conservative Anglican archbishop has made his first contact
with the nine Episcopal churches in Virginia whose members
voted this month to leave their dioceses and
align with his. The churches' new leader, Archbishop
Peter Akinola, sent a letter that addressed some
concerns about his support for a proposed law in Nigeria
that would make same-sex union ceremonies illegal. The
law also would ban public affection between same-sex
couples and private meetings of gay advocacy groups.
"We recognize that there are genuine concerns
about individual human rights" in the law "that must
be addressed both in the framing...and its
implementation," wrote Akinola, who has called the
growing acceptance of gay relationships a "satanic attack"
on his church. Akinola did not specify what he would
It also was not clear how such modifications
would be made under the Nigerian legal system. Until
now Akinola has simply urged passage of the measure.
Among the Virginia churches that announced their
members had voted overwhelmingly to break away were
Truro Church in Fairfax and the Falls Church in Falls
Church. The parishes together claim more than 4,000 members.
The Episcopal Church, the U.S. wing of the
global Anglican Communion, has been under pressure
from traditionalists since the 2003 consecration of
its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New