The BBC reported Wednesday the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who is considered a liberal, said the election of openly-gay the Rev. Gene Robinson as the next Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire would have a significant impact on the church worldwide.
Traditionalist Anglicans have condemned Robinson's appointment, which threatens to cause a split in church ranks.
Senior clerics abroad have expressed great distress and there are plans for emergency meetings to discuss what action to take.
"We need as a church to be very careful about making decisions for our own part of the world which constrain the church elsewhere," Williams said.
Conservatives say Robinson's election has already shattered the church, and they are planning a meeting of like-minded Anglicans, including archbishops from the developing world, to plot a possible future apart from the U.S. church.