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Nigerian Church Calls US Counterpart 'Cancerous Lump'


Nigeria's Anglican Church has called the U.S. branch of the church a "cancerous lump" that should be cut out of the worldwide Anglican body.

Nigerian bishops are responding to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. He suggested last week creating a two-tier system of church membership for the Christian denomination.

Williams said churches that want to take actions not generally accepted by the rest of the members could opt for a lesser type of membership.

The proposal follows the nomination of an openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church of the United States, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The U.S. branch is deeply divided on the role of gays and lesbians in church leadership.

African bishops praised Williams for his commitment to unity but they said that a complete break may be needed.

The Communion is a loose federation of 38 national churches with an estimated 77 million members worldwide. The Church of Nigeria claims 17 million members.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.