Page last updated at 19:34 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 20:34 UK

Church group 'not planning split'

Audience at the conference of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans
The fellowship says it wants to heal divisions in the Church

A traditionalist Anglican group has insisted at its launch conference that it is not poised to break away from the Church of England.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans of UK and Ireland will campaign against active homosexuality in the Church.

Its leaders told the conference in London that liberal moves had brought "heartache" and "real problems".

Bishop of Lewes the Rt Rev Wallace Benn said he wanted "to pull people back" rather than breaking away.

Standing by

Addressing the conference, he said: "We are trying to pull back together people whose Anglican identity has been made difficult or who find that it is threatened."

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali holds a Holy Communion Service at a conference of the Fellowship Of Confessing Anglicans
The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali held a Holy Communion Service

He added: "We are trying to stop the Church from being divided by moving back to the core of our faith, the historic Christian faith.

"Sadly in the western world...the British Isles and Ireland are moving away and where bishops do that, there is particular unhappiness in some dioceses and it causes real problems and real heartaches for people and for churches.

"We want to stand with people and support them and say you don't have to go away, we will support you and stand with you."

Loyalty to Queen

The fellowship said 1,600 Anglicans from 320 parishes attended the conference including the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans worldwide was formed at a meeting in Jerusalem in June last year, by traditionalist Anglicans unhappy with developments such as the ordination of an openly gay US bishop and same-sex blessings in church.

The Fellowship wrote to the Queen after their Jerusalem meeting to express their concerns and reiterate their loyalty to her as head of the Church.

The message from the Queen, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, was read out at Monday's conference and said she "understands the commitment to the Anglican Church that prompted you and your brethren to write as you did".

The Queen wrote again last week, referring to Monday's launch and sending "good wishes to all concerned for a successful and memorable event."

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