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Anglican
conference opens in Tanzania amid conflicts over
homosexuality

Anglican
conference opens in Tanzania amid conflicts over
homosexuality

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A conference of Anglican leaders opened Wednesday in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, as the 77 million-member church struggles with a potentially disastrous fight over the Bible and sexuality.

A conference of Anglican leaders opened Wednesday in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, as the 77 million-member church struggles with a potentially disastrous fight over the Bible and sexuality. ''I anticipate this will be a very difficult meeting,'' said Canon Jim Rosenthal, a spokesman for the conference of the world's third-largest church body. ''The basic issue here is what to do about those who decided they don't want to stay in the main Anglican body.'' Splits between Anglican liberals and conservatives have been growing for years. The struggle reached a crisis in 2003 when the Episcopal Church, the U.S. wing of the global Anglican Communion, consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The problems mounted in 2006 with the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori, who supports ordaining gays and is the first female leader of the U.S. church. Conservative Anglicans are demanding that the group take a stand against homosexuality, and some have threatened to refuse to sit with Jefferts Schori at this week's meeting. The six-day conference has drawn the presiding bishops of 38 provinces in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Some of the bishops, known as primates, have already broken their ties with the American church. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the communion, has struggled to hold off one of the biggest meltdowns in Christianity in centuries, but he lacks any direct authority to force a compromise. Supporters of ordaining gays believe the Bible's social justice teachings take precedence over its view of sexuality. However, most Anglicans outside the United States believe same-sex relationships are sinful, and they are distancing themselves from the U.S. church. (Elizabeth A. Kennedy, AP)

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