Anglican bishops attempt gay truce

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Senior church leaders will meet in New York this week to draw up a temporary agreement to amend the Anglican Church’s rift over homosexuality, according to reports.

US conservatives and liberals are rumoured to be meeting under the direction of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to agree on a truce until the denomination’s Lambeth Conference in 2008.

Sources have told The Times newspaper that today’s meeting will include up to 12 bishops chaired by Bishop Bob Duncan, of Pittsburgh, the source said: “It is remarkable that they are even talking to each other.

“There is a seriously big go-wrong factor here. This is an internal meeting but it has huge external implications for the whole Church.”

It is believed that a two church solution, allowing conservatives and liberals to operate as separate groups of Anglicans, is the most likely outcome.

The row over gay bishops in the Anglican Communion has reached a new level recently after liberal clergy in the UK suggested teaming up with ideologically similar US churches, while the denomination’s most traditional church called for pro-gay congregations to be “excised.”

The Church of Nigeria says it is unfair to have to accommodate gay affirming churches, calling them “a cancerous lump in the body (which) should be excised if it has defied every known cure. To attempt to condition the whole body to accommodate it will lead to the avoidable death of the patient.”

The African church added: “We encourage the Archbishop of Canterbury to persuade those who have chosen to “walk apart” to return to the path chosen by successive generations of our forbears.”

This summer’s General Convention of the US Episcopal Church displeased conservative members after failing to ban the ordination of homosexual bishops, stemming from the outcry of the appointment of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.

The US Episcopal Church agreed on a watered down version of a proposal which would have banned the appointment of gay clergy.

Following the Convention, conservative bishops from San Joaquin, California, South Carolina and Pittsburgh expressed dismay at the “painful complication” created when the church called for “restraint” in the ordination of gay clergy and appointed Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a supporter of gay rights, as its first female head.