Church to urge debate over homosexuality
A Church of England document on sexuality is expected to urge more debate on homosexuality.
The document, to be published on Tuesday, will explore whether there can be legitimate diversity on sexuality within the church.
The Church of England has insisted the document is a guide for debate and will not change or suggest changes to current church policy.
Anglican traditionalists hold that homosexual practices are against biblical teaching and see such arguments as a wider liberal agenda within the church.
The discussion document is a follow-up to a 1991 document entitled 'Issues in Human Sexuality', which said gay people in long-term relationships should not be excluded from the fellowship of the Christian church or from Holy Communion.
But the document demanded celibacy from gay clergy because of their status.
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Richard Harries, who chaired the working party which drew up the paper, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester, and the Rt Rev Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester, are due to launch it in London.
The consecration of Gene Robinson - who has lived with his male partner for 15 years - in New Hampshire on Sunday, has lead to a crisis within the church.
The consecration was immediately condemned by African church leaders, while the church's leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, said divisions arising from the appointment were "a matter of deep regret".
The New Hampshire diocese had pressed on with the consecration despite a two-day summit last month by 37 archbishops at Lambeth Palace in London which had warned of the consequences of such a move.
At the summit primates also decided to establish a commission to discuss the theological ramifications of the move. The commission will report back in 12 months.
Earlier this year the Church of England suffered a crisis when a gay priest was appointed as Bishop of Reading.
However, Canon Jeffery John declined to take up the post, fearing the "damage" his consecration might cause to the "unity of the Church".
He had been appointed by the Rt Rev Harries, chairman of the working party for Tuesday's document.