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Joe Giddens/PA Wire
World News

Archbishop of Canterbury "powerless" to stop leaders walking out of Primates' talks

by Hannah Tooley

There are worries that representatives from some African nations could pull out of the discussions, sparking fears of a permanent split in the church.

Justin Welby said that he hoped to achieve "reconciliation" at the Anglican primates meeting this week.

Joe Giddens/PA Wire

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Certainly I want reconciliation. Reconciliation doesn't always mean agreement, in fact it very seldom does. It means finding ways of disagreeing well."

He added: "There is nothing I can do if people decide to leave the room. It won't split the communion."

In 2003 a gay bishop was consecrated, Canon Gene Robinson bishop of New Hampshire, by the liberal Episcopal Church in America and this decision split opinion.

The archbishop said: "The Church is a family and you remain a family even if you go your separate ways."

Justin Welby said: "A schism would not be a disaster, God is bigger than our failures, but it would be a failure. It would not be good if the Church is unable to set an example to the world of showing how we can love one another and disagree profoundly because we are brought together by Jesus Christ not be our own choice."

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