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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February 2005, 17:58 GMT
Gay bishops on BBC Parliament
Photo of the General Synod in action in 1998
The General Synod throws open its doors to BBC Parliament

BBC Parliament has scored another first by gaining permission to film in full a debate by the General Synod of the Church of England.

Taking advantage of the Parliamentary recess in Westminster, BBC cameras will broadcast live the hierarchy of the British Anglican Church wrangle over the ordination of gay bishops.

70 million baptised members worldwide
38 self-governing Churches
500 dioceses, 30,000 parishes, 64,000 congregations in 164 countries
26 million members in the United Kingdom
17.5 million members in Nigeria
2.5 million members in the US

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The Windsor Report on the issue that has riven the Anglican Communion worldwide will feature at the Church of England's regular spring convention in London on Thursday 17 February.

In October 2003 the Archbishop of Canterbury established the Lambeth Commission on Communion to consider the worldwide effects of the ordination of an openly gay Anglican - Episcopal - bishop in the US.

The Commission published the Windsor Report a year later and the General Synod hopes to accept its findings as the basis for agreement at the Primate's Meeting in Northern Ireland from 20 to 26 February.

The General Synod - comprising some 579 members - will be meeting at Church House from Monday to Thursday over the next week.

News crews have previously been allowed to film the Synod at work, but this is the first time a whole debate has been screened.

You can follow the General Synod's debate on the Windsor Report LIVE on BBC Parliament from 0900 GMT on Thursday 17 February

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09 Feb 05 |  BBC Parliament

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