In the United States the first openly gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion has been appointed. But conservative bishops and other members of the church rejected the appointment of Gene Robinson. In Britain the Archbishop of Canterbury warned that this would have a significant impact on the global Church. This report from Jane Little:
Bishops of the American Episcopal Church have made history by voting to approve the election of a gay, non-celibate man as Bishop of New Hampshire. Speaking to the BBC after the vote, Gene Robinson said he is delighted but keenly aware of being the focus of a bitter division.
But conservatives say his election has already shattered the Church. They are planning a meeting of like-minded Anglicans, including Archbishops from the developing world, to plot a possible future outside of the American church. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, as leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, has issued a statement which recognises the significant impact this election will have.
He is now in a very difficult position as he tries to prevent open schism. Gene Robinson becomes the Bishop of New Hampshire only weeks after Jeffrey John, his English counterpart, was forced to stand down as Bishop of Reading for fear his election would divide the Church.
Jane Little, BBC Religious Affairs correspondent, Minneapolis