St. Edmund's Episcopal Church in Elm Grove has announced its decision to leave the Episcopal Church U.S.A., joining instead with the the Herndon, Va.-based Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which falls under the purview of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. A number of congregations have left the Episcopal Church U.S.A. because of what they deem to be unbiblical teachings and practices, including the ordination of a gay bishop in 2003.
Both the Episcopal Church U.S.A. and the Anglican Church of Nigeria are members of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which originated in 1500s England as a break-off from the Roman Catholic church. The role of gays and lesbians in church life has become a point of contention among the communion's members, with some calling for the Episcopal Church U.S.A. to be expelled for its relative acceptance of same-sex couples and inclusion of gays and lesbians in the clergy. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who heads the Anglican Communion, has asked the Episcopal Church U.S.A. to reconsider its actions, but has shown no inclination to expel it.