justin welby
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin WelbyReuters

Some 105 high-profile Anglicans have signed a letter calling for the Church of England to repent for its treatment of gay and lesbian people. The letter calls on the two Archbishops, of Canterbury and York, to take their message to the global Anglican communion, a meeting of 38 national leaders of the Anglican Church that begins in Canterbury on Monday (11 January 2016) to discuss issues of sexuality.

The letter calls for acknowledgement that the church has "failed in our duty of care to LGBTI members," saying that LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people have been treated "as a problem to be solved rather than as brothers and sisters in Christ to be embraced and celebrated".

It goes on to ask the church to repent "for accepting and promoting discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, and for the pain and rejection that this has caused" and the need to "apologise for our part in perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs about LGBTI people." Some have suggested that more conservative bishops from Africa and Asia may stage a walkout in protest at the liberal bishop's support for gay marriage. The letter has been signed by almost half of the cathedral deans in the UK, eight retired bishops, seven archdeacons and two MPs, among others.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who called for the Anglican communion, and Archbishop of York John Sentamu are urged in the letter to be "prophetic in your action and Christ-like in your love towards our LGBTI sisters and brothers who have been ignored and even vilified for too long".