A CRISIS summit of Anglican bishops to discuss the bitter divide over gay clergy ended with a warning last night that the appointment of a homosexual bishop may "tear the fabric" of the church.
A statement released after a two-day meeting of the primates of the Anglican Church warned the consecration of Gene Robinson, a gay bishop, would lead to further division and could lead to a split in the entire church.
"If this consecration proceeds, we recognise that we have reached a crucial and critical point in the life of the Anglican Communion and we have had to conclude that the future of the Communion itself will be put in jeopardy," the statement said.
The meeting was convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, after a series of blows to church unity over homosexuality.
The meeting also decided to establish a commission to discuss the "urgent and deep theological and legal reflection on the way in which the dangers we have identified at this meeting will have to be addressed".
The commission has been asked to report in 12 months.
The election of divorced father-of-two Rev Robinson, who is gay and has a long-term partner, as bishop of New Hampshire in the United States has threatened to cause a schism within the Anglican Church's 70 million followers and clergy.
It followed the approval of same sex blessings in the diocese of New Westminster, Canada, and the bitter row in the UK over the nomination of Jeffrey John, an gay man, as bishop of Reading. Rev John withdrew his acceptance of the post after his appointment sparked division in the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
It is not yet clear whether the statement will do enough to placate the traditional, anti-gay and liberal wings of the Church.
Dr Williams told the press conference: "It has been a very remarkable couple of days in the life of the Anglican Communion and it has …