[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal bishops were scheduled to return to their dioceses on Aug. 8 after concluding their participation in the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in Canterbury, England. Across nearly two weeks, plenty has been said about what the bishops from across the Anglican Communion accomplished during their time at the conference. Bishops are expected to share more with their dioceses in the days and weeks ahead.
For now, here’s a look back at some of the highlights and perspectives shared by the bishops themselves, in their social media posts from the meeting.
More than 650 bishops make the journey
About 100 Episcopal bishops joined their counterparts from most of the Anglican Communion’s 42 provinces at the Lambeth Conference. An early highlight was the July 29 official portrait of the bishops, along with a separate portrait of spouses. Partnered and married gay and lesbian bishops were invited to the Lambeth Conference for the first time, though their spouses and partners were not invited to attend official events.
Getting down to business
This Lambeth Conference, with the theme “God’s Church for God’s World,” was structured around five Bible expositions on readings from 1 Peter, as well as draft documents known as Lambeth Calls on 10 subject areas. The Lambeth Calls were intended to initiate discussion on key matters affecting the church and the world and to suggest ways for bishops to take action back in their dioceses. Test of the draft Lambeth Calls can be found here. They will be revised in response to the feedback received from bishops.
“The greatest challenge for a Christian is to be being converted. We must be becoming churches that live what they say,” Archbishop Justin Welby told the #LambethConference emphasizing ongoing conversion of life. pic.twitter.com/0Gg3v2uPNn
— Frank Logue (@franklogue) August 5, 2022
Bishops meet in Bible study and discussion groups
Each bishop attending the Lambeth Conference was assigned to a small group of six to eight bishops from different provinces. The groups met throughout the conference for Bible studies and to discuss the Lambeth Calls.
The wonderful members of our Bible study group at Lambeth: Bishops Moses and Joseph from South Sudan, Mark from Alaska, Dickson from Tanzania, Mohan from India, John from Australia and Onesimus from Korea. We are enjoying deep fellowship. Bwana Asafiwe! Praise the Lord! pic.twitter.com/7HHd84txWb
— John Inge (@BishopWorcester) August 4, 2022
Aug. 3 was day of public witness on climate change during trip to London
At about the halfway point of the bishops’ business sessions, they spent Aug. 3 traveling to Lambeth Palace in London to renew the Anglican Communion’s commitment to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the Earth with the launch of a global forest initiative.
🚨Bishops have a key role to play in ensuring creation care is an integral part of the mission, life and witness of the Church.
— Lambeth Conference Official (@LambethConf) August 3, 2022
Meanwhile, today at Lambeth Palace, Melissa and I met the Bishop of London while we all prayed for creation care and committed to caring for the earth, participating in a communion forest pic.twitter.com/VrRFRvQrOx
— BishopCowden (@BishopCowden) August 3, 2022
A great day at Lambeth Palace learning about efforts around the communion to care for creation, and recommitting to this work with the launch of the communion forest: https://t.co/McQvkvuOnF pic.twitter.com/W5GAu5kZLq
— craig loya (@MinnesotaBishop) August 3, 2022
Reflections on conversations across difference
Much of the early focus was on the Lambeth Call on Human Dignity, a draft document that threatened to fracture the conference over divisions on LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church. There are also were concerns about the process for consenting to the documents, with plans for a quasi-voting system scrapped after the first business day. Several bishops offered their reflections on the ongoing discussions on Facebook. Here are a few samples.
- Arizona Bishop Jennifer Reddall
- Western North Carolina Bishop José McLoughlin
- Fond du Lac Bishop Matthew Gunter
- San Diego Bishop Susan Brown Snook
- Central Pennsylvania Bishop Audrey Scanlan
- Los Angeles Bishop John Harvey Taylor
- Michigan Bishop Bonnie Perry
And then … a little bit of fun
— Texas Bishop 9 (@TexasBishop) July 31, 2022