Pro-LGBT Anglicans are hitting back at suggestions the Church of England's gay-friendly sister church in America could be booted out of the global Anglican Communion over its stance on same-sex weddings.
A hard-hitting letter from the CofE's general secretary, William Nye, warned The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the US it could face 'stringent consequences' if it went ahead with plans for a gender neutral wedding service.
He said the CofE would be under pressure to 'disassociate' itself from its American counterpart and could lead to TEC's position in the 80 million strong Anglican Communion being 'untenable'.
The letter was in response to a consultation of the worldwide Communion by TEC before the proposals go before the general convention in July. The plans would change the wedding service in TEC's Book of Common Prayer from a 'union of husband and wife' to a 'union of two people' and change the intention of marriage from being 'for the procreation of children' to 'for the gift of children' so as to be more inclusive toward same-sex couples who wanted to adopt.
Nye said 'the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC in all manner of ways would increase' and many would feel the American Church no longer had 'room to remain authentically part of global Anglicanism'.
However now a lobby group has responded to Nye's letter saying it was met with 'anger, frustration and disappointment'.
One Body One Faith, which calls for a more accepting attitude to LGBT relationships in the Church of England, described the American Church's decision as 'brave and costly'. It added the Church was being judged and found 'sorely wanting' for its attitude to same-sex couples.
'No-one is attracted to a group of Christians who profess the love of Christ but seem incapable of recognising it in the loving, committed relationships of two people. These matters are not disconnected,' a letter to Nye signed by the group's chair Canon Peter Leonard and chief executive Tracey Byrne said.
'We continue to look forward to a day when we are able to recognise love as just that. It is love which reveals the love of Christ, wherever we encounter it: in and between human beings, in all their diversity.'
Seven Anglican provinces, including the CofE, responded to TEC's consultation and six of them said such a change would have a negative affect.
The Primate of Tanzania, Most Rev Jacob Erasto Chimeledya, said: 'From now onward be informed that we are not having any church partnership. Please do not write me back on this matter.'
However TEC seems content to push ahead undeterred by the criticism from fellow Anglican provinces. The changes will be discussed in July.