Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury is understood to be backing plans that would create a “parallel” conservative Church in America in a bid to for American conservatives to avert prevent further splits over the ordination of gay clergy and wider attitudes to homosexuality.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Dr Williams has held talks with senior American bishops who oppose some of the more liberal approaches taken by the Episcopal Church.

The Episocopal Church, a member of the Anglican Communion has seen a four per cent drop in members to just 2.2 million members across the United States.

The newspaper reports that he will allow 20 conservative bishops to hold their own enclave which would allow them to technically remain within the Anglican Communion but work with right wing bishops from around the world with similar views.

The once a decade Lambeth conference of the 800 leaders of the Anglican Communion will be held this July and Dr Williams is keen to ensure that he can avoid further splits before the gathering.

He has faced controversy in recent months both for attending a communion with gay clergy and for suggesting that it was inevitable that Sharia law will be given official recognition in some circumstances within Britain.