The Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, Njongonkulu Ndungane, has called on Anglicans to stop fighting over gay clergy issues which threaten to split the church.

In an interview with The Washington Post he said that it is time that the church move on and focus on the social ills – such as HIV/AIDS – that affect many of its 77 million members around the world.

Ndungane is considered one of the very few senior Anglican leaders from Africa who take a more tolerant and liberal approach to gays in the church.

The Anglican Church has been in a state of crisis after the openly gay Gene Robinson was made Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Some conservative branches of the church, primarily those in Africa, have threatened to split from the church over the issue.

“He has been elected by his people and the people are comfortable with that,” said Ndungane about Robinson. “The Anglican Communion should be on the forefront of fighting social ills and not bothering about what Gene Robinson may be doing or not doing”, he told the newspaper.

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