The Archbishop of Canterbury has conceded he can do nothing to prevent walkouts as he bids to rescue the global Anglican Communion.

This month emergency talks are taking place to try and rescue the Anglican Communion – an international alliance of churches including the Church of England and a number of other Protestants around the world.

However, while the Church of England is relatively moderate when it comes to gay rights, a number of other churches within the global Anglican Communion remain militantly opposed.

There have long been fears that divides the more liberal churches and others within the Communion – particularly African churches who reject the teachings on gay rights – could provoke a schism.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, the Archbishop – who leads the Communion – said: “Certainly I want reconciliation. Reconciliation doesn’t always mean agreement, in fact it very seldom does. It means finding ways of disagreeing well.

“There is nothing I can do if people decide to leave the room. It won’t split the communion.”

“The Church is a family and you remain a family even if you go your separate ways.”

“A schism would not be a disaster, God is bigger than our failures, but it would be a failure.

“It would not be good if the Church is unable to set an example to the world of showing how we can love one another and disagree profoundly because we are brought together by Jesus Christ not be our own choice.”