The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke, has denied that the Church of Ireland is attempting to “stall” on the issue of homosexuality on the church by setting up a Select Committee to consider it.

At the annual General Synod yesterday, the Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, the Primate of Ireland, proposed a motion, which was passed by the Synod, to establish a committee on homosexuality and the church.

The sixteen-person committee has been given two years to“ enable listening dialogue and learning… on all issues concerning human sexuality in the context of Christian belief.”

Clarke said: “The subject of same-sex relationships is desperately divisive but we are trying to approach it in a systematic way.

“The creation of a Select Committee is not an attempt to kick anything into the long grass. If we rush things, people will want to think of ‘winning or losing’ but that is not the way the spirit of God works.

“This is a time for people to listen generously to one another. It is no a stalling process, and I would not want to a party to anything which is evolved in this way.”

The Archbishop went on to say that he holds a traditional view of marriage. He said: “I have to be prepared to listen intently to the views of others. I have to be ready to the possibility of my mind and spirit being changed, and others will have to do likewise.”

The Church was also criticised for excluding LGBT people from the new committee as Dr Richard O’Leary, an openly-gay member of the church, and founder of the pro-LGBT group Changing Attitude Ireland, complained that the Select Committee on Human Sexuality, did not contain any LGBT people.

Gerry Lynch, co-chair of Changing Ireland, said: “We have to talk about this in a serious and structured way as a Church, but I regret that there are no representatives of the lesbian and gay community on the Select Committee.

“It is a worrying sign that no lessons have been learned about the exclusion of gay people in the Church. The membership of the Select Committee is a bit like appointing a committee on race relations with an all-white membership.”

At the 2012 Synod, the church passed a motion confirming its opposition to the recognition of gay marriages and describing straight unions as the only ‘normative’ context for a sexual relationship.