The Archbishop of Canterbury is facing the prospect of a split over issues such as homosexuality
The Archbishop of Canterbury is facing the prospect of a decisive split in the worldwide Anglican church over issues such as homosexuality at what is being billed as make-or-break summit of leading clerics next week.
The Most Rev Justin Welby has invited archbishops and bishops from around to what is intended to be a week-long primates’ meeting in Canterbury to discuss a plan he hopes will avert a permanent schism between liberals and conservatives branches of the 80 million-strong church.
But there are fears the event could break up amid angry recriminations within days, with the leaders of the church in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and other countries walking out.
That could herald the beginning of a permanent estrangement between different wings of the worldwide and marking the effective end of the Anglican Communion in its current form.
Global Anglicanism has been in turmoil for the last 12 years when the US branch ordained its first openly-gay bishop, Gene Robinson.
That led to traditionalist provinces, especially in the southern hemisphere, breaking ties with more liberal branches and the creation of a separate American church.
Archbishop Welby wants to recast the Anglican Communion as a loose confederation, with individual national churches formally linked only to Canterbury – rather than directly each other – to enable them to disagree over issues such as gay bishops without severing all ties.
He wants the leaders to hold face-to-face discussions with mediators and experts in “reconciliation” in the hope that they will find a way forward.
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