A decades-old rift in the U.S. Episcopal Church grew wider this week, when seven parishes in Virginia voted to leave the national church and ally themselves with the conservative Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria. Two of the defecting parishes, Truro and Falls Church, are among the oldest and largest in Virginia. The votes culminated a dispute that began in 2003, when a gay man, Eugene Robinson, was ordained bishop of New Hampshire. Truro and Falls Church voted to put themselves under the leadership of Nigeria’s Archbishop Peter Akinola, who has called the growing acceptance of gay relationships a “satanic attack” on the church. Truro Rector Martyn Minns called the vote to secede “the promise of a new day.”
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