Carey to go on Bosnian peace mission

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, is to visit Sarajevo, it was announced yesterday as the Church of England's General Synod opened its new session with a plea for unity from the Queen.

Dr Carey will visit Sarajevo between 15 and 18 December following an invitation from the Bosnian ambassador. In September he told the United Nations that he hoped the Anglican Communion could serve as an honest broker in the Bosnian conflict. Yesterday his office said: "He hopes by this pre-Christmas visit he can demonstrate visibly his solidarity with the people of Sarajevo at this crucial time."

The Queen, opening the meeting of the newly elected General Synod at Church House, Westminster, told its members that the Christian Faith was exemplified in its attempts to hold together supporters and opponents of women priests.

"As our national Church, the Church of England has always served all people in any place, not only those who attend its services. That is the heart of the duty of an established church," she said.

"The last synod will always be remembered . . . for the painstaking care with which it strove to accommodate and to hold together people of all opinions in its aftermath. There has been, I know, pain in this for some, but the efforts made to assuage it surely exemplify the Christian faith."

The synod is the only body outside Parliament which can make English law, and so has a unique constitutional position.The agenda outlined by the Queen includes debate of the report of the Turnbull Commission, which proposes uniting all the Church's central powers under a central committee chaired and largely appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. There will also be discussion of a successor to the Alternative Service Book.