Saturday, 21 June 2008

Daily Telegraph: Leading Anglican bishops to boycott Lambeth Conference over gay clergy

The Church of England will be thrown into turmoil this summer following the decision of leading bishops to boycott a landmark Anglican summit in protest at the presence of pro-gay bishops.

Friends of Bishop Nazir-Ali say that he has made the decision not to attend the Lambeth Conference on a matter of principle

In a move that marks a significant split in the established Church, at least three bishops, including the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, will decline an invitation from Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to attend the Lambeth Conference.

Up to six more bishops are understood to be considering similar action because of Dr Williams's decision to allow controversial figures to be at the gathering of worldwide Anglican bishops, which meets only once in 10 years.

The boycott will intensify the row over gay clergy, which was reignited when The Sunday Telegraph disclosed last week that two gay priests had exchanged vows in a version of the marriage service.

It threatens to undermine the authority of the Archbishop, who is battling to maintain unity in the Church in the face of bitter rows over homosexuality and women bishops.

He has already been snubbed by 250 Anglican bishops, mainly from Africa, who are meeting this week at a rival conference in Jerusalem, but the absence of English bishops would be a highly significant development for the future of the Church of England.

Six bishops and about 60 clergy from the Church of England will be at this week's meeting of conservatives, the Global Anglican Future Conference, at which Bishop Nazir-Ali will deliver a key-note address on the way ahead for the Anglican communion.

He will not go to the Lambeth Conference, however, as he believes that it has been compromised by the inclusion of American leaders who consecrated the Anglican communion's first gay bishop. Read more
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