2:26am BST 26/07/2007
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, was in typically ebullient form last week when I spoke to him at Bishopthorpe, his medieval palace on the banks of the River Ouse near York.
Inevitably, questions over the future of the worldwide Anglican Communion surfaced, and Dr Sentamu, a close ally of his counterpart at Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, issued a plea for unity.
He warned the leaders of the conservative Global South group that they would be in danger of putting themselves outside the worldwide Church if they carried out their threats to boycott the Lambeth Conference next year.
He said: "The thing that unites all Christians is our faith in the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and what makes us Christians is that we participate in the death and resurrection of Christ.
"The other thing to remember is that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace.
"As long as someone does not deny the very basic doctrines of the Church - the creation, the death, the resurrection of Christ and human beings being made in the image of God - then the rest really helps but they are not the core message.
"And I haven’t found that in Ecusa or in Canada, where I was recently, they have any doubts in their understanding of God which is very different from anybody. What they have quarrelled about is the nature of sexual ethics."
He nevertheless emphasised that Dr Williams does expect those who attend Lambeth to abide by the decision-making processes of the Anglican Communion.
"The Archbishop of Canterbury is very clear that he still reserves the right to withdraw the invitations and that those who are invited are accepting the Windsor process and accepting the process about the covenant.
"But in another sentence, he said that attending Lambeth is not also a test of orthodoxy.
"Church regulations and Church legislation should not stand in the way of the gospel of love your neighbour.
"You are members of one body and therefore you should listen to one another and find a way out.
"I want to say to both sides, you would do well to come to the Lambeth Conference for us to hammer out our differences.
"It will be no good for either side to say, it doesn’t matter now, we can just do anything we like."
Click here to read the entire interview.