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Last Updated: Monday, 3 November, 2003, 15:03 GMT
Unity plea over gay bishop
Archbishop of Wales
Dr Barry Morgan - plea for reflection in gay bishop controversy
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has asked those who oppose the appointment of the first openly gay Anglican bishop to avoid hasty decisions which could lead to a worldwide rift.

The Right Reverend Robinson - who has lived with his male partner for 15 years - was formally made bishop in a colourful but controversial ceremony in the American state of New Hampshire on Sunday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams - the spiritual head of the Church - said the divisions arising in the global Anglican Communion following the consecration were "a matter of deep regret".

Bishop Robinson's appointment would not be accepted throughout the church, he said.

And in Wales, Dr Morgan pleaded:: "More than enough has been said already in recent months on the subject of the consecration of Canon Gene Robinson as a bishop.

"My hope is that Anglican provinces will not react hastily to what has now happened but give time for reflection on what might be the implications of any knee-jerk reaction on their part."

The issue over gay bishops has blighted the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams's first year as head of the Anglican Communion.

In July, homosexual Canon Jeffrey John decided not to go ahead with his appointment as Bishop of Reading after an outcry from evangelicals.

'Risky break'

The appointment has caused a bitter dispute among the world's 77 million Anglicans. Those opposed to the move have already taken steps to "realign" their denomination, breaking up the Church as it exists.

The British evangelical campaign group, Reform, said there was "no doubt" that the rift would occur when the consecration went ahead.

"We believe that homosexual relationships are clearly contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture," the group said.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, based in Britain, said that the stance of the traditionalists was "desperately sad".

Communications director Rev Martin Reynolds said: "We look forward to Gene Robinson's ordination prayerfully and thoughtfully."

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12 Jul 03  |  Photo Gallery
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02 Nov 03  |  Americas

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