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Lambeth Conference 2020: Over 500 bishops from 39 Anglican Communion Churches have registered

Lambeth Conference 2020: Over 500 bishops from 39 Anglican Communion Churches have registered
Primates and Bishops of the largest African provinces will not be there. Four attending bishops talked about the need for unity


By David W. Virtue, DD
April 15, 2019

Organizers of next year's Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops say that 502 bishops and 382 spouses have registered for the decennial event, with the numbers rising daily. Registrations to date have come from 39 of the Anglican Communion's 45 member Provinces and Extra Provincial Churches. "In comparison to the 2008 event when registrations had not started at this point, this is a most encouraging position to be in", Lambeth Conference Chief Executive Phil George said.

VOL: However, the six that are not coming represent more than two-thirds of all the Anglican Communion's practicing Anglicans, some 40 million Anglicans. They include Nigeria (20 million) Rwanda, (one million), Uganda, (approximately 14 million -- based on 32% of a population of 45.3 million, according to Wikipedia), Kenya has between 4.5 million and 5 million though I am told that the bishop of the Diocese of Nairobi plans to attend, and Chile. There may be other South American and Asian provinces not known to this writer who may not attend. The total Anglican population is thought to be 85 million, which includes 26 million inactive Anglicans in the Church of England.

LAMBETH CONFERENCE: Setting out his vision for next year's Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, expressed his hope that it would be an opportunity to meet the world's need for the good news of Jesus Christ, saying that the world "needs to see it in our actions, envy it in our love together, and hear it in our confident proclamation of the good news of Jesus."

VOL: Not while the four Instruments of Communion (unity) are impaired and refuse to engage with Resolution Lambeth 1:10 and continue to embrace sexual sin, with Welby's steadfast refusal to discipline errant provinces like TEC and the ACoC.

LAMBETH CONFERENCE: Amongst the first to sign up is Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu of Te Tai Tokerau in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. He told the Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS) that it was important for the bishops at next year's Lambeth Conference to discuss issues of peace and justice; the Church's response to the effects of Climate Change and its impact on humanity and the environment; poverty and injustice; and theology and Anglican ecclesiology.

VOL: The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand recently announced that it is setting up a new Diocese in New Zealand, because of the rejection of the authority of Scripture by the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia at the 2018 General Synod. The 12 parishes will come under the authority of GAFCON. This will form a new expression of Anglicanism.

LAMBETH CONFERENCE: The Bishop of Montego Bay, Leon Golding, a suffragan bishop in the Church of the Province of the West Indies' Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, will be attending his first Lambeth Conference. He said: "The most important issues the bishops need to address is those that divide. A divided church, which is different from a diverse church, cannot give creditable witness to a divided world. It will be my first time. I suppose I hope to take away a better understanding and appreciation of Communion of which I am you."

VOL: So, will Welby allow Lambeth Resolution 1:10 to be discussed by the bishops? It's not on the agenda. The elephant in the room is this resolution, a clear statement of Christian moral doctrine and the established means test for orthodoxy in morals. It has been so since 1998.

LAMBETH CONFERENCE: Another first-time attendee is Bishop Vithalis Yusuph of the Diocese of Biharamulo in the Anglican Church of Tanzania. "The most important thing that bishops should address at Lambeth Conference is how can we walk and serve together as Anglican family apart from our differences! God is love and there is no way we can help and encourage each other if we separate mission and love". In addition to "making new friends", Bishop Vithalis said that he hoped the Lambeth Conference would provide a "new perspective to rehabilitate our Anglican Communion".

VOL: That isn't going to happen. The Anglican Communion will never be "rehabilitated." There is about as much chance of that happening as there is of TEC being "rehabilitated." It is not going to happen so long as (homo)sexual sin is allowed to ferment and twist the Anglican Communion into knots, and godly evangelical archbishops like Foley Beach are denied entry, while practicing homosexuals are invited to the Anglican table.

LAMBETH CONFERENCE: The Bishop of Burnley in the Church of England's Diocese of Blackburn, Philip North, told ACNS that he was "looking forward to a greater sense of the global nature of Anglicanism and feeding from some of the evangelistic energy of Anglican churches in the global south. I hope we can focus above all on issues around the environment, poverty and social justice. In addition, we need to think about what it means to disagree well on those issues that divide us and so I hope that all theological viewpoints are richly represented."

VOL: No, that is not going to happen if the biggest evangelical Anglican players are absent to protest.

LAMBETH CONFERENCE: The Bishop of Buhiga in the Anglican Church of Burundi, Evariste Nijimbere, will be attending his first Lambeth Conference. He said that the Lambeth Conference would be an opportunity to address the objectives of the Anglican Communion and think together how to move forward. "People of God sitting together can shape each other and encourage each other through fellowship", he said.

VOL: What we will get is more Lambeth Indaba. As the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner recently noted, "The Anglican Communion is hurtling, like a train without brakes, toward the Lambeth Conference in 2020. What happens when it crashes into the conference is anybody's guess. The missing brakes in question amount to a clear sense of purpose for the conference and a clear rationale for participating in it. Both appear to be missing. Since no one really knows why hundreds of Anglican bishops should gather together, no one can really say who should come; and finally, for lack of common clarity on both issues, the conference threatens to be but a gathering of disordered and vying hopes and resentments. What we are seeing at the moment are open letters, protests, and general anxiety."

The last Lambeth Conference, in 2008, attracted 623 bishops and a smaller number of spouses.

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