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Lambeth Calls: Reconciliation

19 August 2022

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

Neil Turner/Lambeth Palace

Reconciliation: (left to right): the Revd Cathrine Ngangira, Assistant Curate of Holy Cross, Bearsted; Sheran Harper, Worldwide President of the Mothers’ Union; the Bishop of Te Pihopatanga o Te Tai Tokerau (a Maori diocese in New Zealand), the Rt Revd Te Kitohi Wiremu Pikaahu; the Primate of the new Province of Mozambique and Angola (IAMA), the Most Revd Carlos Matsinhe; and the Bishop of Amritsar, North India, the Rt Revd Pradeep Samantaroy, link hands and sing during the plenary session on reconciliation

Reconciliation: (left to right): the Revd Cathrine Ngangira, Assistant Curate of Holy Cross, Bearsted; Sheran Harper, Worldwide President of the Mothe...


RELATIONSHIPS through difference are holy and complex. We acknowledge that scripture, in particular 1 Peter, has been interpreted over time by those wielding power in nations, churches, cultures, and households to support the domination and oppression of human beings in gender, religious, economic, ethnic, racial, environmental, and cultural systems. We are participants in systems that cast each of us in different roles in different contexts, creating division, disagreement, and conflict both among us and within us. We recognise that without justice and accountability, God’s reconciliation is not fully realised. Instead, oppression continues, impairing the humanity of all caught up in those systems, regardless of their role. We call on the Holy Spirit to empower and inspire us as we seek right relations in Christ — among us, within each of us, and with creation. We yearn for, and commit to, reconciliation through God’s saving mercy and grace in Jesus, knowing fully that without it, we are both spiritually and functionally impoverished. We are redeemed as a holy nation, yet must continue to work with God in maintaining and building our reconciled reality in God.

This call reaffirms God’s reconciling mission as a central part of the Church’s ministry. Recognising that those in power have sometimes used talk of reconciliation to maintain status and impede efforts towards justice and wholeness, we seek a Communion-wide focus on a renewal of this ministry. As we witness together, we practice the reconciling habits highlighted at the Lambeth Conference — being curious, being present, and reimagining.



We call upon Anglicans worldwide to turn to God in prayer for refreshment in Christ’s distinctive offering of mercy and grace amidst the fracture, division, and polarisation around us.

We ask all bishops to invite their dioceses to join in this Communion-wide practice of reconciliation.

We call upon all bishops to encourage the hopes of the next generation by creating space for young people to participate in reconciliation initiatives.

We invite Anglican seminaries around the Communion, supported by a renewed theological education in the Anglican Communion initiative and the colleges and universities of the Anglican Communion network, to create spaces for training and dialogue on reconciliation as a fundamental part of our identity as followers of Christ, hearing particularly from theologians in areas of the Communion that have historically had less power.

Inspired by many Anglican churches’ work in truth telling, reckoning, and racial healing, we invite each Province to an exercise of self-examination and reflection, listening respectfully to the experiences of those who have historically been, and continue to be, marginalised in their contexts and in their church.ii And we call upon each instrument of unity in the Anglican Communion to a similar self-examining, listening exercise.

Richard Washbrooke/Lambeth PalaceReconciliation: seminar on transforming conflict and division with the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth; the Bishop of Nampula in Mozambique, the Rt Revd Manuel Ernesto; and Richard Melville Smith, Senior Mediation Adviser for the UN

Relating particularly to the ACC, we ask for work to be done on deconstructing the historic legacy of colonialism (ACC18) and continued complicity in British and American empire as we recognise the centrality of justice and accountability in God’s reconciliation.

We call upon the Archbishop of Canterbury and/or the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion to renew and refresh the conversation with the Churches of Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda seeking a full life together as an Anglican family of churches.

We call upon each Instrument of Communion to raise the profile of existing funding streams and networks that will support peace-building responses and individuals standing for justice and wholeness in Provinces experiencing acute conflict

Given the importance of seeking right relations in Christ, we call upon the ACC, Standing Committee, and Primates to offer the Communion an opportunity to meet in an Anglican Congress focusing on God’s mission of reconciliation, to be held outside the US or UK and to include not only bishops but also clergy and lay — in the fullness of who we are, to share stories.


Responsibilities and Further Process

We ask that each Province engages with a reconciliation resource of their choice by the 2025 Primates’ Meeting, in order to share stories from that experience and from listening to groups who have historically been marginalised.

We invite a renewed theological education in the Anglican Communion to support seminaries’ creating spaces for dialogue and to report on resulting outcomes by 2026.

We ask the Instruments of Communion to receive questions and testimonies from each Province in order to begin their exercises of self-examination by ACC 2023. We hope they will respond with suggested actions by 2025.

We expect the ACC to report on its progress with and plans for deconstructing the historic legacy of colonialism at the ACC 2026 working with the Anglican Indigenous Network.

We invite the peace-building function of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reconciliation team, working with the Anglican Communion Fund and Anglican Peace and Justice Network, to report on ways to develop peace-building response and support for individual peace-builders in Provinces experiencing acute conflict at ACC 2023.

We ask the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion to report on the renewed conversation with the provinces of Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uganda at ACC 2023.

We ask that the Anglican Communion Youth Network and the Difference team present ideas for engaging young people in reconciliation initiatives at the ACC 2023, and celebrate what has been developed by young people at the following ACC.


‘Get the power dynamic right’

THE Bishop of Te Tai Tokerau, in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the Rt Revd Kito Pikaahu, spoke of the struggle of indigenous people in the Anglican Communion, writes Pat Ashworth. He drew attention to the work of the Anglican Indigenous Network with Maori nations. Reconciliation required trust and optimism, he said. Indigenous peoples had been subject to colonisation for generations. “First Nation people know what it is to suffer,” he said.

It was for the dominant culture to ask what the customs were when addressing indigenous peoples, he suggested. “It’s critical to begin right. Rituals of encounter must be properly understood, as in, ‘Who are you? Who sent you? What is your purpose?’ The response would be either welcome, advance, or you will be turned back. It is either exclusion or embrace.”

He urged: “Get the power dynamic right. Without that, we cannot take another step.”

He made reference to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s apology — for which there had been “a great need” — to the First Nation of Canada. He also quoted Pope Francis: “I humbly beg for forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against indigenous peoples.”

Reconciliation was a gift of God to the whole world, he said, “the power of love as opposed to the love of power. It requires more listening than speaking. This is the right custom.”

The Worldwide President of the Mothers’ Union (MU), Sheran Harper, declared women and families to be powerful forces for reconciliation around the world. “They suffer most in times of division and conflict, and also on the long journey of reconciliation, always seen to be on the front line of the most violent and heartless of circumstances,” she said. “This is the day-to-day reality we face in a changed world.”

She referred to MU responses to conflict in South Sudan, where 160 women from the community had been engaged as leaders in the consultation process on reconciliation. At first, they had found talking about the past difficult — as in “They are the ones that killed our children.” “The baggage was heavy, the burden intolerable,” Mrs Harper said. But the result had been the MU’s wider engagement in community work.

In Formosa, Argentina, women had become the peacemakers in areas of confrontation. A group marching towards the police was first regarded with hostility, but told the police, “We’re here to pray for you and your jobs.”

The women prayed publicly for God’s blessing on the police’s job of maintaining the law. “Now they are frequently called on to mediate in the community,” Mrs Harper said. “It is more important than ever for us to learn how to handle conflict and disagreement.” 

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