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‘Lambeth 2020 must address global issues’  

26 July 2019

Dr Makgoba calls for social needs to top next year’s agenda


Canterbury Cathedral, which will host both the formal start and end of next year’s Lambeth Conference

Canterbury Cathedral, which will host both the formal start and end of next year’s Lambeth Conference

THE Lambeth Conference — which will begin in one year’s time — must speak out to the world about what Anglicanism has to offer, those designing its programme have said.

In a video released on Tuesday to mark the final 12 months, members of the conference’s design group spoke of their hopes for Lambeth 2020.

The Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, who chairs the group, said that the conference must declare that Anglicans were offering themselves as “bridge-builders” to a world which needs peace and reconciliation.

“We are there for peace, to address some of the social needs. We are there, in our brokenness, to look at growth — to rebuild trust in the world,” he said. This message echoes the theme of next summer’s event: “God’s Church for God’s World”.

LAMBETH CONFERENCEThe Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, speaks of his hopes for next year’s Lambeth Conference during a video to mark the one-year countdown

A similar sentiment was expressed by the Bishop of Penrith, Dr Emma Ineson, who spoke of the “immense capacity of the Anglican Communion to have an influence around the world” on issues such as climate change or modern slavery.

At the conference — the first since a fractious meeting in 2008 dominated by division over gay bishops — bishops from every Province in the Anglican Communion will meet in Canterbury for a week of Bible studies, keynote speeches, seminars, and discussions.

A series of consultations on what topics should be discussed were held during regional Primates’ meetings over the past year, and feedback from these is being used by the design group to draw up an agenda.

The Bishop of Dallas, the Rt Revd George Sumner, another member of the design group, said in the video that Lambeth 2020 was a “remarkable opportunity to realise we inherit something which is ancient, which we want to pass on to our spiritual children and grandchildren, and that we share that with this amazing, fragile, beautiful communion of brother and sister Churches throughout the world”.

Catherine Ngangira, a Zimbabwean ordinand at Cranmer Hall, said that she wanted the outside world to hear a clear message from the conference: “There is a place for everyone in the family of God, and, as a Church, we need to be representative of that family.”

But the lead-up to the once-in-a-decade gathering has been overshadowed by more rows and threats of walk-outs.

Same-sex partners of bishops have not been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury, over fears of a mass boycott by conservative bishops (News, 22 February).

Primates linked with the conservative GAFCON movement have already announced that they plan to hold an alternative conference one month before Lambeth 2020 in Kigali, Rwanda (News, 10 May).

Last month, in an interview with the Church Times, Dr Makgoba said that the Communion needed GAFCON around the table to have its debates fully, and pleaded with them to come to Canterbury in July 2020 (News, 28 June).

“I’m urging everyone to say really, really, that boycotts have never helped any of our nations to attain freedom,” he said. “Boycotts never helped us to agree on the creeds in the Anglican tradition. Boycotts fuel breakages.

“We can’t just say, ‘Let’s vote: are you in or are you out?’ That’s not how the Church works.”

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