History and impact

Drawing together Anglican Bishops from across the world – and in more recent times spouses – the Lambeth Conference has always been a significant event, in the life of the Anglican Communion and wider church.

The Lambeth Conference dates back more than 150 years; the first was held in 1867 with 76 bishops present and has happened around every 10 years since.

The Lambeth Conference in 2022 will welcome over 1000 active bishops and spouses from across the Anglican Communion.

Previous Lambeth Conferences have discussed church matters and issues of global concern, including: the persecuted church, refugees, faith and order issues, marriage, the family, human sexuality, the ministry of women, racism, war and peace, Christian ethics and the Christian way of life.

Alongside the full programme of prayer, Bible study, worship services and ceremonies at Canterbury Cathedral, the event also involves a number of guest speakers and dignitaries. Events have been attended by Her Majesty the Queen, and former Prime Ministers.

Outcomes of the last Lambeth Conference:

Climate change – The exchange of experience of the impact of climate change and environmental degradation lifted up the safeguarding of creation as core work in the Communion. The Anglican Communion Environmental Network has increased its activities and now connects Anglicans around the globe. The Network has facilitated ecumenical and inter faith collaboration to promote creation care and advocacy and has been instrumental in seeing the embedding of Lenten carbon fasts and the Season of Creation.

Gender Justice – Purposeful conversations on the place of power within society and the church raised awareness of the reality that women and children suffer from the effects of abusive power. A strategy to address was launched, established through the Anglican Communion Office to serve and support Anglican women and men working for gender justice across the globe.

Addressing poverty and injustice – The Anglican Alliance was created after 2008 to provide co-ordination of Anglican initiatives to challenge and change the unjust structures of the world. The Anglican Alliance has a mandate to bring together development, relief and advocacy work across the Communion. It has had a huge impact in responding to disasters and developmental challenges through closer collaboration of Anglican Communion Mission and Development agencies and Diocesan and Provincial structures.

Evangelism and Church Growth Initiative – the initiative of Bishops in 2008 formed the work of the ACO Mission Department focussing on Intentional Discipleship, now formalised as a formal season of action across the Communion.