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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 January 2008, 15:58 GMT
Church comments on Anglican rows
Gene Robinson
The ordination of gay bishop Gene Robinson divided Anglicans
The Church of England has made clear its disapproval of Anglican provinces which intervene in the affairs of other churches without authorisation.

In a document it said such interventions should not take place except as part of "properly authorised schemes of pastoral oversight".

It is a response to attempts in the draft Anglican Covenant to commit the Communion to practices to resolve rows.

The recommendations followed disputes over gay priests.

The covenant is being drawn up in response to the dispute within the worldwide Communion over the 2003 consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire in the US, who openly lives with his gay partner.

The guidelines were issued after the Archbishop of Nigeria, The Rt Rev Peter Akinola, consecrated US cleric Martyn Minns as a bishop in the Anglican Church of Nigeria to minister to disaffected US congregations.

Covenant meeting

The Church of England's response was submitted by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

It will be considered later this month, when the working group for the covenant meets.

The head of the Anglican church in America recently accused other churches - including the Church of England - of double standards over sexuality.

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the BBC her church is paying the price for its honesty over sexuality.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori defended her ministry.

"He is certainly not alone in being a gay bishop, he's certainly not alone in being a gay partnered bishop," she said, referring to the Bishop Gene Robinson.

'Double standard'

"He is alone in being the only gay partnered bishop who's open about that status."

She said other Anglican churches also have gay bishops in committed partnerships and should be open about it.

"There's certainly a double standard," she told the BBC.

This year is expected to be critical for the unity of the Anglican Communion.

In July, Anglican bishops from around the world are due to attend the Lambeth Conference, which is convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury once a decade.

Some African churches are threatening to boycott the conference - particularly if Bishop Robinson receives an invitation.

But Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori says she thinks he might yet be invited.

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