London, July 21 : The Right Rev Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo, has suggested to his colleagues at the Lambeth Conference today that they should take the afternoon off to settle their theological differences over a game of cricket.
The sporting invitation from de Chickera came in an otherwise hard-hitting sermon in which he reminded all 650 bishops attending that the Anglican Church was an "inclusive" community where everyone was equal, regardless of sexual orientation.
The sermon marked the official start of the conference in Canterbury and confirmed the Church's liberal direction.
But Bishop de Chickera, who was preaching at the personal invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, freely admitted the reality of the current divisions over gay consecrations and same-sex blessings.
"The reality is that we are a wounded Anglican Communion. Some of us are not here and that is an indication that all is not well," The Times quoted de Chickera, as saying.
"Certainly the crisis is complex. It is not a crisis that can be resolved instantly and the journey ahead is a long and arduous one, a journey that will demand our prayers, our faithfulness, our mutual trust in each other and our trust in God who makes reconcilation possible."
The bishop made clear the growing consensus at the Lambeth Conference that the Episcopal Church of the US must not be excluded from the Communion for its consecration five years ago of Bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire.
Bishop Robinson was not at the service, because he has not been invited to the conference.