The split in the Anglican Church over the issue of homosexuality has continued today, with ultra-conservative church leaders condemning the policies of the Church of England as evil.

The “Global South”, a group of ultra-right wing, anti-gay bishops led by the Nigerian archbishop, Dr Peter Akinola in letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, urge him to reconsider his personal views on homosexuality: “we urge you to rethink your personal view and embrace the Church’s consensus and to act on it, based as it is on the clear witness of Scripture.”

Dr Williams has in the past been tolerant of gay clergy and at a meeting of the General Synod this week in London, he called for reconciliation over the issue of gay clergy.

The bishops urge the Church of England to seek a “conscientious exception” to the Civil Partnership Act to ensure that there it does not “give the appearance of evil with regard to its ‘partnered’ clergy.”

A spokesman for Dr Williams said: “If this letter is a contribution to the debate to which the church is committed, then it is to be welcomed. If it is an attempt to foreclose that debate, it would seem to serve very little purpose indeed.”

Earlier this month, Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Anglican Bishop, said 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.