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Kenyan Archbishop and NZ (Maori) Archbishop will not attend, 300 bishops from Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria have declined invitations.
Human identity and human sexuality issues will be discussed, said Welby
Cost to attend is 4,950 pounds ($6,091.00) per bishop.
Half of all bishops got full bursaries
No resolutions but "calls" because Lambeth is not a legislative body

By David W. Virtue, DD
June 23, 2022

ENGLAND - In a first online pre-Lambeth Press Conference, media from across the globe heard planners and speakers including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby confirm a VOL tip that Kenyan Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit would not be attending the Lambeth conference. This makes four African archbishops not coming to next month's decennial conference over unresolved sexuality issues. Together, the four provinces represent over 35 million Anglicans, nearly half of all Anglicans.

Welby said there is nothing new. "We need to keep praying and loving them. There is not a lot more we can do if they don't want to come. They shouldn't come out of loyalty...we are not getting into a panic about it. This has been developing for a long time and we regret it."

Questioned about whether Lambeth Resolution 1:10 and other sexuality issues would be on the table, Welby said key and important questions about human identity and human sexuality and the nature of being God's people will be addressed by the bishops. He described it as "both challenging and hugely exciting."

Welby said it was "difficult" to invite spouses in same-sex marriages. When pushed, Welby said the Anglican Communion at Lambeth '98 made it clear they could not recognize same-sex marriage. "That is the position of the communion. The focus of unity is myself; I cannot pretend that is not the case."

Questioned about the exchange of letters between he and three African primates described as an "ongoing conversation," which they described as little more than "virtue-signaling and the need to obey the clear word of God," Welby said he was glad that they were clear and robust...it was very proper. "My response is to say there should not be dialogue."

"The Anglican Communion is an autonomous body; it is not an order to kick each other around. It is not a legislative body." Bishop Tim Thornton in explaining Lambeth calls rather than resolutions, said I think the language of call respects the autonomy of provinces think for themselves. The Anglican Communion has no legislative authority over the Anglican Communion, but it has a strong moral authority."

Despite John 17:21, (that all of them may be one) unity is not unanimity in the church, said Welby. "It is a false theological dichotomy to have truth without unity. We will get to these points by prayer and being willing, while holding to our view, to be in contact with those with whom we disagree."

"We cannot fall into a post-modern radical autonomy, nor to say issues don't matter, they are hugely important."

The media were told that 1,000 invitations had been issued to active diocesan bishops with 650 agreeing to come along with 480 spouses. Some 300 bishops from Rwanda, Uganda and Nigeria would not be coming. Partners of non-celibate homosexual and lesbian bishops were not invited. Asked if any bishops were not welcome to the conference, Welby said all recognized diocesan bishops had been invited. Only those bishops facing safeguarding issues or a bishop under discipline in their own provinces could not come. Conference leaders still expect close to 700 bishops coming.

Welby said Orthodox leaders from the Ukraine, but not Russia, had been invited to this year's conference.

Archbishop Josiah Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, said it was "regrettable" that these vibrant provinces of Rwanda, Uganda and Nigeria were not coming. "We will miss them, but the invitation remains open till the last day. Letters have been written and phone calls made but nobody is responding and our voices are not heard." Welby condemned the "divisions and tragedies that divided the communion" and expressed a call to unity which he said was not uniformity.

Thabo Makgoba, Primate of Southern Africa and Chair of the Lambeth Conference Design Group said the planning had come a long way since 1867 when the heresy of a bishop was critical. "Nothing forces bishops to come to London, not all bishops will attend, but we will build a new energy together. He said diversity of views brought experience in the planning process. "The process of Indaba is open ended, seeking consensus. We must disagree respectfully. We must listen to voices inside and outside the church."

Asked about the influence of money on the program, the media were told that the donor spread was from a number of charitable trusts, but the Church of England had no funds to influence the program. Church commissioners had put money in for one day, said Welby.

"The aim of this conference is to encourage Anglicans around the world to look outwards in the world in which they live, and with love of God to take the good news of salvation to all those who do not yet know him," said Welby.

"The church should express its evangelistic mission through engagement with the great challenges the next 30 or 40 years in areas of climate fragility and political and other fragility. "We need to respond prophetically and compassionately with love of God in Jesus Christ."

Welby said key themes of evangelism, witness and reconciliation within the church had been around since the earliest years of the church.

When questioned about media access to the bishops, the media was told the press would have better access than any other Lambeth conference to the bishops.

Welby said he wants reconciling agents in the war in Ukraine and noted that there were 52 civil wars occurring around the world that most have forgotten.

Welby noted challenges from science and technology, the biological sciences and injustices in economics and trade, resulting from disparities and technological access, would be discussed.

Asked to comment on Archbishop Laurent Mbanda's reaction to the mother church critique of refugees being sent to Rwanda, Welby said the key thing is that in no way is the CofE a critique of Mbanda himself, but his own government's policy of people arriving by boat. It is not a criticism of Rwanda's policy. It is an issue for the British Government.


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