THE RESOURCE Group supporting evangelical Archbishops and bishops from the Global South attending the Lambeth Conference (26JUL-8AUG) have issued a ‘Call To Prayer’’ to all UK evangelicals.
The invitation from Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to bishops in the Anglican Communion has caused great pain amongst orthodox leaders, for the Archbishop has also invited Bishops in same sex relationships, and those seeking to persuade their own province/diocese, and others, to accept ‘gay marriage’. Bishops who hold firm to the Bible’s traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality have had to decide whether to attend, or boycott the gathering.
Some senior Archbishops, such as those of Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya have chosen not to go, whilst others from the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (representing around 75% of the Communion’s worshippers) are attending but have made it very clear they fully support those who have not.
The Global South delegates have issued the ‘Call To Prayer’ to ask God to give them “wisdom, faithfulness to scripture, winsomeness and grace” as they gather at a conference which has been designed to limit conversation on controversial topics dividing the Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury has so far refused the formal request by Global South leaders to give delegates an opportunity to ‘reaffirm the 1998 Lambeth Resolution1.10’, the former historic Lambeth Conference Resolution setting out the Communion’s official biblical understand on marriage and sexuality. This week, the archbishop went even further, unilaterally doing away with formal conference ‘Resolutions’, instead, Lambeth will circulate ‘Calls’ from the delegates to provinces, asking each to discuss, and make of it what they will.
Global South delegates have therefore called on all UK evangelicals to join them in prayer, each day at 9am, 12 noon, 3pm and 6pm, symbolically representing orthodox provinces and delegates from north, east, south and west of the Anglican Communion. It is hoped that a ‘wall of prayer’ surrounding the Conference will be built by prayer, starting Sunday 26 June, and ending on Sunday 14 August as delegates arrive back home and preach in local churches.
The majority of bishops from the Global South attending will be doing so for the first time, the last conference being in 2008. To support them, the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches, and the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (GSFA/EFAC) has set up a ‘Global South Resource Group’ to support delegates, especially in relation to media relations.
Bishop Henry Scriven, Hon General Secretary of EFAC, and a member of the Resource Group said: “For all its challenges, the Anglican Communion represents a wonderful fellowship of believers from every corner of the globe. Therefore, this ‘call to prayer’, symbolically recognising the world-wide nature of its witness for Jesus Christ, is vital.
“The conference programme has been tightly designed to prevent formal discussion on marriage and sexuality, or gender identity. This, despite the latter being ‘the issue’ the West is facing, and the one the ’spirit of this age’ is using, challenging identity, marriage and relationships.
“The current challenge to biblical orthodoxy by modern culture in the West should be regarded by the Church as a unique opportunity to answer these deep and fundamental questions – pointing people to God, not encouraging them, in their confusion, to try secularist ideas, philosophies and hormonal and medical treatments which will never meet their deeper longings. Only a personal relationship with Christ will.
“We hope that every Christian in the UK will pray for all GS delegates, that the Spirit of God will give them wisdom, faithfulness to scripture, winsomeness and grace to focus the Communion on Jesus, and Scripture.”
Information for prayer will shortly be available on social media under the [tag/heading] ‘Lambeth Conference Global South News’, as well as links to press releases, and resources which individuals and churches will find helpful to use and circulate for prayer.
For Further information:
Bishop Henry Scriven 07789 63260 email@example.com
Canon Charles Raven 07789 934836 firstname.lastname@example.org
Revd Paul Eddy (PR) 07923 653781 email@example.com
NB. Together with Bishop Keith Sinclair and Bishop Rennis Ponniah, the above make up the GSFA Resource Team, serving the GSFA delegates attending the Lambeth Conference.