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Archbishop Welby explains his thoughts on Lambeth Conference, Primates Meeting

Archbishop Welby explains his thoughts on Lambeth Conference, Primates Meeting

Archbishop Justin Welby’s presidential address to the General Synod of the Church of England today is full of news about his thoughts regarding the governance of the Anglican Communion:

I have not called a Primates’ Meeting on my own authority (although I could) because I feel that it is necessary for the Anglican Communion to develop a collegial model of leadership, as much as it is necessary in the Church of England, and I have therefore waited for the end of the visits to Provinces.

If the majority view of the Primates is that such a meeting would be a good thing, one will be called in response. The agenda for that meeting will not be set centrally, but from around the Primates of the Communion. One issue that needs to be decided on, ideally by the Primates’ meeting, is whether and if so when there is another Lambeth Conference. It is certainly achievable, but the decision is better made together carefully, than in haste to meet an artificial deadline of a year ending in 8. A Lambeth Conference is so expensive and so complex that we have to be sure that it is worthwhile. It will not be imposed, but part of a collective decision.

The key general point to be established is how the Anglican Communion is led, and what its vision is in the 21st century, in a post-colonial world? How do we reflect the fact that the majority of its members are in the Global South, what is the role of the Instruments of Communion, especially the Archbishop of Canterbury, and what does that look like in lived out practice? These are great decisions, that must be taken to support the ongoing and uninterrupted work of ministering to a world in great need and in great conflict. Whatever the answer, it is likely to be very different from the past.

How do you believe the Anglican Communion should be governed? I hope the fact that the archbishop did not mention the Anglican Consultative Council is indicative only of the fact that the ACC continues to meet on its regular schedule.


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Paul Woodrum

Emily, the Stone of Scone has been returned to Scotland. Are you sure you don’t mean the Blarney Stone?

Rod Gillis

@ Jesse Zink, right on!

Jesse Zink

Lots to like in this address but I did find it (unsurprisingly) focused on bishops and, particularly, archbishops. Surely there is a more exciting future agenda here than one that revolves around Primates’ Meetings and Lambeth Conferences?

When you travel to visit primates, perhaps these are the answers you’ll come up with. But mention of the Communion’s networks, Continuing Indaba, or the recent call by some primates and other bishops for another Anglican Congress would have been welcome.


I think this is one of the bigger/exciting issues confronting the Anglican Communion. The whole address also has some insightful thoughts regarding talking with people who feel differently than oneself. Having the leader of our communion always be someone from England seems outdated to me. I like the direction in which these thoughts are headed on principal.

On the other hand, my progressive views are in the small minority for the communion. Whatever we come up with next, I hope we are able to protect minority view points and keep room in our communion for both wings of our beautiful tradition.

Joshua Kingsley

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