Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 17:00 UK

'Alienation' over women bishops

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams
Dr Rowan Williams said there was 'unfinished business' for the Church

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted traditionalists felt alienated by the decision to press ahead with the consecration of women bishops.

Dr Rowan Williams said as many people felt aggrieved as elated by the General Synod decision earlier this month.

Dr Williams told the Lambeth Conference that the Church of England had "work to do" over the issue.

His remarks came as business started at the conference, held every 10 years, at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

Dr Williams said: "I think there is certainly a huge bit of unfinished business for the Church of England after the General Synod, in the sense that many people maybe felt alienated or aggrieved by the way the decision emerged as felt elated by the step forward that had been taken."

Bishops' boycott

The Anglican Communion said the conference was being attended by 670 bishops from around the world but some 210 bishops are boycotting the conference.

Many of them objected to the ordination of the gay bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson in 2003.

Dr Williams said: "I think that the great pity is that to have those voices in the discussions as we have conceived it, would have been, I think, for everybody, a healing and helpful thing, but also a difficult one.

"Are we heading for schism? Well let's see. If it is the end of the Anglican Communion I do not think anyone has told most of the people here."

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