Setback for Church conservatives

Dar Es Salem, Tanzania - Conservative Anglican archbishops have suffered a rebuff in their efforts to expel the US Episcopal Church over its liberal stance on homosexuality.

A report drawn up for church leaders meeting in Tanzania concludes that the US Church has largely met demands for it to conform with orthodox teaching.

The crisis began when the US Church decided to ordain an openly-gay bishop.

BBC Religious Affairs correspondent Robert Piggott says the report's conclusions will be hotly disputed.

The US Church had agreed rather half-heartedly to meet the demands, he says, fuelling the determination of conservative churches to expel them.

He adds that it is somewhat surprising that the specially-commissioned report has judged the response to be generally in accord with Anglican orthodoxy.

The demands included:

* an apology for the original decision to ordain openly-gay Gene Robinson in 2003

* a promise not to repeat the action

* an end to church blessings for same-sex couples

Despite the report finding in the Episcopal Church's favour, there is scope for further division at the Tanzania meeting, our correspondent says.

Conservative archbishops were due to put forward their plan for a parallel church in the US, under its own bishop, to cater for traditionalists who have broken away from the Episcopal Church.

Such an organisation could attract disgruntled traditionalists from other sections of the Anglican Church outside the US, and could eventually rival the main Church, our correspondent says.