The only openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion has said that people who want to change the church to become more accepting should “expect suffering.”

Gene Robinson, the Bishop of New Hampshire, was addressing a congregation at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento, California.

“We want to change the world without paying the price for it,” he said, according to kcra.com

“Most of what I’ve learned about our movement I’ve learned from the African-American civil rights movement in this country.

“And those people went out and paid their dues for civil rights, knowing there’s going to be dogs and fire hoses and tear gas and maybe death.

“And so you and I, especially if you are in the LGBT community, you and I need to toughen up. And we need to expect suffering.”

On Sunday a group of senior Anglican clergy announced the formation of a breakaway group that rejects the acceptance of gay relationships and the ordination of gay clergy, called the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FOCA).

Since Bishop Robinson’s installation, there has been civil war over gay issues among the Anglican Communion.

The breakaway group, backed by 300 of the 800 or so bishops in the Church, intend to snub the Archbishop of Canterbury by not attending the Lambeth Conference later this month.

It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions is against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony.

“In 2003 this false gospel led to the consecration of a bishop living in a homosexual relationship,” the group said in a statement.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, criticised the formation of the new “global network,” and said it was not enough to just dismiss the existing structures of the worldwide Communion.

“If they are not working effectively, the challenge is to renew them rather than to improvise solutions that may seem to be effective for some in the short term but will continue to create more problems than they solve,” said Dr Williams.

A spokesman for the Archbishop was more forthright, telling the Daily Telegraph:

“It is ludicrous to say you do not recognise the Archbishop of Canterbury or the see of Canterbury; they are the defining characteristics of Anglicanism. By doing away with the role and the place, these people are becoming a Protestant sect.”