law’.
“Since September of 2023, at which point the Church of Nigeria’s legislative body passed a resolution to dissolve ADOTT by February 2, 2024, conflict has developed within ADOTT, and division has begun,” the judge said.
“ADOTT has lost members and clergy, causing harm to the goodwill it has created and grown since its inception in 2011. ADOTT also faces risks to its finances and resources in light of the potential dissolution.
“Further, ADOTT has suffered spiritual harm which cannot be compensated by damages. Thus, the court finds that ADOTT has demonstrated that it will suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law.
“Accordingly, plaintiff’s motion for temporary restraining order is granted.”
BISHOP OF ADOTT SUSPENDED
Meanwhile, the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion has suspended Adebogun from his role as bishop of ADOTT.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Korede Akintunde, spokesperson of the church, said Adebogun was suspended over his “conduct and willful disobedience to the authority of the primate generally, and the general synod of the Church of Nigeria”.
The suspension was approved by Ndukuba, the primate.