Thoughts and Hopes for the Lambeth Conference: 26 July – 8 August 2022
The Lambeth Conference, first held in 1867 and to which now all bishops of the world-wide Anglican Communion are invited, takes place every ten years. At least, it should do, but this time, due to a postponement of two years due to COVID, and the fact that the previous one was in 2008, it will have been a 14-year gap by the time we get to it. Much has happened in the past 14 years. This gap also highlights the fact that most bishops – not all by any means, but most – will only attend one Conference in their life. That is certainly true for me. So, as I begin to think about packing my bags for Canterbury (despite the title, most of the Conference is hosted at the University of Kent in Canterbury), what do I want to take with me? What are my thoughts and, more importantly even, what are my hopes for this, the fifteenth Lambeth Conference, with the title ‘God’s Church for God’s World’?
- I look forward most of all to hearing the stories of bishops from across the world: to learn of the context of ministry in the Anglican Church in Africa, Canada, Japan, India, wherever it may be, and of the opportunities and challenges of the Church in those places.
- I look forward to simply being with other bishops: to abide in their company, rejoicing that God has called us to serve Him in different places at the same time.
- Part of the emphasis of the conference is the study of Scripture. Our set text is the First Letter of St Peter: a circular addressed to the early Christian communities and churches in what is now Turkey. It speaks of what it means to live in the world as a Christian, what we must bring that is distinctive, and how we respond to difficulty and hardship and even persecution. For some of my sisters and brothers, this last question will be more urgent and real than it is for me. It will be a privilege to study this scripture with them.
- The variety and diversity of Anglicanism is a cause for rejoicing. While it can occasionally cause differences of opinions to arise, there is a tradition of living openly with sincerely held but differing views on issues of faith and order, and of discussing them in a way that enables us to learn from each other. The variety of liturgy and worship will be wonderful, too.
- I will tell the story of Sodor and Man and will seek to share something of the blessings of our Island. I will learn the lessons that others have to teach me, and I will, I pray, bring those lessons back with me on 8 August to offer them as a gift to our parishes, our people, and our shared life together.
Please pray for the Lambeth Conference, for bishops and spouses attending, and for all who will support the Conference spiritually and practically, that it may speak of God’s Church in God’s World with a voice that is faithful, courageous and kind.
Further information and resources for the Lambeth Conference 2022 can be found here : WEBLINK