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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Nigerian bishop's anger at church
Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria
Akinola wants those 'promoting sexual sins' to be rebuked
The leader of one of the world's largest Anglican churches has angrily blasted a report into whether gay bishops should be ordained.

Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, which has some 17.5 million Anglicans, said the report was "patronising" and said the world communion could split.

The report was ordered by the church's leaders after the ordination by a US church of a gay bishop.

It said that both sides of the debate should seek reconciliation.

African meeting

It also said the US diocese should apologise for making Gene Robinson a bishop.

But Archbishop Akinola said this did not go far enough and wanted those who are "promoting sexual sins" to be rebuked.

ANGLICAN CHURCH FACTS
70 million baptised members worldwide
38 self-governing Churches
500 dioceses, 30,000 parishes, 64,000 congregations in 164 countries
26 million members in the United Kingdom
17.5 million members in Nigeria
2.5 million members in the US

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Archbishop Akinola will host a meeting of some 300 African Anglican church leaders next week to discuss the continent's response to the report.

They will meet in Nigeria's biggest city, Lagos from 26 October to 1 November.

Nigeria has the second highest number of Anglicans in the world, after the church's birthplace in the UK.

Most African church leaders oppose the ordination of gay clergy, in contrast to some North American and UK congregations.

"The report... fails to confront the reality that a small economically privileged group of people has sought to subvert the Christian faith and impose their new and false doctrine on the wider community of faithful believers," said Archbishop Akinola.

"If they do not repent and return to the fold, they will find that they are all alone... They will have broken the Anglican Communion," he said.

The crisis erupted last year when Canadians voted to approve the blessing of same-sex unions and US Anglicans, known as Episcopalians, pressed ahead with the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson.

Bishop Robinson, speaking in a BBC interview, has expressed regret for the pain caused, but not for his ordination itself.




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