3 December 2022

Bishops given option to clearly express opposition within days of Lambeth start

Hundreds of Anglican bishops are gathering in the United Kingdom for Lambeth Conference. Picture: iStock

Elspeth Kernebone

26 July 2022

Anglican bishops will be able to clearly express opposition to calls made at Lambeth conference, with changes made to response options days ahead of the conference’s start date.

Hundreds of Anglican bishops from around the world are gathering in the United Kingdom ahead of the first day of the 15th Lambeth Conference on 27 July.

Bishops will make decisions as part of “calls” at the conference on issues such as safe churches, Anglican identity, human dignity, and sustainability. These will then be issued as calls from the conference.

Read more: Cost, sexuality issues see some Australian bishops shun Lambeth summit

Bishops were only given the option to clearly state their opposition to a particular call early on Tuesday morning Australian time.

The Lambeth Calls Subgroup issued a statement saying it had added a third option with which bishops could respond to Lambeth calls, which allowed them to clearly state opposition.

This meant the response options were:

  • “This Call speaks for me. I add my voice to it and commit myself to take the action I can to implement it.”
  • “This Call requires further discernment. I commit my voice to the ongoing process.”
  • “This Call does not speak for me. I do not add my voice to this Call.”

Lambeth Calls Subgroup chair Bishop Tim Thornton said the decision had been made in response to feedback on the draft Call on Human Dignity, which includes reference to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

As drafted, this call affirms that all human beings are made in the image of God – and therefore Anglicans are committed to respect, protect and acknowledge the dignity of all. It also acknowledges a gap between rhetoric and reality, acknowledging historic exploitation, deepening poverty and prejudice.

It includes a reaffirmation of a previous Lambeth decision that “upholds marriage as between a man and a woman and requires deeper work to uphold the dignity and witness of LGBTQ Anglicans”.

Read more: The neglected power of dialogue

Several bishops from Australia have joined those worldwide in not attending the conference, some citing the presence of “some who have flouted the resolutions made at [the 1998 Lambeth conference]”.

Anglican primates in Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda have boycotted the conference saying the Church continued to fail to address the questions of revisionism in line with the rise of secular culture in the Church.

Lambeth conference will formally begin with a bishops retreat beginning on 27 July, lasting until the weekend. Bishops will then move into sessions of Bible expositions, studies, and plenary sessions.

The calls sessions are for bishops only, and will be confidential.

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