From the Telegraph (UK):
Leading Anglican bishops to boycott Lambeth Conference over gay clergy
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Last Updated: 12:35AM BST 22/06/2008
The Church of England will be thrown into turmoil this summer following the decision of leading bishops to boycott a landmark Anglican summit in protest at the presence of pro-gay bishops.
In a move that marks a significant split in the established Church, at least three bishops, including the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, will decline an invitation from Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to attend the Lambeth Conference.
Up to six more bishops are understood to be considering similar action because of Dr Williams's decision to allow controversial figures to be at the gathering of worldwide Anglican bishops, which meets only once in 10 years.
The boycott will intensify the row over gay clergy, which was reignited when The Sunday Telegraph disclosed last week that two gay priests had exchanged vows in a version of the marriage service.
It threatens to undermine the authority of the Archbishop, who is battling to maintain unity in the Church in the face of bitter rows over homosexuality and women bishops.
He has already been snubbed by 250 Anglican bishops, mainly from Africa, who are meeting this week at a rival conference in Jerusalem, but the absence of English bishops would be a highly significant development for the future of the Church of England.
Six bishops and about 60 clergy from the Church of England will be at this week's meeting of conservatives, the Global Anglican Future Conference, at which Bishop Nazir-Ali will deliver a key-note address on the way ahead for the Anglican communion.
He will not go to the Lambeth Conference, however, as he believes that it has been compromised by the inclusion of American leaders who consecrated the Anglican communion's first gay bishop.
Friends of Bishop Nazir-Ali, who is one of the most prominent and influential figures in the Church, said that he has made the decision on a matter of principle. He considers the Americans' action to have been "unscriptural" and "disobedient", and feels unable to meet those he holds responsible for causing the schism in the worldwide Church.
"The Lambeth Conference is a Eucharistic gathering where the bishops gather around the Lord's table to teach the common faith, and he doesn't see how he can do this," said a friend of the bishop.
Bishop Nazir-Ali was said to be surprised that the American bishops were invited to the meeting despite a recommendation in an official report, the Windsor report, that they should be excluded. The bishop does not intend his absence to be seen as an act of disloyalty to the Archbishop, but rather as an attempt to stand for the traditional teaching of the Church.
The Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, the Bishop of Willesden, and the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes, will also be absent.
Bishop Benn said: "I'm not going because those who've torn the fabric of the Communion have been invited, and bishops from the missionary groups in America haven't. A group of English bishops has been unhappy at the invitation list and that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not called a Primates Meeting to consult about invitations and respond to the American Church statement on gay clergy."
Dr Williams has tried to maintain unity, but the "wedding" of two clerics, has exacerbated deep divisions.
It prompted Reform, an evangelical group representing about 1,000 parishes, to warn that there would be a split in the Church unless swift action was taken to discipline the Rev Martin Dudley, the rector who conducted the service.
Rod Thomas, the chairman of Reform, said: "The Church of England now faces the same sort of division as the Episcopal Church of the USA."
Failure to take action would "open the floodgates to indiscipline" and lead to a split.
The Very Rev Colin Slee, the Dean of Southwark, said, however, that the conservatives were fomenting division.
He said: "Those of us who watch from the 'outside' because we are not bishops are bound to wonder if they do not have some self-serving agenda about power and the creation of a new, third, parallel church within the, Province of the Church of England."