THE 2020 Lambeth Conference will be held in Canterbury from 23 July to 2 August, it was confirmed this week.
Every “active bishop” within the Anglican Communion’s 40 provinces — Chile became the 40th this month — will be invited, with spouses bringing the total to more than 800.
The theme — “God’s Church for God’s world” — was announced last year by the Design Group, chaired by the Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, who said that it would help the Communion to “look at something greater and bigger than ourselves, and not to quibble around the little things within the family” (News, 20 October 2017).
Items for discussion are also being suggested by the Anglican Communion Primates in a series of regional meetings.
A former Bishop at Lambeth, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, has been appointed Chaplain to the Conference. Most events will take place at the University of Kent in Canterbury. It will be the Archbishop of Canterbury’s first Lambeth Conference: when the 2008 Conference took place, he was not yet a bishop.
In a video message, Archbishop Welby said: “We do have very important differences, but we must show that we respect each other as sisters and brothers in Christ, and that we learn to disagree in a way that demonstrates that we love and value each other. . . But, whatever views we come with, we come to be under the authority of scripture, and inspired by the Spirit. Quite rightly, and very importantly, the programme centres around studying the Bible together, reading the Bible together, listening to God and praying together.”
He hoped that the bishops would “look outwards at the world that needs the good news of Jesus Christ. And it needs to see it in our actions, envy it in our love together, and hear it in our confident proclamation of the good news of Jesus.”
A daily programme of Bible studies will explore 1 Peter. This month, an international group of 35 New Testament scholars from Anglican and other Churches around the world gathered at Lambeth Palace to prepare material for this (News, 14 September). The group tasked with producing the Bishops’ teaching document on sexuality (Living in Love and Faith) is scheduled to complete its work in advance of the Conference.
The full price for each Lambeth Conference delegate — not including travel — is £4950. A bursary scheme is available.
Last month, Evangelical bishops in the C of E backed calls by GAFCON for both ACNA and the Anglican Church in Brazil to be invited (News, 26 October).
GAFCON has also urged GAFCON members to decline their invitation to the Conference, unless the Archbishop excludes the bishops of Provinces that have “endorsed by word or deed sexual practices which are in contradiction to the teaching of Scripture and Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, unless they have repented of their actions and reversed their decisions” (News, 29 June).
In response, the Evangelical bishops suggested that “representations will need to be made to him by all orthodox Anglicans, in order to indicate the strength of feeling on this issue”.