Launch of Lambeth Conference 2008

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read both speeches carefully.

Update--John Richardson is concerned:

The fact is that perhaps one bishop in five has therefore not even indicated they are coming. The fact also is that these ‘painful controversies’ have not ‘clouded the life of the Communion’ like some inconvenience obscuring an otherwise-healthy picture. They have brought the Communion as we knew it in 1998 to an end. Only the most drastic surgery will save it from complete collapse some time before 2018, when the next Lambeth Conference would be scheduled.

What has happened, I ask, to the indications of seriousness in the Advent Letter? In Dr Williams’s mind, they may still be there. Indeed, since the actual programme of the Conference has not yet been published, we do not know precisely what is planned.

But the tone of bonhomie bodes ill. Even if Dr Williams wants to use the Conference, as he should, to address the crisis, it makes one wonder if the minders and managers of the ‘instruments of Communion’ are controlling the agenda so that nothing effective will be done.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalLambeth 2008

Posted January 21, 2008 at 11:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. FBG111 wrote:

Not sure why someone has filed this Lambeth story under
Filed under: * Economics, Politics • US Presidential Election 2008

perhaps Anglican and Lambeth 2008 would be more appropriate

January 21, 1:04 pm | [comment link]
2. Sir Highmoor wrote:

Well 70% or more of the Anglican bishops are planning to come to Lambeth. The ABC’s spin sounds a lot like you Americans: “All is well. There are only a few trouble makers causing a fuss.” Further, the ABC has confirmed nothing of importance will take place at Lambeth 2008 by saying the focus is towards: “strengthening the sense of a shared Anglican identity among the bishops from around the world, and helping to equip bishops for the role they increasingly have as leaders in mission, involved in a whole variety of ways in helping the Church grow.” I must say, I doubt that the AC is going to grow without addressing the fundamental issues that are causing the 30% or so of all Anglican bishops not to attend. The bishops that are not coming is where Church is growing. These bishops uphold the FAITH that the current ABC is unwilling to do. The AC is no more.

January 21, 1:37 pm | [comment link]
3. Ian Montgomery wrote:

What a pathetic document from +++RW.  He has ducked the ISSUE.  That makes the AC irrevocably broken and gives little reason for folk to come from the Global South.  The discussion groups sound unbelievably condescending.  This is a last attempt to wallpaper over the chasms that now exist.  Either ALL come and it is a slugfest that actually tries to address the issues, or else it is an irrelevant tea party.  The latter is a waste of money.

Mrs Williams letter is interesting reading in view of the fact that my bishop will probably not be accompanied by his spouse as they are apparently, to be placed in separate accommodation.  If they are not to be together then why spend the money?

What a disaster.  Meanwhile the incorrigible and bad behavior of Mrs. Schori is ignored and Godly men in purple are persecuted and prosecuted, notwithstanding what is happening to other clergy and congregations who have the temerity to stand up to this new and totalitarian religion which apologizes to the Hindus (+Bruno in Los Angeles) while Christians in India are viciously attacked.

January 21, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
4. seitz wrote:

‘30 bishops from 17 provinces around the Anglican Communion also joined the press conference.’—anyone know who these were, along with +Earnest (new head of CAPA)? Is this press conference viewable?

January 21, 1:45 pm | [comment link]
5. Dan Crawford wrote:

Seitz-ACI asks anyone know who these were, along with +Earnest (new head of CAPA)? Is this press conference viewable?

Try Comedy Central.

January 21, 1:53 pm | [comment link]
6. Br_er Rabbit wrote:


The Conference has never been a lawmaking body in the strict sense and it wasn’t designed to be one.

Oceans of virtual internet ink have been spilled over various strategies to have Lambeth (read: lawmaking body) “fix” the current problems in the Anglican Communion.

Ain’t gonna happen.

holed up,

January 21, 2:15 pm | [comment link]
7. Words Matter wrote:

There are copy write marks at the end of each speech. Is is common these days to copy write press conferences? Why?

January 21, 2:26 pm | [comment link]
8. jayanthony wrote:

Why in the world would the orthodox Anglicans on the design committee agree to this Lambeth agenda?  I just don’t understand the thinking here.

January 21, 2:33 pm | [comment link]
9. Mick wrote:

The agenda for the conference can be found here, part of which includes:

Monday 21 July
Celebrating Common Ground: the bishop and Anglican identity.
Tuesday 22 July
Proclaiming the Good News: the bishop and evangelism
Wednesday 23 July
Transforming Society: the bishop and social injustice
Thursday 24 July
the bishops and their spouses are in London
Friday 25 July
Discerning our Shared Calling: the bishop, other churches and God’s mission
Saturday 26 July
Safeguarding Creation: the bishop and the environment
Monday 28 July
Engaging with a multi faith world: the bishop, other religions and Christian witness
Tuesday 29 July
Equality in God’s sight; when power is abused
Jointly with spouses
Wednesday 30 July
Living under Scripture: the bishop and the Bible in Mission

Slightly edited for easier reading.






Thursday 31 July
Listening to God and each other: the bishop and human sexuality
Friday 1 August & Saturday 2 August
Fostering our common life: the bishop, the Covenant and the Windsor Process

The following subjects will be among those that the expanded group and self-selecting afternoon sessions during the conference:

  * Biblical interpretation / Hermeneutics
  * Ecumenical Management
  * Anglican identity, the role of bishops
  * Issues of Covenant
  * Listening Process (within the Communion)
  * Engagement with other faiths
  * Evangelism and Mission
  * Gender and Sexuality
  * Relationships, Social and family relationships
  * HIV/Aids
  * Millennium Development Goals

January 21, 2:40 pm | [comment link]
10. WilliamS wrote:

#7: You may know this already, but strictly speaking, anything one writes, records, etc. is copyrighted and protected by law. Registering with the National Office of Copyrights (at least here in the USA) makes it easier for an author to prove his copyright against infringement (that’s when you get to use the C in a circle). Cf. .

Perhaps with all the internet cut-and-paste going on, people feel that they need to remind all the bloggers that works are still copyrighted. Just a guess, of course.

William Shontz

January 21, 2:45 pm | [comment link]
11. tjmcmahon wrote:

OK, I read them carefully.  But I have misplaced my secret decoder ring, so it still looks like 10 days of meaningless conversation with some Bible studies thrown in.  And the 70% of bishops who are showing up do not between them represent 50% of the Anglicans who actually bother to go to church.  Remember- TEC has as many bishops as the Church of Nigeria, and a tenth (or less) of the ASA.
Quite frankly, after 40 years of this, I don’t really care whether one takes one’s tea with milk, I think it is time to get to the substantive issues before us.  I hope and pray as I write this that reporters are putting +Rowan’s feet to the fire, although I am sure everyone is being very polite.  More’s the pity.

January 21, 2:47 pm | [comment link]
12. Words Matter wrote:

Thank you, WilliamS. Actually, I know nothing about copyrights - my spell check insisted on “copy write” and I didn’t know better - and assumed the purpose was to assert ownership of creative property. Apparently, it’s an easy thing to do; if I were going to guard against being misquoted, I think I would just videotape the thing.

January 21, 3:06 pm | [comment link]
13. Kendall Harmon wrote:

#1, it was so filed because I hit the wrong button, thanks for the correction.

January 21, 3:16 pm | [comment link]
14. jayanthony wrote:

I’ve read the agenda as best I can and see very little devoted to the development and approval of the Covenant.  Can mind greater than mine please help me understand how the Covenant fits into all of this?

January 21, 3:24 pm | [comment link]
15. jayanthony wrote:

that should be plural “minds” in post 14

January 21, 3:25 pm | [comment link]
16. Mick wrote:

OT but of interest - “Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has written to Canadian Primate Archbishop Fred Hiltz to say that he “cannot support or sanction” foreign interventions in the affairs of the Canadian Church.” - here

January 21, 3:45 pm | [comment link]
17. azusa wrote:

The money quote:
“Equipping Bishops for Mission — the title of the Conference — is hardly the need of the moment. With bishops inhibiting or consecrating other bishops faster than some of us can follow, we don’t even know who the Communion’s bishops are, let alone what their mission is, apart from messing it up for one another.”
Absolutely correct. The house is on fire and they’re talking about the interior decorations.

January 21, 3:46 pm | [comment link]
18. Charley wrote:

Comes now the time to distrust anybody who has a vested interest in keeping TEC financially whole.  People who are still employed by dioceses of TEC, parishes of TEC, etc. simply are not independent with respect to the pertinent issues unless they can show that they won’t skip a beat when the 1st and 15th roll around and there is no paycheck.

Those claiming that a solution can come from within are, at best, deluding themselves and at worst leading others to their eternal damnation.  TEC and its appendages are rotten to the core.  This includes so-called “conservative dioceses” still attempting to operate from within TEC.

This is the 60s equivalent to “don’t trust anybody over 30.” 

Still in?  I don’t trust you.  A bit.

January 21, 3:55 pm | [comment link]
19. Charley wrote:

What is the proposed end-game for conservatives?  The only thing I’ve read is a bunch of poop (I’d love to use a stronger term) that will never work.

January 21, 4:00 pm | [comment link]
20. Jeffersonian wrote:

Fr. Richardson writes:

Even if Dr Williams wants to use the Conference, as he should, to address the crisis, it makes one wonder if the minders and managers of the ‘instruments of Communion’ are controlling the agenda so that nothing effective will be done.

The entire approach the ++Rowan has taken since 2003 has been geared to make sure that nothing of substance happens regarding TEC and other apostate Provinces.  Why would Lambeth be any different?

I have pilloried ++Rowan for being an ineffective ABC, but it seems that I was far too generous.  It appears he has been very effective in his strategy of thwarting any discipline of these heretics.

January 21, 4:00 pm | [comment link]
21. Mick wrote:

#4 30 bishops from 17 provinces around the Anglican Communion also joined the press conference.’—anyone know who these were, along with +Earnest (new head of CAPA)? Is this press conference viewable?

There is a photo of a few of the bishops here.

January 21, 4:06 pm | [comment link]
22. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

LOL Mick

January 21, 4:10 pm | [comment link]
23. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

Actually you can see the picture by clicking on it in Mick’s link and then downloading in high resolution if you want to see them more less unclearly

January 21, 4:13 pm | [comment link]
24. seitz wrote:

I suspect in all this the big question is this. If SE Asia, Tanzania, Burundi, Sudan, W Africa, Middle East, Congo, Central Africa, etc all show up, and only Rwanda, Nigeria, Uganda, and arch-diocese of Sydney stay away—which at present tracks the larger drifts—the danger is that the no-shows will appear isolated (even with the numbers of Nigeria and Uganda) and the GS will be divided at a time when they could all be useful. One can say that leaving aside assessments of the agenda. That’s why 17 provinces represented at the launch, and 70% responding affirmatively (likely to go as high as 80%?) is worthy of reflection. These things never transpire as any one’s punditry predicts it. +Egypt (opposed to GAFCON), +West Indies (head of Covenant work), +Indian Ocean (new head of CAPA)are forces in the new season to reckon with. They are going to Lambeth unless something totally unexpected happens. SE Asia also appears prepared to go.

January 21, 5:48 pm | [comment link]
25. Choir Stall wrote:

Future Timeline:
Summer 2008: Lambeth meets. Arguments ensue. Back to square 1 as everyone declares that their position is upheld and simultaneously ignored.
Fall 2008: More American dioceses gear up to leave TEC. ABC urges calm after a successful Lambeth.
January to Summer 2009: Virginia lawsuits start looking in favor of the departing parishes. The hemmorhage is now a gush. Thousands are simply eliminated from the rolls of TEC with one mouse click.
Summer 2009: General Convention meets and passes insane resolutions. Led by old ladies in tennis shoes, the Church passes a new Prayer Book and “the new thingy” goes on.
Summer 2010: TEC is down to 1.8 million members with ASA of 600,000 (down 200,000 from 2007).
Spring 2011: ABC realizes that America is lost. He now deals with a huge growing alternative Province that doesn’t recognize him.
2025: TEC is dead. The new Anglican Province is recognized as a true province. The ASA in TEC is now 400,000 with closing churches by the droves.
....or 2008: The Archbishop can be dragged out back of Lambeth Palace and be shown the business end of someone’s shoes and get on with repairing the damage.

January 21, 6:02 pm | [comment link]
26. Choir Stall wrote:

Note the ABC’s address re: the Lambeth preparations:
“We’ve been exceptionally lucky in the gifts and the vision of the Design Group for this year’s Conference”.
Since when is the fatalistic concept of LUCK part of the Christian vocabulary? Too much time at Kent. Too much time in scholasticism. Too much time in tea circles. WHEN, O Lord, WILL WE GET PRIESTS WHO SHOW THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED?

January 21, 6:22 pm | [comment link]
27. okifan18 wrote:

How is it helpful to go to this event if some TEC Bishops present are violating Lambeth teaching and practice in their dioceses with no discipline or consequences for so doing?

January 21, 6:31 pm | [comment link]
28. Tom Roberts wrote:

27- if they had to be perfect in all respects, the meeting’s attendance might be sparse. So where does one draw the line? The AoC’s line isn’t unreasonable, no VGR for instance, but the issue you might want to raise is what to do about such violations that are being openly promoted during Lambeth. Right now the answer to that appears to be “nothing”.

January 21, 6:35 pm | [comment link]
29. 0hKay wrote:

So many weeds to pull and the sun is already sinking toward the horizon. After reading both texts (as directed by our editor), I must say that the Archbishop’s remarks are just about as soft and cozy as his wife’s. One wonders whether he might rather have used the cute internet tag: “What she said!” But, of course, he felt compelled to wade somewhat farther into the pool. My reasons to think Lambeth will be a total snowjob follow (helpfully numbered for others to whack).

1. The Archbishop lets us know right off how seriously he really sees the trouble in the Communion. What could have been an enlightening reference to the first Lambeth in 1867 peters out. We are told that the conference was called in part over “a crisis about the limits of diversity allowed in the Anglican churches….”  One more sentence could have told us that Bishop Colenso in South Africa had published a book promoting skepticism about the Pentateuch, and that he had denied the doctrine of eternal punishment, and challenged much of sacramental theology. Why are we not surprised that the Archbishop understates that Lambeth 2008 will be “meeting in a climate of some controversy.

2. A similar soft-shoe move is given to the need to “find ways short of passing formal laws that would make sure that Anglicans around the world acted in a responsible way towards each other and stayed faithful to the common inheritance.” We are told, “This is as much a challenge now as it was then.” “As much”? I dare say! The two largest provinces—Nigeria and Uganda, which account for around half the Anglicans in the world in church on an average Sunday—are wrestling with the question of whether their consciences permit them to participate in Lambeth.

Later we read more of Canterbury’s assessment of our difficulties: “…painful controversies…have clouded the life of the Communion for the last few years….” “Clouded”; more like battering away relentlessly at the foundations. Not so much that, the Archbishop says, how about “turbulence”. The pilot comes on in soothing tones and says, “Looks like we have a little choppiness ahead.” You are soon looking for the barf bag.

2. About the “whole way of doing business”:  “In contrast to previous Conferences…” [um-hmm]… there will be “medium-sized groups instead of larger issue-focused groups, so that more people can have a say in the discussion. We’ve called these ‘indaba’ groups, picking up an African word for meetings where significant questions are worked through in a community.” “Indaba” is also translated “Delphi” (which Google). Group dynamics studies have proved that groups over ten or so inhibit many people from speaking. Divide up the conservatives so that the leading voices are limited in their reach; leave many developing-world bishops to fight it out with well-prepared northern/western revisionists.

“In short…a fresh style of working … will allow us both to confront differences honestly and to be focused anew on our primary tasks of service and mission.” Ah, there we have it: If we could just get back to mission and put all this arguing over sex behind us.

3. And from Mrs. Williams (don’t you guess they looked over each other’s bits?) “…our two main aims in the Spouses Conference are to learn from each other and to resource ourselves to be God’s People for God’s Mission.” “Our programme gives time for quite a lot of telling our stories and learning how to listen to each other. In my own experience, this is where the reality of the ‘Anglican Communion’ comes alive, in hearing the diversity, richness, challenges and successes of other Christians around the world.” In our current context this speaks for itself.

4. “We plan to look at some of the huge issues that face us all, and that diminish God’s people…. For example…ecological change, the challenge of health care projects, or … gender violence…” I’d have included among my examples of “huge” issues, “Just what is the good news of Jesus Christ after all?”

5. Two statements that are faintly ominous (I’ve tried to read them from several angles, none of which help my spirit): From her—The spouses will have a “chance to equip ourselves, in the company of others who really know what we need.” Read that over several times.

And he assures us that “the programme of pre-Lambeth hospitality… will respect the integrity of all.” Nothing further from me.

January 21, 8:15 pm | [comment link]
30. rob k wrote:

Of course the “Conservative movement is divided.  The most significant way it is divided is between Catholics and Protestants, which is now obscured the controversies at hand.

January 21, 9:32 pm | [comment link]
31. Jeffersonian wrote:

I’d say that, barring an iron GS power play, characterizing Lambeth as a “jamboree” is to infuse it with more substance than our dear, beard-stroking Archbishop intends.

January 21, 10:08 pm | [comment link]
32. badman wrote:

#14. you can see how the Covenant fits into all this from the mouth of the Secretary to the Covenant Design Group here.

In particular, at Lambeth 2008:

“We don’t want the bishops to vote a text - or any part of it - up or down, but to make their views clear on the development of the text, and to catalyse the discussion at Provincial level”

Thereafter, a re-draft will be prepared which goes before the 2009 Anglican Consultative Council.

Thereafter - well, it’s up to the Anglican Consultative Council where they go with it next.

Notice that the Primates are not being allowed to run this one, and (contrary to a general expectation, I think), it is not going to be finished at Lambeth 2008.  Not at all!

January 22, 5:23 pm | [comment link]
33. Pageantmaster ن wrote:


January 22, 5:37 pm | [comment link]
34. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#32 Yes - and having watched the [rather good] videos of the Lambeth Conference launch I have heard how the Windsor report, various Primates’ Meetings do not countenance border crossing.

This leaves the elephant in the room of the many parishes and dioceses, composed of Anglicans who believe that Jesus is the son of God and is their personal saviour who died on the cross for their sins and who will come again in glory who have appealed both to the Primates and to Dr Williams directly to provide them with alternative Primatial oversight from those who think Jesus was a prophet who just points us to God.

So the Dar Communique and the Windsor process recommendations have been effectively neutered and just under 1/3 of the bishops representing over half of the world’s Anglicans have been alienated and the Covenant process is to be overseen by the ACC/ACO for the future.

There is no evidence that there has been any regret or moratorium as has been claimed at New Orleans, quite the reverse in fact, and there has been no provision for our fellow Anglicans in the States from the Instruments of Communion.

Meanwhile for these dioceses and parishes, there has been nothing except lack of support for them and those who have provided them with shelter.  TEC has resumed its persecution with publicly inhibiting and deposing their bishops and litigating against the wishes of all the primates at Dar.  They are going to be soundly punished for their ‘bad behaviour’

So what about it Dr. Williams?

January 23, 6:46 am | [comment link]
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