The Church of England is being told to welcome gay couples or they will be damned like racists, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
The Most Rev Justin Welby has said there is a ‘great fear’ blessing the unions of gay couples.
But he said the Church’s decisions could mean it become irrelevant in a changing society.
Welby was speaking in a personal address to a General Synod meeting in London shortly after the Church agreed to allow the creation of the first female bishops.
‘There is great fear among some, here and round the world, that that will lead to the betrayal of our traditions, to the denial of the authority of scripture, to apostasy, not to use too strong a word,’ he said, according to The Daily Telegraph.
‘And there is also a great fear that our decisions will lead us to the rejection of LGBT people, to irrelevance in a changing society, to behaviour that many see akin to racism.
‘Both those fears are alive and well in this room today. We have to find a way forward that is one of holiness and obedience to the call of God and enables us to fulfil our purposes.
‘This cannot be done through fear. How we go forward matters deeply, as does where we arrive.’
Welby urged the Church of England to stay together, saying: ‘A church that loves those with whom the majority deeply disagree is a church that will be unpleasantly challenging to a world where disagreement is either banned within a given group or removed and expelled.’
‘It is also absolutely true the church has not always served the LGBT communities as it should,’ he said.