THE Lambeth Conference organisers have responded to the row that has been generated in recent days over the inclusion of what is, in effect, a new vote on the Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (News, 22 July).
That Resolution, carried in 1998, defined marriage as “between a man and a woman” and rejected homosexual practice as “incompatible with scripture”.
Among the “calls” that the 650 bishops from the Anglican Communion will be asked to make at the conference, which starts in Canterbury later this week, is the “Call on Human Dignity”, framed by a drafting group led by the Primate of the West Indies, the Most Revd Howard Gregory.
It included “the reaffirmation of Lambeth 1:10 that upholds marriage as between a man and a woman and requires deeper work to uphold the dignity and witness of LGBTQ Anglicans”.
At least one of the drafting group, the Area Bishop of York-Scarborough in Canada, the Rt Revd Kevin Robertson, said that the group had not discussed the inclusion of this reaffirmation (News, 25 July).
The group in charge of the co-ordinating the calls met the Archbishop of Canterbury on Monday to seek to defuse the row. Late on Monday, the chair of the Lambeth Calls Subgroup, the Rt Revd Tim Thornton, a former Bishop at Lambeth, released a statement saying that “the drafting group for the Call on Human Dignity will be making some revisions to the Call.” The next text would be “released as soon as it is available”.
The other change is that bishops will now be able to reject calls. Earlier, the only options were to accept a call or to pronounce: “This Call requires further discernment. I commit my voice to the ongoing process.” They will now be offered a third option: “This Call does not speak for me. I do not add my voice to this Call.”
The statement in full:
The Archbishop of Canterbury invited bishops to the Lambeth Conference to listen, pray and discern together. It is an opportunity to listen to one another as Christians, sometimes across deeply-held differences.
Over recent days we have listened carefully to the responses of bishops to Lambeth Calls: Guidance and Study Documents that was released last week — and especially in relation to the draft Call on Human Dignity. The drafting group for the Call on Human Dignity will be making some revisions to the Call. This will be published as part of Lambeth Calls – which will be the texts that will be discussed by bishops at the conference. This will be released as soon as it is available.
It can also be announced that bishops will now be given a third option for responding to the Lambeth Calls when they are discussed during the conference — bishops will now be able to clearly state their opposition to a particular Call. The options will be:
- “This Call speaks for me. I add my voice to it and commit myself to take the action I can to implement it.”
- “This Call requires further discernment. I commit my voice to the ongoing process.”
- “This Call does not speak for me. I do not add my voice to this Call.”
Please continue to pray for all the bishops attending the Lambeth Conference — that we may continue to listen, walk and witness together to the love of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Tim Thornton, Chair of the Lambeth Calls Subgroup
The Lambeth Conference