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Church of England facing new split threat over homosexuality

Mon 29 Aug 2016
By Marcus Jones

A group of parishes is said to be preparing what could be the first formal split in the Church of England over the issue of homosexuality.

According to the Telegraph, almost a dozen congregations in the Home Counties are set to meet this week to discuss what could lead to the formation of a new church within the Anglican Communion.

It's understood the talks won't lead to an immediate breakaway but will include discussions on setting up structures needed if that were to happen.

It could lead to what's been described as a 'shadow synod'.

A large number within the Church of England are unhappy at the perceived direction the Church is taking on the issue of homosexuality.

Behind closed doors talks on the issue took place at the General Synod earlier this summer, looking at ways forward.

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Despite fears for the future from some, the Church has so far refused to endorse same sex marriage and won't allow it's clergy to marry same sex partners.

Rev Dr Peter Sanlon, Vicar of St Mark's Church in Tunbridge Wells, is hosting the talks later this week. Speaking to the Telegraph he said: "If senior leaders of the Church of England water down the teaching of the Church of England on key issues like homosexuality, then this synod could easily evolve in to a new Anglican jurisdiction in England.

"The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled that he is aware of the possibility that a significant proportion of the church will not accept a change in the church's teaching.

"This could be the beginning of that playing out."

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: "The Shared Conversations process over the last two years included the participation of over 1300 members of the church in regional and national settings.

"Through those conversations, deep convictions have been shared and profound differences better understood.

"It is our hope that what has been learned through the relationships developed will inform the way the church conducts whatever further formal discussions take place in the future."

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