“Jesus was always determined to make those who society sees as outsiders be insiders.”
Desmond Tutu’s daughter, the Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, quoted above in The Guardian, is one of two priests who will lead an inclusive Eucharist the evening before the every-10-year Lambeth Conference begins in July. Both she and the Right Reverend Mary Glasspool are members of the LGBTQ community and both married to women. The Rt. Rev. Glasspool was the first lesbian bishop elected in the global Anglican Communion (she serves in the Episcopal Diocese of New York); the Reverend Tutu van Furth, based in the Netherlands, “stepped aside as an Anglican priest in South Africa” after her marriage. From the Guardian:
[The Reverend Tutu van Furth] told the Guardian that her message at the eucharist would be one of a “Christian welcome and hospitality”. She said: “Jesus was always determined to make those who society sees as outsiders be insiders.”
She said the church was slowly changing but she wanted to challenge “those in high places: look at what you’re doing.”
The service will take place in a church in Canterbury.
The service is intended to send a strong message to up to 1,000 bishops from 165 countries who are due to gather at the University of Kent at the end of July for almost two weeks of prayer and discussion about issues facing the worldwide Anglican church.
The split over sexuality – between those who seek to uphold “biblical truth” and those who are pressing for acceptance and inclusivity – dominated the last Lambeth conference, in 2008, leading Rowan Williams, then archbishop of Canterbury, to warn that the church was in “grave peril.”
Archbishop Justin Welby has come under fire since it was announced last year that same-gender spouses of bishops would not be welcome at the 2020 Lambeth Conference (non-LGBTQ spouses have always been invited).
Glasspool, the first married lesbian bishop in the global Anglican church, said the inclusive service would carry an important message. “The LGBT+ community in the UK and other places might not understand that they are invited to celebrate at the Christian table. We need to make it known that everyone is included – all are invited to this particular celebration.”
She said Justin Welby, Williams’ successor as archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican church, had “gone out of his way to uninvite individual persons in a breach of hospitality”.
Read past Cafe coverage:
“Anglican Church of Kenya lifts boycott of Lambeth Conference,” January 27, 2020
“Same-sex spouses need not apply,” February 26, 2019
“[Episcopal Church] Executive Council responds to Lambeth invitation decision to disinvite same-sex spouses,” February 25, 2019
“President Jennings on the exclusion of same-sex spouses from the Lambeth Conference,” February 21, 2019
“Lambeth 2020 Update,” February 15, 2019