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Lambeth 2020 Update

Lambeth 2020 Update

Planning for the next Lambeth Conference, to be held in 2020 at the University of Kent in Canterbury, is well under way. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, shared some of his thoughts about it in a new blog post over at ACNS. He writes,

As I travel around the Communion, it has been encouraging to see the level of excitement and enthusiasm growing about next year’s Lambeth Conference. The Conference team has now received bookings from 27 different provinces. Bishops and spouses from around the world are signing up all the time and it is clear that momentum is building.

I am also excited about the Conference. The theme of being God’s people for God’s world is so important at a time when so much of our world is hurting. We are a resurrection people who have been transformed by God. And, as the Archbishop of Canterbury says in his video about his vision for the Conference, we are to be key in God’s transformation of the world around us. It is going to be wonderful to see bishops and spouses come from across the globe to be part of this amazing event.

I need to clarify a misunderstanding that has arisen. Invitations have been sent to every active bishop. That is how it should be – we are recognising that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend. But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has had a series of private conversations by phone or by exchanges of letter with the few individuals to whom this applies.

Idowu-Fearon goes on to say that,

The Design Group’s task is not easy: there are so many issues competing for space in the programme. A number of important subjects will be discussed including mission and evangelism; reconciliation; economic justice. Human sexuality will also be one of them.

It is probably not a fruitful exercise to read anything into either of these statements, though they do seem to make clear that the debate about the place of LGBTQ+ leaders (and their families) within the Communion is still alive and well.

Idowu-Fearon also provides links to videos recorded by both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and The Most Rev. Thabo Magkoba, Archbishop of Cape Town, who is serving as chair of the Lambeth 2020 Design Group. Archbishop Welby expresses his hope that bishops will come and pray for mission and for those with whom they disagree. In his video, Archbishop Magkoba directly invites those who would consider not attending to, “come and express your difference.”

Stay tuned.


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Rod Gillis

Are/will be spouses in same sex marriages be welcome at gatherings of bishops in TEC and ACoC? I certainly hope so!

Susannah Clark

“If I invite your spouses to the Lambeth Conference, there won’t be a Lambeth Conference” (what Justin Welby was quoted as saying, in Episcopal News).

So it’s not about what’s just and right, it’s about placating those who believe their view should be dominant, and who threaten non-attendance or schism unless everyone does things their way?

It is certainly not the ‘radical inclusion’ that Justin himself said he championed.

How hurtful and marginalising, to exclude a partner of 30 years and another partner of 10 years. With all the good will in the world, and with a sincere desire for continuing bonds of love with other Provinces in the Anglican Communion, this is shoddy.

The words quoted above themselves concede that the Archbishop is giving way to theological threats, and frankly a kind of bullying. He’s making gay people be the sacrifice that has to be made, for the sake of the Church.

It’s always LGBT people who seem to be asked to ‘make the sacrifice’. Appeasement.

Rod Gillis

Hard line conservatives are not happy about this decision either because their outrage with Lambeth invites has been tactically finessed. Same sex spouses are not invited, under the rubric of honoring Lambeth 1:10; but bishops, (including the small number in same sex marriages) from Churches that have chosen not to opt for resolution 1:10 are still invited. Conservatives perceive, perhaps correctly, that this a political move which will sooth some moderate conservatives and take some of the wind out of the Lambeth boycott. Our marriage liturgy queries whether the community will do all in its power “to support and uphold this marriage”. Consensuelle one wonders if bishops in TEC and/or ACoC will issue a statement of support and solidarity for those married bishops targeted by this decision and condemn their spouse’s exclusion. Or is it that, Paris (or in this case Lambeth) is worth a mass?

Professor Christopher Reese SEITZ

The only upset one sees here–and it is palpable and angry–is from liberals.

What I am hearing on this thread is that Lambeth Conference has timed out and is now an offense.

Political moves can blow up in one’s face…

Leonel Abaroa

Sir, you sign as a professor but then seem to engage in debate more like a child would do.

Also, yes, none would argue that such is exactly what you are hearing. You need to.

It is actually sad that you should think of any reaction to this bland, dishonest statement as ‘political moves’. It does say more about you than about any posters above, for one. But also -do you have anything to say about the actual subject at hand, rather than patherically attempting to gaslight those whom you despise as ‘liberals’?

Rod Gillis

“What I am hearing on this thread….” The anger is palpable and rightly so. A tiny minority of same sex couples are being bullied and treated as expendable. But you should check out the conservative blog sites. They are not happy they have been flanked. “Political moves can blow up in one’s face…” Indeed. We’ll see what +Welby’s decision on this file does for perceptions of pastoral insensitivity and public relations. Are you in agreement with not inviting same sex spouses?

Rod Gillis

That should read “consequently one wonders….” Blasted auto correct. ( :

Steven Wilson

I don’t want to be a wet blanket here: I too am offended by the decision to exclude some spouses. Really. But on the Sunday in which we read Jesus saying “woe to you who are rich now,” we need to be careful about saying that it’s time for our corner of the Communion, overwhelmingly white and unimaginably rich, to sit out on meetings where others, overwhelmingly black and poor, might say something which makes us angry or upset. I’m not saying that the voices coming from the Global South are right–but it is hard to “stand with the poor” if you never listen to them when they criticize you. You can really only convince someone to change course if they know you, if they see in your life the evidence that what you’re saying and doing is life-giving. Conversion of heart starts with conversation: boycotting leads to status quo. I say go–but that all American bishops should leave spouse at home, and should say how disappointed you are by Canterbury’s decision.

Cynthia Katsarelis

I’m pretty hot-headed and am very angry that this exclusion disparages my own marriage. Still, I agree with Steven Wilson. TEC does need to voice support for LGBTQ+ people, including LGBTQ+ people being oppressed in African countries that criminalize us – but we need to engage. When I was a delegate to UNCSW in 2016, we interacted with the Anglican Communion delegation that included some bishop’s spouses from African countries. I was open and vocal, speaking truth to Archbishop Idowu-Fearon (as respectfully as I could muster). Over the course of the two weeks, most of the women either supported me or expressed that LGBTQ+ issues were just not remotely relevant to the issues that they face.

We should remember that at the ACC, there was no appetite to take up the primates cause against TEC. The ACC is a much bigger tent, with lay leaders as well as clergy. It is MUCH more representative than the preening men. We mustn’t abandon them.

Cynthia Katsarelis

Essentially, I ask all of us and our TEC leadership to consider how to support our bishop’s spouses and oppressed LGBTQ+ people here at home and abroad, but stay engaged. Criminalization of LGBTQ+ people has sadly been supported by some of the Anglican primates and we should be vocal about that. Leaders who support violating basic human rights should not carry the moral authority that GAFCON presumes.

For those of us who are LGBTQ+, it calls for significant Grace. But Stephen is right, as someone who teaches in Haiti I can say that we are indeed “unimaginably rich.” We have the privilege of tuning out and just living our lives, that speaks to the extraordinary degree of privilege we have.

It isn’t my favorite, but I say suck it up, show up, smile, and speak truth in love, and yes, listen, in love.

Leonard Clark

I live in a small town in Guatemala. I am one of three “norteamericanos” who live here. I am white, Episcopal/Anglican, 75 years old and single. I must report that my life here for 14 years has been bliss. Although most in the community are Roman Catholic, about 80%, deeply religious/observant, and made up of very large extended families, there is a quiet and CLEAR acceptance of LGBTI sisters and brothers, primos y primas/etc in the culture. ACCEPTANCE of one another seems to be the key! I suggest the Archbishops learn from the inclusivity that can be FOUND (and practiced) in CENTRAL AMERICA and QUIT acting–out with sugar-coated-snippy, ill-intended, discrimination at Lambeth 2020. GET REAL and STAY REAL, there is long way for us ALL TO GROW together and the Archbishops must set an example by protecting/not-negelcting loved ones at CHURCH! Kindness and loving ones family and neighbors IS NOT THAT HARD TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO!

Paula Pressley

Angola just changed its law on homosexuality, and Kenya is about to have a ruling, with many poor, black, LGBTQ people literally putting their lives and freedom on the line by coming out and advoacting for LGBTQ rights. Who will stand with them? Me, you, Jesus Christ?

Kevin Michel

There simply is no love, no compssion, no link to Jesus Christ present in this statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury and Dr. Idowu-Fearon. To pretend that there is corrupts the body of the faithful and encourages bigotry of the worst kind. I do not recognize their prohibition, and I would hope that any Bishop in a consecrated relationship ignores their request.

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