Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Anglican Bishop, said today that he believed that the Anglican Communion will eventually come to embrace gay men and women, although it is unlikely to be in his lifetime.

He told the BBC, “I believe that the acceptance of gay and lesbian people into the life of the Church is something that is going to happen. It may not happen in my lifetime, but that is all right. It will happen in God’s own time.”

In the interview, broadcast on Friday morning, he said that he is not suggesting that any other parts of the Anglican community ordain gay priests or consecrate gay Bishops. “We are only asking that we be allowed to do this in our own context, which is admittedly different to that of most of the world.”

Bishop Robinson is visiting Britain to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the group, Changing Attitude, an organisation that promotes the acceptance of openly gay clergy.

Yesterday, the Bishop met the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in a private meeting that was described as “friendly but candid”.

A spokesman for the spiritual head of the Church of England said, “the encounter came as part of the Archbishop’s commitment to listening to the voices of all concerned in the current challenges facing the Anglican Communion.”