Here is the text of the statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams (search), following the consecration of V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire (search). Williams is the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch:

"It was recognized fully at last month's meeting of Anglican leaders that the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop in New Hampshire would have very serious consequences for the cohesion of the Anglican Communion (search).

"That meeting requested the setting up of a commission which would examine these consequences in depth. Last week the membership of that group was announced and I look forward to being in close touch with it as its work develops.

"The meeting also encouraged me to be in discussion with the leaders of the provinces concerned about provisions made for those alienated by decisions which appear to go against Catholic order or biblical teaching. Such discussion has already begun.

"The divisions that are arising are a matter of deep regret; they will be all too visible in the fact that it will not be possible for Gene Robinson's ministry as a bishop to be accepted in every province in the communion.

"It is clear that those who have consecrated Gene Robinson have acted in good faith on their understanding of what the constitution of the American church permits. But the effects of this upon the ministry and witness of the overwhelming majority of Anglicans particularly in the nonwestern world have to be confronted with honesty.

"The autonomy of Anglican provinces is an important principle. But precisely because we rely on relations more than rules, consultation and interdependence are essential for our health.

"The Primates meeting last month expressed its desire to continue as 'a communion where what we hold in common is much greater than that which divides us.' We need now to work very hard to giving new substance to this, and to pray for wisdom, patience and courage as we move forward."