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Webinar on discipleship begins Phase 3 of the Lambeth Conference

01 June 2023

Neil Turner/Lambeth Conference

The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks at the Lambeth Conference in the University of Kent, last summer

The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks at the Lambeth Conference in the University of Kent, last summer

“PHASE 3” of the Lambeth Conference began last week with a webinar on discipleship, and a declaration by the secretary-general of the Anglican Communion, the Rt Revd Anthony Poggo, that “Phase 3 is for everyone.”

During the webinar, Bishop Poggo described the launch of the third phase of the Conference, in which congregations around the Communion are being invited to study and discuss the themes explored at the gathering of bishops last summer, as “an exciting journey with opportunities to learn from one another”.

The image of a journey was echoed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a statement accompanying the launch of Phase 3, in which he described the process as “all about building on our relationships and conversations, sharing the Lambeth Calls and inviting broad participation from Anglicans all around the world”.

“I hope that many will join us for our Phase 3 journey,” he said.

A revised copy of the “Lambeth Calls” has been issued, incorporating feedback from bishops during the Conference, but without significant additions or retractions from the versions published in the summer (News, 14 April).

Each of the ten Calls contains a declaration, an affirmation, and specific calls for action, on subjects including Anglican identity, reconciliation, and Christian unity.

In a statement, the Archbishop of Central America, the Most Revd Julio Murray, who is chairing the Phase 3 steering group, said: “The Lambeth Calls are not intended as resolutions or ‘orders’ to be imposed. They are being offered as calls or invitations, that can be explored together, in a way that strengthens our life as an Anglican Communion.”

The webinar on discipleship was the first in a series, each corresponding to a specific Lambeth Call. The next, on the environment and sustainable development, will be held in September, and others will follow at intervals of three months.

Along with the webinar, Bible-study notes on the theme of discipleship have been issued, in eight different languages, which churches around the Communion are being invited to use.

The Bishop for Episcopal Ministry at the Anglican Communion Office, Dr Jo Bailey Wells (News, 17 October 2022), explained why Phase 3 was being launched at Pentecost. “At Pentecost, we celebrate the gift of God’s Spirit and the birth of the Church. Disciples of many voices, nations, and cultures came together, and through the Spirit found themselves united and empowered to live and share the gospel far and wide. It’s our prayer that the Lambeth Calls will strengthen and encourage Anglicans around the globe in their witness to Jesus Christ,” she said.

During the conference, the Lambeth Call on human dignity became a focus of controversy after a draft version contained an explicit reaffirmation of Lambeth 1.10: a declaration from Lambeth 1998 which asserts that bishops “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same-sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same-gender unions” (News, 5 August 2022).

The Call, as published in the summer and reissued at the end of May, removed the reaffirmation of this clause, although it remains quoted in the document. The bishops agreed, however, to state: “It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that ‘all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ’ and to be welcomed, cared for, and treated with respect.’”

A few days after the launch of Phase 3, the Archbishop of Uganda, Dr Stephen Kaziimba, expressed his Church’s gratitude for a hardline anti-homosexuality law in the country (News, 30 May).

A recording of the webinar and the resources on discipleship can be found on the Phase 3 section of the Lambeth Conference website.

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