Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am greatly looking forward to being with you in Canterbury next week. As you set out on your journeys from around the world, I thank God for this opportunity to be together in prayer, study and conversation.
This year’s Lambeth Conference will be focussed on the major global crises of our time, their impact on the most vulnerable, and our Gospel imperative to serve a world in need. This is a historic opportunity to hear from each other about the opportunities and challenges we face in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in our diverse contexts around the world – and to pray for and affirm each other in those ministries.
I know that many of you are reading and praying about the draft Lambeth Calls that have been published this week – and they are naturally the subject of debate ahead of the conference. Indeed, these Calls have grown out of a process of discussion and encounter with one another. They are informed by the insights and themes of the online video conversations between bishops across the world over the past year. They have been drafted by a diverse group of Anglicans – male and female, lay and ordained, from different generations and from every part of the Communion. They are one part of a process that began before this part of the Conference, and will continue long after it formally finishes, as every Province discerns its own response to the Calls in their own contexts.
As you prepare your hearts and minds for this gathering, I pray that we all reflect on the draft Call on Anglican Identity, which states that Anglicans “belong to a tradition that seeks faithfulness to God in richly diverse cultures, distinct human experiences, and deep disagreements.” That call also states: “The Anglican Communion is a gift from God. Governed by Scripture, affirming the ancient creeds, sacramentally centered, and episcopally led – Anglicans seek to be faithful to God in their agreement and in their disagreements.”
Without ignoring those things on which we deeply disagree, I pray that we will approach this gathering with an even deeper sense of what unites us: the love of Jesus Christ and his calling to serve God’s world.
Be assured of my continuing prayers for you all – now and in the weeks to come.
Yours as ever in the peace of Christ,