CANTERBURY - The spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans said he feels "great grief" that more than 200 bishops are boycotting the Lambeth conference, calling it a "wound" to the once-a-decade meeting.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said he respected the decision of church leaders who stayed away. But he said their absence should not stop participants from trying to repair fractured relations.
The Anglican communion is a 77million-member family of churches that trace their roots to the Church of England. The centuries-old fellowship has long held different views of ritual and Scripture. But the communion began splintering in 2003 when the Episcopal Church, the US body, consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V Gene Robinson.
About one-quarter of Anglican bishops - theological conservatives mainly from Africa - are not attending Lambeth because Williams invited US church leaders who consecrated Robinson and other church leaders who accept gay relationships. - Sapa-AP