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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 October, 2003, 13:46 GMT
Church team to tackle gay crisis

Gene Robinson
The bishop's consecration threatens to split the church
A commission to tackle the crisis in the Anglican church over homosexuality has been announced.

Anglican leaders meeting at Lambeth Palace earlier this month decided to set up the group amid concern a split was imminent in the church over the consecration of an openly gay bishop in the United States.

The diocese of New Hampshire has insisted it will go ahead with Reverend Gene Robinson's consecration on 2 November.

The commission will be chaired by the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Dr Robin Eames.

Same sex blessings

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, announced on Wednesday the body would report back to him by next September.

It includes conservative and liberal figures within the Anglican Communion.

The body will also examine the decision to authorise same sex blessings in the Diocese of New Westminster, Canada.

Dr Williams said the commission's main task would be to offer advice on finding a way through the situation, which is threatening to divide the communion.

He said the primates [church leaders] had been clear that the Anglican Communion was reaching a "crucial and critical point in its life".

Dr Eames said the commission was charged with helping the communion respond to recent developments in the Anglican Church in North America.

The membership includes conservative figures such as Archbishop Drexel Gomez, primate of the West Indies and the more liberal Primate of Wales, Archbishop Barry Morgan.

The commission membership also includes Professor Norman Doe, director of the centre for law and religion at Cardiff University, Wales; Anne McGavin, advocate, and former legal adviser to the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church; and the Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright.


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