The general synod of the Anglican Church in Canada is meeting today to consider decisions that could split the church.

The meeting of bishops, clergy and laity, held every three years, is to consider tomorrow whether same-sex couples should be allowed a church blessing.

Six former Archbishops have come out in favour of blessing gay and lesbian relationships.

“By affirming same gender blessings you will have voted for a church that is committed to building inclusive communities of justice, compassion and hope for all God’s people,” they said in a statement.

If the synod, meeting in Winnipeg, vote to allow same-sex recognition, they are likely to face expulsion from the rest of the Anglican communion.

The US Anglican church has already been censured and told to come into line with traditional teachings on homosexuality after they ordained an openly gay man as Bishop of New Hampshire.

The call to recognise gay relationships is an issue within the Church of England as well as the US and Canadian churches.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is keen to try to find a compromise that will hold the fractured church together.

If the Canadians decide to approve same-sex blessings then the chances of a worldwide schism along traditional/liberal lines looks ever more likely.

The Winnipeg synod also looks set to elect the first woman primate in the history of the Anglican church.

Bishop of Edmonton the Right Reverend Victoria Matthews is the front-runner to be elected Archbishop.

Ironically her conservative views on homosexuality mean she has more support from traditionalists than from liberals in the Canadian church.