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A Brazilian Reflects on the Upcoming Lambeth Conference

A Brazilian Reflects on the Upcoming Lambeth Conference

By The Reverendo Rogerio de Assis
Special to Virtueonline
August 20, 2019


The next Lambeth Conference is near. What the bishops gathered at this conference usually do is a first question. What is Lambeth's purpose for? According to reports from the bishops who were there, they pray, reflect, fraternize, have a lot of tea, etc. The time is intense and usually includes a special time with the Queen for the famous five o'clock tea. After all, this is an official Anglican Church event that takes place only every ten years, and let us not forget that Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II is the Head of the Anglican Church (officially Church of England).

What is Lambeth's calling? Its purpose is to be a meeting place and communion for bishops and archbishops under the leadership of the archbishop of Canterbury, today the Rev. Dr. Justin Welby.

Another question that arises is: Are the subjects dealt with in Lambeth related only in the intramural sphere, that is, internal affairs of the church? No. Lambeth is also a space to discuss the role of the extramural church, ie issues that affect the world at large, such as global warming, politics, violence, social inequality, human sexuality, gender issues, etc. These last two have been the source of much controversy, which we will see later.

Well, some other questions, or even problems, guide this article. What to expect from this conference? Since it is a convocation / invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, are there already a significant number of confirmed Bishops and Archbishops? Can one say that there is still an "Anglican Communion" in the face of so many divisions that are noticeable? Is there talk of a realignment of the "Anglican Communion", ie the creation of a new model of Communion? If so, who, or which sector of the Church would be responsible? Is there talk of some type of Canterbury Communion, rather than "Anglican Communion"? Is Lambeth 2020 the "Liberal Church Sector" Conference? How are the Bishops and Archbishops of the Church's "Orthodox Sector" reacting to Lambeth 2020? Were they invited to the conference? If so, did you accept the invitation? In what condition? As listening guests? Observers? Full members?

Finally, by way of hypothesis, we will seek to point out some possible paths for the future of the "Anglican Communion."


One thing we should not expect from Lambeth is legislative decisions, for as stated in the introduction, such a Conference does not have such a vocation, but rather one can expect rich moments of ministerial sharing, moments of Bible study carefully conducted by well-rounded biblical scholars, as well as of course, the most varied key issues that permeate each province represented there. And finally, some document titled Lambeth 2020 Resolutions or something like a mission call for the next decade. It is also important to say, given the importance of this Conference, that it always counts on the presence of Ministers from other churches as "ecumenical observers", namely from the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, among others of invited nominations.
Since the Lambeth Conference is a convocation / invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, are there already a significant number of confirmed Bishops and Archbishops?

According to our research, to date, July 2019, 1,000 (1,000) Bishops including their wives have confirmed their presence, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual couples. And here we have, according to Orthodox researchers, the key issue of controversy of the "Anglican Communion": the homoaffective issue. And such a fact, for these representatives, is simply a break from "Communion": a) with God and Holy Scripture, and b) a break from Communion with his Church.

I believe by now that you have understood why I purposely chose to write "Anglican Communion" in quotation marks throughout the article. What communion, one might ask? Communion only of the liberal sector? Communion only of the conservative / orthodox church sector? Now Communion is Communion, it is to be in agreement, in common union. Unfortunately what is observed is that the "Anglican Communion" ceased to be a Communion a long time ago. Still others wonder if it ever existed. What can be said without fear of making a mistake is: there are "Anglican Communions".

We read that to date 1,000 (1,000) Bishops have already confirmed their presence at Lambeth 2020 ... This number may at first represent a great success of the event, but if we consider that 80% of Orthodox Anglicanism, ie, of the Bishops and Archbishops who have already expressed will not be present, due to the issues already raised regarding human sexuality, and who accuse the liberal sector of the church of disrespecting decisions and agreements previously made in other Conferences, and here being very specific, speak of the Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference on Human Sexuality, it seems to me that Lambeth 2020 will have far fewer people than was expected to have.

Let me cite just one recent fact to substantiate a little more. The Church of England recently released a paper on baptism and gender issues. It is as follows: the Church thinking of people who are doing the sex change, ie transgenitalization, would have the right to go through a new ritual, a kind of rebaptism, because according to the advocates of this thought, these people when they were baptized still had another sex, another psyche, etc. Such a question, quite complex by the way, has obviously generated and has generated much controversy.

See link: https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/2017/june/church-of-england-to-baptize-people-into-new-genders
What was and what has been the answer of orthodox Anglicanism, of course, could not have been different but to combat such liberal thinking. After all, once baptized, baptized forever. See link:
In light of these few data, however, already sufficient for you to understand the seriousness of the current situation of the "Anglican Communion", it is evident that the orthodox sectors of Anglicanism have worked greatly to restore pure and simple Anglicanism, biblical and patristic Anglicanism, therefore, setting aside all kinds of Liberalism that do not fit the revealed and inspired inerrant Word of God.

In this sense, many scholars have argued about the future of global Anglicanism, among them, I can cite here one that stands out most, ACNA Archbishop Dr. Foley Beach. Recalling what was mentioned, Lambeth invites observers to the Lambeth Conference. Well, Archbishop Foley was invited by Archbishop Justin Welby to attend Lambeth 2020 as an observer. In other words, no right to full participation. Now the obvious answer was to say thank you and say that as an observer he would not be present.
Advancing the level of understanding a little further, the absence of Archbishop Foley Beach does not only mean his absence, but the absence of 80% of orthodox Anglicanism. Which leads us to believe that Lambeth 2020 will be the Liberal Anglicanism Conference as researchers have stated.
We believe from what has been described so far, that there is no need for an intellectual effort to think about a realignment of Anglicanism or the "Anglican Communion", as it turns out, it has actually existed since the creation of GAFCON, since 2008. "The Gafcon movement is a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion. Our mission is to guard the unchanging, transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world. We are founded on the Bible, bound together by the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008, and led by the Primates Council, which represents the majority of the world's Anglicans."
In this sense, still using the word realignment, it is obvious that there is an intention to realign the "Anglican Communion". And here again we have problems to be faced, as one wonders: what unity must be maintained for the church to walk as one body?

This is another very interesting point, since one cannot foresee a "unity in diversity", as we have pointed out so far. What then to do with the global future of Anglicanism? It is a fact that there have always been at least three groups within Anglicanism, the conservatives, the liberals, and the middle way. This is a point known to all Anglicans. Researched scholars (see references) have commented that instead of the name "Anglican Communion", perhaps the name that makes the most sense is "Canterbury Communion". And on this point I want to quickly make two comments, one positive and one negative in my humble vision.

A) The positive point of this new configuration (if it will happen) is that such a definition pleases me, after all, has a very accurate historical bias, since it is in the year 1549 that the union of the Roman Church with the Celtic Church and therefore St. Augustine establishes the Church in Canterbury. Hence, historically, today the Archbishop of Canterbury has been the successor of St. Augustine ever since. The current Archbishop, Dr. Justin Welby, is the 105th In a roll.
B) The point that I find negative about this new configuration, (if it will happen), that is, to change the name from "Anglican Communion" to Canterbury Communion, is the simple fact of assuming the division, of not having met One solution to the problem, after all, cannot be denied, every division is an open wound in the body of Christ, that is, in his Church.

And going a little further, if on the one hand we will have the Canterbury Communion as representatives of liberal Anglicanism, what will we have on the other hand as representatives of orthodox / conservative Anglicanism? The answer is simple, we will have the group already mentioned, the Communion of Churches that are united to the GAFCON.


We sought to reflect in this article on the current framework of Anglicanism, that is, the "Anglican Communion", focusing on Lambeth 2020. We claim to have achieved this goal, and thus have shown which paths are envisioned for our beloved Anglicanism of today and tomorrow, in light of yesterday's Anglicanism left by the first parents. We regret the divisions, but we must assume them with maturity and wisdom in order to seek the unity desired by Christ.

I conclude hopefully that amid the tears shed for many will come the smile, and that in an unknown way, Anglicanism will be restored by the power of the Holy Spirit, continuing its mission of simply being light of the earth and salt. of the world, that is, preacher of the Good News!

Let vanity be set aside, and so is the struggle for power, for none of this is part of the genuine mission of any church.


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The Reverendo Rogerio de Assis has been an Anglican priest since 2007, Rector of the New Hope Anglican Church in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. CNPq Researcher, with Master in Education from Nove de Julho University (UNINOVE) 2019; Specialization in Education with emphasis on Teacher Education for Higher Education (UNIFAI) 2015; Specialization in Reformed Theology by the Evangelical Literary Mission (CFL) 2019; Bachelor of Theology from the Pontifical Faculty of Theology N.S of the Assumption (UNIFAI) 2007; Bachelor of Theology from the Anglican Institute of Theological Studies (IAET) 2005. Performed cultural exchange in Argentina (2017) and England (2018). He is the author of Chronicles of an Anglican Reverend. He is in communion with Archbishop John Fenwick of the Free Church of England and is dialogue with Bishop Flávio Aidar.

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