Ireland reflects on Lambeth

The Church of Ireland Gazette has an editorial entitled "Anglican Governance." It opens:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in responding to a Times report last week on correspondence in which he engaged some eight years ago on the issue of homosexuality, affirmed his acceptance of Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference "as stating the position of the worldwide Anglican Communion on issues of sexual ethics". Dr Williams continued: "As Archbishop, I understand my responsibility to be to the declared teaching of the Church I serve, and thus to discourage any developments that might imply that the position and convictions of the worldwide Communion have changed."

This statement raises questions about the role of the Lambeth Conference itself and, indeed, the ecclesial nature of the Anglican Communion.

The Lambeth Conference is, precisely, a conference. It is not a synod.

Read it all.

Comments (3)

I am relieved to find that other Churches in the Communion have these concerns. The move toward a more centralized "Church" is dangerous in many wayss, but the two I find most troubling are a) it denies that the Episcopal Church is a Church and b) it is certain to disenfranchise the laity.

'Dr Williams continued: "As Archbishop, I understand my responsibility to be to the declared teaching of the Church I serve, and thus to discourage any developments that might imply that the position and convictions of the worldwide Communion have changed."'

If Dr. Williams were to step out into the back alley of Lambeth Palace, he would find a trash bin full of Lambeth resolutions that only survived for ten years, if that. The position and convictions of the WWAC have frequently changed. (Dr. Williams knows a great deal about the history of the church in the fourth century. About Anglicanism since the sixteenth century, apparently not so much.)

Actually, Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10, in its context, is at least "not awful." But Dr. Williams seems not to be carefully reading all that it says, or carefully noting what it does not say.

The Church of Ireland Gazette's editorial is right on.

I frequently get the sense that certain English bishops (including the ABC) use the phrase "Anglican Church" to refer interchangeably to both the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, as if the other 37 churches were mere subsidiaries of the English church. Those bishops then presume to declare doctrine for their former colonies.

It would be nice to see a little more humility from those quarters about the role of bishops in their own church, not to mention in the Anglican Communion.

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