Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
Conservative Anglican leaders have revealed plans for a breakaway summit for the hundreds of bishops expected to defy the Archbishop of Canterbury by boycotting the Lambeth conference.
Organisers of the Global Anglican Future Conference, to be held in Jerusalem, say it will not be a rival to Lambeth, held every 10 years in Canterbury, but "will provide opportunities for fellowship and care for those who have decided not to attend Lambeth".
It comes six weeks before the archbishop's flagship conference that up to a third of the Anglican church's 900 bishops may boycott in protest at his perceived fudging over the US Episcopal church's approach to gay clergy.
A website promoting the rebel summit says the 80-million strong Anglican communion is "divided into liberal and conservative factions" and is on the verge of breaking up over the consecration in 2003 of a gay priest, Gene Robinson, as bishop of New Hampshire.
Writing for an Australian Anglican website, the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, said: "Those who wish to retain biblical standards, especially in the area of sexual ethics, have spent much time and effort in negotiations on these issues in the last five years."
In 1998, the Lambeth conference made it clear that the leaders of the overwhelming majority of Anglicans worldwide maintained the view that sexual relationships were reserved for marriage between a man and a woman, he added.
"Five years later, however, actions were taken in Anglican churches both in Canada and the United States of America that officially transgressed these boundaries in defiance of the Bible's authority."
The conservative coalition is led by the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola. Church of England supporters include the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, recently voted fourth most popular Anglican of the year, and the Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn.
Last month, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who is head of the worldwide Anglican communion, condemned attempts by conservative leaders to undermine the Episcopal church for its support for gay rights. He effectively refused calls to disinvite American bishops from the Lambeth conference.
In his long-anticipated Advent message to the 38 primates of the communion, he criticised African and other church leaders who have consecrated their own American bishops and offered to look after the small number of dioceses whose conservative American bishops have said they wish to separate from the US church and seek oversight from foreign provinces.