The Church of England is part of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide family of Anglican churches in more than 160 different countries. In such a diverse community of churches, the issues surrounding human sexuality have always been hotly debated.
In the UK, the debate centred on the candidacy of Canon Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading who was persuaded to stand down before taking up the post. Canon John has a long term male partner but says he is celibate.
In response to the furore that broke out and the threat by some to break away from the Anglican Communion, the Lambeth Commission under the leadership of the Most Revd Dr Robert Eames (Primate of All Ireland) was asked to examine the legal and theological issues flowing from the decisions to:
> appoint as bishops clergymen in committed
same sex relationships
> use church services in connection with same
The Commission's report (the Windsor Report) was published in October 2004 and makes recommendations which seek to reconcile the church and to keep its members "in communion".
The report is being considered by church leaders in preparation for their next meeting in February 2005.