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Lambeth Calls: Discipleship

by
19 August 2022

Read the full Call and how it was received at the Lambeth Conference

Richard Washbrooke/Lambeth Conference

Discipleship: discussions during the discipleship plenary

Discipleship: discussions during the discipleship plenary

Affirmation

WE THE Bishops assembled at the Lambeth Conference, in this season of intentional discipleship, commit ourselves to learn and learn again the liberating way of Christ in every aspect of our lives, with the strength that God supplies;

 

Calls

We also call on all Anglicans to learn and learn again the liberating way of Christ in every aspect of their lives, with the strength that God supplies. So we call on Anglicans to be guided by the Five Marks of Mission to

  • Tell — to proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom through our worship and in daily life;
  • Teach — to teach, baptise, and nurture new believers through our local churches;
  • Tend — to respond to human need by loving service in whatever ways we can;
  • Transform — to work to transform unjust structures of society, challenging violence of every kind, and pursuing peace and reconciliation;
  • Treasure — to strive to safeguard the integrity of Creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth;

We call on all those who lead churches to enable our gatherings for worship, alongside small groups, to be the place where we intentionally learn these things — gatherings where we are formed and transformed in our hearts, minds, and spirits for Christ’s liberating and whole-of-life discipleship.

We call on our churches to work intentionally and creatively with young people so that they can enable this learning and transformation to take place for themselves and for the whole Church.

We call on our seminaries, theological colleges, and training programmes to give this learning about discipleship a central place in their programmes, so that all ordained and lay ministers, female and male, young and old, may be equipped to enable those they serve to learn these things.

We call on the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion to support and monitor progress in these areas with the help of the Commission for Evangelism and Discipleship and report back to the next ACC and to the next Lambeth Conference.

 

Renewal ‘via a radical edge’

THE Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Michael Curry, said: “Something profoundly different happens in a person’s life when their centre of gravity is no longer self but Christ,” writes Paul Handley. He used himself as an example: “There’s nothing special about Michael Curry, but put Jesus in Michael Curry and you’re going to get something good.”

Being a member of a church was “nice”, he said, but that was just a beginning. “We don’t need to make more Churchians; we need to make more Christians.”

In the plenary, the Primate of the West Indies, Dr Howard Gregory, quoted the author Sherry Weddell: “Most of our Christians are not yet disciples.” The Archbishop’s contention was that the “faithful exercise of intentional discipleship will lead others to Christ and to a living, growing, and vibrant Church”.

He spoke of the outcome of a programme of discipleship-training in his diocese of Jamaica: lay involvement in ministry and mission, especially during the pandemic; an unparalleled number of people registering for lay-leadership training; and greater interest in online Bible studies and teaching.

The Assistant Bishop of Wellington in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, soon to be the Suffragan Bishop of Hull, Dr Eleanor Sanderson (News, 1 July), speaking earlier, addressed the danger of clericalism. Her diocesan programmes prioritised young people, and those who were not ordained or stipendiary. It was a movement for the whole people of God, she said.

At the plenary, she suggested that, when God renews the Church, God often does that via a “radical edge” that reminds the rest of the Church what a life in Christ looks like. She described intentional missional communities and new monastic communities in her present diocese, including a stream of young Anglicans who lived in one of the bishops’ houses, sharing in the rhythm of prayer, and then moving out to reproduce their experience elsewhere.

She spoke of “a DNA” in people who had been discipled and were confident to disciple others, working sacrificially, and open to the directions of the Holy Spirit. And she wanted to assure the Conference: “it works” — people come to faith, grow in discipleship, and witness to others an abundant “Jesus-shaped life”. The challenge was, in particular, to nominal Christianity. But in many places the Church was ceasing to exist, “so we must pass on the treasures of our kingdom”.

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