29 November 2018
The next Lambeth Conference – the once-a-decade gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world – will take place in Canterbury, Kent, from Thursday 23 July until Sunday 2 August 2020, it was confirmed today. Every active bishop within the Anglican Communion’s 40 provinces is being sent an invitation to attend the event, along with their spouse. In total, more than 800 bishops and their spouses will be invited. A number of Christian leaders from other denominations and church families will also be invited. The list of ecumenical guests is still being finalised.
The invitations are being sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as Primus inter pares of the Anglican Communion’s Primates – the leaders of the 40 interdependent autonomous churches that make up the Anglican Communion. The programme for the meeting is being set by an internationally-convened Design Group, chaired by the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba.
Items for discussion are also being suggested by the Anglican Communion primates in a series of regional meetings. Two have already taken place this year, in Oceania and Africa. The Americas regional Primates’ Meeting is taking place this week in Canada. Next year, other events will be held for primates in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and South East Asia.
In a video message for the Lambeth Conference website, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, spoke about the disagreements within the Anglican Communion and its provinces, saying: “The differences we have are differences within the family. . . They are about how we live as a holy people; how we live in a way that shows we are God’s people.
“We do have very important differences, but we must show that we respect each other as sisters and brothers in Christ, and that we learn to disagree in a way that demonstrates that we love and value each other. . .
“But whatever views we come with, we come to be under the authority of Scripture, and inspired by the Spirit. Quite rightly, and very importantly, the programme centres around studying the Bible together, reading the Bible together, listening to God and praying together.”
He expressed his hope that the Conference would be significant because the bishops will “look outwards at the world that needs the good news of Jesus Christ. And it needs to see it in our actions, envy it in our love together, and hear it in our confident proclamation of the good news of Jesus. And this conference is about listening to God, through scripture and in prayer and through each other, so we go out with our hearts on fire.”
The bishops and their spouses will begin the Conference – on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 July 2020 – in spiritual retreats, before a Conference Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral – the mother church of the Anglican Communion.
The week beginning Monday 27 July will see a daily programme of Bible studies based on 1 Peter, special guests and keynote speakers, seminars, plenary sessions and discussions. One of those days will be held in London, with meetings at Lambeth Palace, the official London residence and offices of the Archbishops of Canterbury, and other venues.
The Conference will conclude with another Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral, on Sunday 2 August, ahead of departures on Monday 3 August.
More details are available on the official Lambeth Conference website: www.lambethconference.org