Anglicans face defining moment over sexual ethics
A group of traditionalist archbishops have issued a warning that the worldwide Anglican Church had reached a "defining moment" over issues of sexuality.
The warning follows the authorisation by another bishop of the blessing of same-sex relationships.
In a development that will dismay the Archbishop of Canterbury who has recently been working to promote unity in the church, seven primates issued a "call to action" against the Bishop of New Westminster, the Rt Rev Michael Ingham, who openly went against church leadership by issuing the rite of same sex blessing.
Three of the primates have already declared themselves "out of Communion" with the Canadian bishop - the most dramatic sanction they can impose.
And the divisions are certain to widen in the coming weeks, with more than half of the Church's primates - the heads of its 38 provinces - expected to follow suit or sympathise with the conservative position.
In a strongly-worded statement last night, the seven traditionalist primates said that Bishop Ingham had displayed a "flagrant disregard" for the remainder of the Church by issuing the rite.
The service was used at Anglicanism's first officially sanctioned same-sex blessing, in a Vancouver church last Wednesday, two days after the primates unanimously declared that they could not support such rites.
In the statement, the primates said: "Bishop Ingham's action has brought the Anglican Communion to a defining moment in which a clear choice has to be made between remaining a Communion or disintegrating into a federation of Churches."
The signatories were the Primates of West Indies, Southern Cone (South America), Central Africa, Kenya, South India, Papua New Guinea and South East Asia.
It puts Dr Williams under growing pressure, but he will find it difficult to impose order because of his liberal views on homosexuality.