Dear Friends in Christ,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! I wanted to write to you ahead of my departure to the Lambeth Conference this coming Sunday. For those of you who are less familiar with this conference, it is a gathering of all of the bishops and their spouses from the worldwide Anglican Church in the city of Canterbury, England. It is hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Historically, the conference has met every 10 years, but occasionally that rhythm is disrupted. It has been 14 years since the last conference. The conference will last from July 26 to August 7.
It is a great opportunity to meet and talk with bishops from around the world. I am excited to be in prayer with bishops from so many different provinces and to listen to what Christ is doing in churches around the world. I am also excited to tell others about what we are seeing that Christ is doing here in the Diocese of Edmonton.
The plenary sessions will be marked by discussions around items called Lambeth Calls. These are meant to be different than resolutions. These are a series of themes that we will consider as God’s call to the church in this day and time. The themes for these calls are Mission and Evangelism, Reconciliation, Safe Church, Environment and Sustainable Development, Christian Unity, Inter-faith relations, Anglican Identity, Human Dignity and Discipleship. The idea is that we are to discuss, discern and speak where we have a common mind. Most of these I am happy to affirm.
I do have to say I was extremely disappointed to see in the resolution about Human Dignity that there is a call to reaffirm Lambeth resolution I.10, from 1998, which is against marriage equality for our LGBTQ+ community. This goes against what I thought we were doing in speaking where we find we have a common mind as a communion. It is clear that there is no common mind on this issue. There are groups working already to remove this from the Lambeth Call, and I will work to support this effort. I am committed to marriage equality in this diocese and, as our document Finding our Way says, “we will affirm and declare publicly, intentionally, and explicitly our commitment to the welcome, safety and full access of siblings in the LGBTQ2SIA+ communities within our churches.”
I am grateful for the faithfulness of LGBTQ+ Anglicans in this diocese and throughout the Communion and look forward to connecting with other bishops who testify to the gift of their witness in our Church.
Please keep all of us in your prayers as we meet over the next two weeks. There is a prayer guide on the Lambeth Conference website that you can find here: https://www.lambethconference.org/resources/prayer-guide/
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Stephen London 22 July 2022