Bishop Jo Bailey Wells – the newly appointed Bishop for Episcopal Ministry at the Anglican Communion – has given an address at ACC18, about Phase 3 of the Lambeth Conference journey.
ACC18 is the 18th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, which has been meeting in Ghana (12-19 February 2023), to discuss the theme Five Marks of Mission – Today and Tomorrow.
The ACC combines bishops, clergy and laity who represent the different provinces of the Anglican Communion. It is one of the four Instruments of Unity in the Anglican Communion. The report was made to the ACC as the Lambeth Conference is itself one of the four Instruments.
Having attended the Lambeth Conference last year, Bishop Jo shared some of the highlights from the event. This included progress of the Safe Church Commission, the creation of the Anglican Communion Science Commission, the launch of the Communion Forest, the connections made amongst the spouses and the establishment of new Companion Links.
She shared appreciation for: “the joy of friendship and fellowship among bishops and among spouses, especially through small group Bible study and prayer. Our communion is nothing, if it is not relational…. Something definitive happens when we open our Bibles together. God speaks.”
Bishop Jo’s address to ACC18 focused on plans for Phase 3 of the Lambeth Conference and the work of a new Phase 3 Steering Group, that will be chaired by Archbishop Julio Murray. The Steering Group priorities will be to sustain cross-provincial bible study; respond to the Calls and to continue to equip and strengthen bishops around the Communion. A couple of members of this new group are present at the Anglican Consultative Council (The Rt Revd Danald Jute – Church of the Province of South East Asia and The Most Revd Kay Goldsworthy – The Anglican Church of Australia).
Talking about the Lambeth Calls, Bishop Jo suggested that the calls should be thought of as ‘an invitation, an exhortation, a rallying cry, to come together and work together with these things as our agreed set of priorities, all of which find their place under the banner of the Five Marks of Mission.”
She presented an idea of ‘Call and Response’ as a model through which the Lambeth Calls might be shared more widely with dioceses around the Anglican Communion in the future. She drew on examples from scripture, to show how much of scripture is received and understood through a process of ‘Call and Response.’ She led the room in sharing Psalm 118, who together responded to the call: ‘O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!’ Bishop Jo also described how Call and Response is also used as a musical device in many musical genres around the world.
She invited the ACC as an Instrument of the Communion, to respond to how this idea might help the Lambeth Calls be taken forwards. “I see this as an opportunity for you as an instrument, as the ACC, to help shape the way that the calls from another instrument might travel around our communion. I’m looking for your wisdom, your ideas, your energy, your tradition, and your participation. Calls are designed to elicit a response to shape us into action. …I put it to you their beauty is precisely that they don’t predetermine exactly how we follow up on them, they are not a top-down instruction. They are calls inviting us to get involved and respond in whatever way might be appropriate to your context.”
ACC members went on to discuss the Calls, sharing examples of Calls and Response from their own cultures and traditions. Time was given to consider how the Call and Response model might work in dioceses, parishes and churches. Feedback from the session was gathered and will be given to the Phase 3 Steering Group to consider.
The three phases of the Lambeth Conference were the listening together phase (pre-event online meetings); the walking together phase (the full conference in Canterbury) and Phase 3 will be about witnessing together, taking the calls forward in to the life of the Anglican Communion.
The session also heard of a new Lambeth Conference Resources Guide, that is available on the Lambeth Conference web site.
The Full Participants in the Steering Group are:
The Rt Rev Julio Murray – Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America
The Rt Rev Vicentia Kgabe – The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Rt Rev Paul Swarup – The Church of North India
The Rt Rev Jorge Pina-Cabral – The Lusitanian Church
The Rt Rev Danald Jute – Church of the Province of South East Asia
The Most Rev Kay Goldsworthy – The Anglican Church of Australia
Mrs Caroline Bauerschmidt -The Episcopal Church
Revd Steve Muneza – Burundi/England
Canon Dr Agnes Abuom – Anglican Church of Kenya
Download the Lambeth Conference Resources Guide
To access resources and information about the Lambeth Conference Resources Guide, visit the web site here.