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Lambeth Resolution 1.10 ‘was not discussed’ in human dignity drafting group

25 July 2022

Anglican World/Lynn Ross/Church Times

The Archbishop of South East Asia, Dr Moses Tay, speaks during the debate on homosexuality at the 1998 Lambeth Conference. He helped to steer the bishops towards a conservative statement

The Archbishop of South East Asia, Dr Moses Tay, speaks during the debate on homosexuality at the 1998 Lambeth Conference. He helped to steer the bish...

THE call to reaffirm Lambeth Resolution 1.10 on human sexuality (News, 22 July) was not discussed by the Human Dignity drafting group in whose name it appeared, and did not appear in any of the early drafts, a Canadian member of the drafting group has said.

The Area Bishop of York-Scarborough, the Rt Revd Kevin Robertson, a suffragan in the diocese of Toronto, said on Monday: “I never agreed to this call in its current form. At no point in our meetings did we discuss the reaffirmation of Lambeth 1:10 at the Conference, and it never appeared in any of the early drafts of our work together.

“I can confidently say that the Human Dignity Call in its current form does not represent the mind of the drafting group, and I distance myself from the reaffirmation of Lambeth 1:10 in the strongest possible ways. I also unequivocally reject the phrase within the call, ‘It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that same gender marriage is not permissible.’ This statement is simply not true.”

Bishop Robertson, whose marriage to his male partner in December 2018 was blessed by the Anglican Church of Canada, said that he was seeking to amend the Human Dignity Call over the coming hours and days, and was “hopeful that this is possible”.

He continued: “There are many things in the document that do reflect the good work of the drafting group, and would be tremendously positive for the Church in the world, especially the Call to protect human dignity with particular attention to sexuality and gender; so I very much hope that the Human Dignity Call can be amended rather than rejected.”

Not all members of the drafting group appear to have been present at all meetings. The Church Times approached all the named drafting-group leaders last week for general comment and information on the individual subjects of the Calls. The Bishop of Egypt, Dr Samy Shehata, apologised that his many commitments “prevented me from sharing in the discussions for the Human Dignity”.

Bishops in the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) are among those who have unequivocally condemned the call to reaffirm Lambeth 1.10. The call “undermines and subverts the dignity of an integral part of our community rather than affirming them”, the Welsh bishops said.

Their statement, issued on Saturday, continued: “Recognising that some provinces will want to affirm the historic understanding of marriage, we wish to assure our LGBT+ sisters and brothers in Christ that we will work to amend this passage to reflect more adequately our understanding of their equal place in the Church.”

The Scottish College of Bishops wrote: “The wording of the call does not represent the position of the Scottish Episcopal Church as reflected in the Church’s Canons, which recognises that there are differing understandings of marriage in the SEC.

“The conference calls are not binding on provinces and are yet to be discussed. The members of the College of Bishops will seek to amend the draft call on human dignity urging a more inclusive approach and will work in respectful dialogue both with those colleagues across the Communion who would share the position adopted by the Scottish Episcopal Church, and with those who may differ.”

The Bishop of Rhode Island, the Rt Revd Nicholas Knisely, has expressed widely shared feelings among bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States, that the process has been subverted.

He writes in his blog, Entangled States: “Over the past few years, I was told that the Lambeth Conference would be laser focused on climate change and the threat it posed, particularly in the developing world.

“As the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the ocean state, with our particular exposure to the consequences of climate change, I was ready to fully engage in looking forward to working with others post-conference. But then this week’s news dropped and suddenly that critical conversation, well, it’s on the back burner again.

“One of my fellow bishops pointed out that the fact that these call statements were produced quietly, without broad consultation, and announced at the last minute with the conference format change, wasn’t an accident and didn’t happen without planning. Why the delay in sharing the information? I’m wondering who benefits by a choice to stir up old conflicts instead of concentrating on the existential threat. . .

“We are now going to a different meeting than we expected. And people who are members of the Anglican Communion are once again having their presence and personhood debated as if they weren’t beloved of God and precious to the Church.”

The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), chaired by the Archbishop of South Sudan, the Most Revd Justin Badi, has set up its own alternative press conference off-campus this coming Friday, facilitated by the Archbishop’s spokesman, the Revd Paul Eddy, a former member of the General Synod.

Media will be advised how the GFSA, which says that it has 25 Provinces as members, will fulfil its four priorities, “including a re-affirmation of Lambeth 1:10”.

An official tweet from the Lambeth Conference organisers on Monday morning said “In full consideration of comments made about the Lambeth Calls, The Lambeth Calls Subgroup that coordinates the process will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury (the President of the Lambeth Conference) today to discuss concerns raised. A further statement will be issued later.”

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