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Nigeria’s Archbishop says US church must back down or ‘walk away’

Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria says the US Episcopal Church will be asked to leave the worldwide grouping of Anglican churches if it refuses to promise that no one living in a same-sex relationship will be made a bishop.

"If they agree to stop, there will be a huge celebration of the [Anglican] communion," Akinola told journalists in Nairobi on 22 February following a meeting of Anglican leaders from around the world in neighbouring Tanzania. "But if they chose to continue with it as a way of life, then they will be told to walk away from the communion."

The leaders, known as primates, from the worldwide Anglican Communion, said the US denomination must declare unequivocally it would not authorise same-sex blessings and that no one living in a same-sex union would be made a bishop. Failure to do so would have "consequences for the full participation of the [US] church in the life of the [Anglican] Communion", they said.

The stand-off was triggered in 2003 after the US church consecrated V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay divorced father, as a bishop in New Hampshire. Many Anglican leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America are opposed to the views of what they say is a minority from the West who are more tolerant of homosexuality in the Church.

"We still say marriage is between a man and woman as it was ordained by God. We need to stick to that. We told those churches that were not sticking to that, to go and put these things right," said Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi of Kenya at the 22 February media conference.

Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda told Ecumenical News International in Nairobi: "It is a process. You can’t tell them to break a system in day. It will take time. But at least we agreed on our differences."

(c) Ecumenical News International