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Nigerian
archbishop contacts Episcopalians in breakaway Virginia
churches

Nigerian
archbishop contacts Episcopalians in breakaway Virginia
churches

Nigeria's 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 propose changing. 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 Hampshire. (AP)

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