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World News

'We do not hate as our enemies want us to': Justin Welby plays down Anglican conflicts

by Marcus Jones

The Archbishop of Canterbury has used his keynote speech at the Lambeth Conference to dampen reports of division within the Anglican Communion claiming those gathered had "disagreed without hatred".

Hundreds of bishops from across the world have gathered in Canterbury this week to pray and worship together but also to discuss the big issues facing the global Church.

While topics such as the environment saw widespread agreement, discussions around sexuality have continued to split opinion.

Earlier in the week, Justin Welby reaffirmed a commitment made in 1998 to reject same-sex marriage, but conservatives fear not enough is being done to prevent more liberal wings of the Church moving away from traditional Church teaching on the subject.

Speaking on Friday, he claimed the division wasn't that bad.

"We do not hate as our enemies want us to," he said. "And may I say, by God's grace, this week we have disagreed without hatred, not as many in the press want us to."

Referencing a conversation between one of his sons and a journalist friend, he suggested one editor was disappointed that the disagreement had been so civil.

"A friend of one of our children, one of our sons, a reporter who is a Christian said 'I rejoice and I am sad, I rejoice because this week I have seen something new, people who disagree loving each other, but my news editor is very sad because there is nothing to say about that'."

His comments came after TV star Sandi Toksvig wrote an open letter criticising the Church's stance on sexuality, saying that the lives of LGBTQ+ people were "at stake".

In a letter of response, the archbishop offered to meet with Toksvig for a coffee and added that the discrimination LGBTQ+ people "have experienced in the name of Jesus Christ are a sin".

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