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

Lambeth 2022: The way ahead, guided by scripture

06 August 2022

Neil Turner/Lambeth Conference

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle addresses the bishops on “The Decade Ahead”, on Saturday

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle addresses the bishops on “The Decade Ahead”, on Saturday

THE Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelisation at the Vatican, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, threw out hard challenges in a kindly way on Saturday, as the Lambeth Conference looked ahead over the next decade until it comes time to assemble again.

Cardinal Tagle looked at the first Letter of Peter, the epistle that the Conference had used as its core text for the week, and described the Church found in it to be longing to find its spiritual house, its “dream home”.

Did Christians in the diaspora “still feel like journeyers, or temporary settlers, or guests?” he wondered. “We can be so established in our ways and culture that we start behaving like owners of lands, peoples, and ideas.

“The letter reminds us of the displaced peoples of today — exiles, travellers like the forced migrants, the refugees, the victims of human slavery. . . When they reach a new place, their condition does not necessarily become better.” As strangers, communities often avoided them, and the marginalised were blamed for all the ills in society. “Will they find hospitality and compassion?” he asked. “How do we see and relate to ‘the other’?”

The idea of building the dream home came back to the question of diversity, he suggested. Families seeking to build a common house had difficult memories of years of neglect, violence, and war, and children had been traumatised by neglect and abuse.

Furthermore, “We know that building relationships faces the contemporary challenge of populism. Social media has influenced the dangerous language of ‘populism’ and ‘populist’. [Those words] have lost whatever value they might have had. Efforts have been made to classify entire groups as populist, undermining efforts of developing relationships and forming a human family.”

Nor, said Cardinal Tagle, could the “inter-generational otherness”, even within the same family, be ignored. Technological advances and developments in artificial intelligence had been reshaping and redefining human identity and relationships. “‘Friends’ doesn’t [now] mean the same thing.”

Developing cultural intelligence and living for Jesus required humility, he reflected. “Culture is second nature to us. We talk, eat, dream, celebrate according to our culture. We must understand how people express their humanity in their own cultures.” People needed “the humility to admit that, while I lack knowledge of my culture, I am quick to judge what even I am not familiar with.”

Jesus had brought God’s culture to human culture by redefining space and time — time not based on the watch, he reflected. This was about obedience to the will of God. He cited the stories of the Good Samaritan, the centurion, the identification of being “crucified outside the city walls”.

He made frequent references to “living stones” as he he spoke of the future coming alive in the present. He recalled, in a refugee camp, seeing a government official among the team handing out food, and being curious to know whether it was part of her official remit in terms of sponsorship of the food programme.

“She said: ‘No. These are my brothers and sisters.’ She was teaching me to walk humbly with others. We are the hope, the home that God wants to build.”

 

THEN came witnesses with hopes for the future. Caroline Welby introduced two bishops’ spouses: Phylis Magina from Kenya — “How much God could do if the world came together as the Conference has done” — and Jesicah Ingen from Papua New Guinea, who had felt: “I was not alone. I was connected to a wider global church. . . We come from different backgrounds and there are so many challenges. It’s been a stepping-stone to motivate us.”

Aaron Vidyasagar from Queensland, in Australia, commended the way the Church of God had “found something and run with it. Just step forward, one step at a time,” he urged. “I want the world to look at us as people who love above everything else; for the Church to be a safe, loving place to everyone.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury introduced the Bishop of Hokkaido, in Japan, the Rt Revd Maria Grace Tazu Sasamori, who, through an interpreter, spoke of her appreciation of the breadth and diversity of the Anglican Communion — “the value of all the stories we have shared.”

The Bishop of Western North Carolina, the Rt Revd José McLoughlin, had “recognised that the Communion is when I sit at a picnic table with someone who thinks differently from me,” something that had made him able to “face the lions” mentioned in Peter’s Epistle.

When Archbishop Welby asked Nadia Sinclair, a young steward from Canada, about the impact of the Conference on her own Christian faith, she replied shyly: “How God’s community is able to welcome one another.”

There was a standing ovation for the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the outgoing secretary-general of the Anglican Communion (Features, 29 July), on whom Archbishop Welby conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity for his “outstanding contribution to the life of the Church in the world”. It was only the fourth such award of the Archbishop’s ten-year tenure — “in case you think we hand these out like sweeties.”

Neil Turner/Lambeth ConferenceThe Archbishop of Canterbury presents Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon with a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity for his services to the Anglican Communion, assisted by the Primate of Central Africa, the Most Revd Albert Chama, and Howard Dellar, registrar of the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, at the end of the plenary session on “The Decade Ahead”, on Saturday

He quoted the wording of the Ecclesiastical Licence of 1523, which makes reference to “the most learned men from many ages past”. “We owe you a great debt of gratitude,” the Archbishop said, observing that the work had often been “hugely hard in very difficult circumstances”.

Dr Idowu-Fearon noted that, in 1960, Her Majesty’s Government had given Nigeria the freedom to become a republic. The Muslim and Christian leaders of the two halves of the country had agreed to try and work together. “That has continued to direct me, to guide me in my ministry. We are a family. We are very different. . . Let us learn to understand our differences and work together.”

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards

 

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available

 

SAVE THE DATE

Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website

 

ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

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.)