The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has told a gathering of bishops that church members have “disagreed without hatred” this week.
It comes after the archbishop reaffirmed a 1998 Anglican declaration rejecting same-sex marriage, sparking a controversy over the church’s relationships with the LGBTQ+ community.
The resolution states that marriage is “between a man and a woman”, and that same-sex relationships are “incompatible with scripture”.
On Tuesday, the archbishop said that he could not and would not punish churches for conducting gay marriages.
He said: “I neither have, nor do I seek, the authority to discipline or exclude a church of the Anglican Communion.
“I will not do so.”
But on Wednesday comedian Sandi Toksvig criticised the church’s stance, saying that the lives of LGBTQ+ people were “at stake”.
In response, the archbishop offered to meet with Ms Toksvig for a coffee, adding that the threats she and other LGBTQ+ people “have experienced in the name of Jesus Christ are a sin”.
Speaking at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury on Friday, the Archbishop appeared to reference the row.
“We do not hate as our enemies want us to,” he said.
“And may I say, by God’s grace, this week we have disagreed without hatred, not as many in the press want us to."
The archbishop told the attendees that a journalist friend of one of his sons had said that his editor was disappointed that the disagreement had been so civil.
“A friend of one of our children, one of our sons, a reporter who is a Christian said ‘I rejoice and I am sad, I rejoice because this week I have seen something new, people who disagree loving each other, but my news editor is very sad because there is nothing to say about that’.”
The archbishop’s comments came during the second keynote address at the Lambeth Conference, a meeting of Anglican bishops which is convened once every 10 years.