PLANS for the Lambeth Conference 2008 were going “full steam ahead” after an international meeting last week to begin to set the agenda, a spokesman for the St Augustine’s Seminar said on Tuesday (News, 10 November). The group is preparing items for consideration by the conference’s Design Group.
The Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the seminar, and expressed the hope that the Conference would lead to “a recovery of structural self-confidence in the Anglican Communion to make it a more effective agent of God’s mission”, said a statement from the group issued on Tuesday.
A Nigerian bishop was among the 30 representatives at the meeting, but there was no bishop from the United States. ECUSA was represented by Canon Ian Douglas, a member of the Lambeth Design Group. Speakers had had “an incredible exchange of views”, said Jim Rosenthal, a spokesman for the Anglican Communion Office.
“We see the Lambeth Conference 2008 as a great opportunity where bishops of the Anglican Communion gather to celebrate their fellowship in Jesus Christ. We see it as an occasion when the bishops can listen and discuss the challenges that are facing the Communion. By respectfully listening to each other in the spirit of reconciling love, bishops will be enabled to address controversial issues,” the statement said.
Bishops are to meet for prayer and Bible study in groups of eight, before discussions in groups of 40.
No further detail emerged about the final agenda. More is promised from the next meeting of the Group on 11 December, and bishops are invited to forward suggestions for the final agenda. “[The group members] were clear as to what will make a successful and appropriate Lambeth Conference, and the spirit in which they describe what they want a Lambeth Conference to be is a minimal requirement for participation,” Mr Rosenthal said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s wife, Jane Williams, also met a group of bishops’ spouses in London and Canterbury to look at the separate spouses’ programme for 2008. The group identified four questions for consideration: what it meant to be a bishop’s spouse; the challenges placed on spouses for leadership responsibilities; the support of family life; and prayer and spirituality.
“We believe that the independent contributions [of spouses] are real resources upon which the Church relies, and therefore the well-being of the spouses is vital to equipping the life of the Christian community,” a statement said.