The row of gay bishops in the Anglican Communion has reached a new level this week after liberal clergy in the UK suggested teaming up with ideologically similar US churches, while the denomination’s most traditional church called for pro-gay congregations to be “excised.”

The proposals come in reaction to the head of the Anglican Church, Dr Rowan William’s idea of splitting churches between “associated” and “covenant” provinces.

But the Church of Nigeria says it is unfair to have to accommodate gay affirming churches, calling them “a cancerous lump in the body (which) should be excised if it has defied every known cure. To attempt to condition the whole body to accommodate it will lead to the avoidable death of the patient.”

The African church added: “We encourage the Archbishop of Canterbury to persuade those who have chosen to “walk apart” to return to the path chosen by successive generations of our forbears.”

Meanwhile, UK bishops are pondering turning to liberal US bishops in protest at Dr Williams proposal to divide the Church. The Very Rev Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark suggested the plan could lead to “civil war.”

He told the Sunday Telegraph. “We are on the brink of a breaking point in the Church of England.

“Liberals have been tolerant and permissive of other points of view and what they have to realise is that liberality must be defended.

“I think we will see in the next three of four years liberals worldwide beginning to work together to defend the true Anglican heart, which is broad, tolerant and generous and is under attack.”

Dr Williams said last week, “There is no way in which the Anglican Communion can remain unchanged by what is happening at the moment.

“Neither the liberal nor the conservative can simply appeal to a historic identity that doesn’t correspond with where we now are.”

The statement comes after the General Convention of the US Episcopal Church displeased conservative members after failing to ban the ordination of homosexual bishops, stemming from the outcry of the appointment of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.

The US Episcopal Church agreed on a watered down version of a proposal which would have banned the appointment of gay clergy.