Gays Row Awaits New Archbishop; RELIGION: Warning That Church Is Reaching Crisis Point in Debate over Homosexuality

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WHEN Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams becomes the leader of the Anglican communion he will preside over one of the greatest church controversies since the Reformation.

The political minefield comes as the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey warns that the unity of the church is reaching a crisis point in the debate over homosexuality.

In his final presidential address to the Anglican Consultative Council in Hong Kong yesterday, Dr George Carey said some dioceses and bishops seemed to be making decisions on sensitive matters ``without regard to the rest of us''.

He referred to a number of dioceses in the US and Canada who are planning to bless homosexual marriages and the case of a traditional priest deposed by his liberal bishop in the diocese of Pennsylvania.

He said this growing chasm between the traditionalists and the liberals in the Anglican faith was his ``greatest worry''.

Yesterday Dr Williams said he recognised the extent to which Anglican unity is in danger.

He said, ``There are certainly uncomfortable choices ahead and it is unlikely that our unity will survive without groups on all sides of current debates learning how to put their own separate agendas at the service of our common calling to mission.''

Dr Williams's appointment has already alarmed many bishops, especially in Africa, who are opposed to homosexuality and are concerned that the future Archbishop will promote a liberal agenda.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement greeted news of Dr Williams's appointment last July with delight and anticipated a vigorous campaign to transform the Church of England into an institution more welcoming to homosexuals. …