Church report ‘set to fuel gay row’

The row over homosexuality that is threatening to split the Anglican Church is set to erupt again with the release of a key report.

The Lambeth Commission has spent the last year tackling the crisis of unification among the 70 million members of the Anglican Communion around the world.

But with liberals and conservatives still entrenched on the controversial gay issue many fear its Windsor Report may only fuel the row rather than bridge the schism.

Although the body, announced by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has addressed general issues, the splits on homosexual clergy is set to dominate the fallout of its findings.

And rumours the report may call for a series of “core covenants” for churches to sign up to and follow in a bid to unite them has heightened the concerns.

The Reverend Martin Reynolds, spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said: “We are not in crisis. It is those people who find homosexuality unacceptable who are in crisis.

“We hope this report is the beginning of a long discussion not the last word.”

But conservatives have called for the report to take tough action on those dioceses who support homosexuality.

The Rev David Phillips, general secretary of the Church Society, said: “Every organisation needs rules about what is and is not acceptable behaviour amongst its members. The Anglican Communion is being asked to decide what to do when some members deliberately break the agreed rules.”

The row has hit boiling point after the diocese of New Westminster in Canada allowed same-sex blessings and the Episcopal Church of the USA backed the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man in a relationship, as Bishop of New Hampshire. The debate hit the UK last year with the nomination of Dr Jeffrey John, a gay but celibate clergyman, as Bishop of Reading.

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Press Association, UK
Oct. 18, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday October 18, 2004.
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