Friday, May 04, 2007

Anglican Gay Rift Widens

[] 4 May 2007--A powerful Anglican leader from Nigeria is strengthening the network of U.S. parishes he formed as a conservative alternative to the liberal-leaning Episcopal Church.

Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Anglican Church of Nigeria plans to lead a ceremony Saturday at a nondenominational chapel in Woodbridge, Va., where he'll install Martyn Minns, a former Episcopal clergyman, as bishop and U.S. leader of Akinola's Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

The installation is occurring as the world Anglican Communion, represented in the U.S. by the Episcopal Church, is on the brink of breaking apart. Anglican rifts over whether homosexuality is biblically acceptable broke wide open in 2003 when the Episcopalians consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Anglican leaders have given the U.S. denomination until Sept. 30 to step back from its support of gays or risk losing its full membership in the 77 million-member Anglican fellowship.

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