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Church of Nigeria cuts ties with B.C. diocese

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LONDON (AP) — In a rare step among Anglicans, the Church of Nigeria has cut ties with the Canadian diocese of Vancouver, British Columbia, because it authorized a May 28 blessing ceremony for a homosexual couple.

The Church of Nigeria includes 17.5 million of the world's 77 million Anglicans and ranks second in size to the mother Church of England among the 38 Anglican branches. By severing relations with Vancouver, the Church of Nigeria is effectively stating it no longer considers the Canadian diocese part of world Anglicanism.

The Canadian diocese's annual synod met days after the same-sex ceremony and overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to suspend further blessings for a year. Vancouver Bishop Michael Ingham acknowledged the debate has weakened his diocese.

"For a time we will be in the spotlight of attention as a diocese, and some of us will find it quite uncomfortable," Ingham said. "We are in the forefront of a movement of change taking place across the church, and change is never accomplished easily."