Anglican communion a 'train wreck', says bishop
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones
Last Updated: 8:27AM BST 20/07/2008
The Anglican Communion is like a "slow moving train wreck", according to a senior Church of England bishop who has given an extraordinary insight into the crisis that is engulfing the Church.
The Rt Rev Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham, has revealed that there is deep unease over the future of the communion and an atmosphere of mutual suspicion among bishops.
His comments come as about 650 bishops meet at the once-a-decade Lambeth conference in Canterbury, with continuing division over the issue of homosexuality.
Bishop Wright, a senior figure in the Church hierarchy, expressed concern that the summit was lacking direction and admitted that the Anglican Church was in a mess. "All sorts of forces have built up over the years in the communion through misunderstanding and people doing things differently without really consulting," he said.
"Sooner or later this was all going to meet and hit the buffers. It's been like a slow-moving train wreck."
The bishop, who is highly respected and a close friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury, told The Sunday Telegraph that the presence of American bishops involved in the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual Anglican bishop, was proving divisive.
"A lot of people here have a lot of questions about why the American bishops are here," he said. "Those questions are in the room."
Around 250 bishops, mainly from Africa, have boycotted the conference in protest at Dr Rowan Williams's decision to invite the American bishops, whom they hold responsible for causing the schism. Organisers have drawn up an agenda lacking any major votes or debates in the hope that it will limit conflict.