Three high-profile British bishops, including the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, are to boycott the Lambeth Conference, a key Anglican Church conference that takes place every ten years. A further six bishops are considering whether to do the same, according to news reports this week. Some 280 mainly African bishops have also set up rival talks in Jerusalem.
WHY THE BOYCOTT?
They are protesting because of Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams' decision to allow controversial pro-gay figures from the US to attend the conference. This follows hot on the heels of the news - broken last week by The Sunday Telegraph -that two gay priests had exchanged vows in a version of the marriage service.
HOW HAVE THE MEDIA COVERED THIS?
The row has gained widespread international coverage across national press, broadcast, including the BBC and CNN, and in the blogosphere. The Telegraph said the issue 'threatens to undermine the authority of the Archbishop' and that it marks 'a significant split in the established Church'. The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott agreed: 'It's part of the drip, drip of bad news that has affected the Lambeth Conference.'