*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

Don’t look to Lambeth Conference for power

by
05 October 2011

iStock

From the Revd David Vannerley

Sir, — I am sure that many will regret the view of the Global South Primates that the Instruments of Unity are dysfunctional (News, 23 September); but, before such a judgement is made, we might pause to consider what the functions of the Instruments are.

In the case of the Lambeth Conference, it is clear that from the first it has functioned in a consultative and non-coercive way. Lambeth does not legislate: that power lies with the provinces; so it is difficult to see how exactly it could have “adopted resolutions that would have helped resolve the crisis in the Communion”.

A study of the resolutions of the Conferences over the years shows that they sample the majority view of the attending bishops — and no more. Further, that view may evolve over the decades in the face of external and internal pressures, as we can see in the case of the trails of resolutions on artificial contraception, for example.

A similar process can be seen at work in the expressed views of the bishops on women’s ministry. The study of successive Conferences, which I am currently undertaking, has led me to the conclusion that any appeal to the Conference resolutions as being authoritative is ultimately doomed.

DAVID VANNERLEY
34 Cherry Gardens
Herne Bay
Kent CT6 5QZ

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Forthcoming Events

6-7 September 2022
Preaching as Pilgrimage conference
From the College of Preachers.

27-28 September 2022
humbler church Bigger God conference
The HeartEdge Conference in Manchester includes the Theology Slam Live Final.

More events

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)

*Until the end of June: we’re doubling the number of free articles to eight, to celebrate the publication of our Platinum Jubilee double issue.