Archbishop Thabo Makgoba’s message of encouragement for Bishops’ Conversations
Next month (July 2021), a series of online Bishops’ Conversations will begin, as part of the journey to the Lambeth Conference. The sessions are open to all Anglican Bishops and will start exploring the conference theme of what it means to be ‘God’s Church for God’s World.’
The meetings are being designed and planned by the Lambeth Conference Working Group, Chaired by Bishop Emma Ineson. Earlier this year, some of the Working Group and Lambeth Conference planning teams shared their hopes for Bishops’ Conversations in a filmed panel conversation with The Archbishop of Canterbury. The conversation has been made into a series of short films that will be released during June in support of the initiative.
In one of the films, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba – Primate of Southern Africa and The Chair of the Lambeth Conference Design Group – shares a message of support for Bishops’ Conversations.
During his message, Archbishop Thabo says: ‘My predecessor but one Archbishop Desmond Tutu, when he was asked, “What do you do as the Anglican Communion?” He said, “We meet”. And, people took it at superficial level.
But he was really raising an important theological theme that we are an incarnational church. That nothing will replace eyeball-to-eyeball meeting. In spite of all of our many challenges and differences, here is an opportunity to walk together under the guidance of scripture.”
“If we meet together, you will know that you are not alone. We will form those communities of care… and we will carry each other’s burdens. So, I encourage you to really take an opportunity of these walks of witness and these conversations as we share each other’s burdens and as we learn from one another.”
On the film, Bishop Emma Ineson (Chair of the Working Group and a member of the Design Group) comments on her experiences in planning Bishops’ Conversations: ‘I would say for me, it’s been profoundly impacting on my own faith, on my own ministry, and just the way I see God’s Church and God’s world for today, so it’s been a huge privilege.’
Bishops’ Conversations will meet using Zoom technology. The sessions will provide time for prayer and Bible study, sharing ministry experiences and stories and discussing what it means for the Anglican Communion to be responsive to the needs of a fast-changing world.’
The ‘Bishops’ Conversations’ will help to discern shared priorities and hopes in advance of the face-to-face conference, and to shape and enrich the conference programme planning.
Meeting in groups of around 20 participants, online sessions will run once a month, for 2 hours. Group discussions will be hosted by a Bishop Convenor and a Facilitator. Two additional Administrative and Technical roles will also support the session.
The sessions are being planned to run at different times zones, and to support different language/interpretation needs.
The films about ‘Bishops Conversations’ are captured as a panel conversation hosted by The Archbishop of Canterbury, and feature: Bishop Emma Ineson (Chair of the Lambeth Conference Working Group); Phil George (CEO of the Lambeth Conference Company); Bishop Pradeep Samantaroy (Bishop of Amritsar, North India); Professor Joseph Galgalo (Vice Chancellor and Associate Professor of Theology at St. Pauls University.) and Professor Jenn Strawbridge (Associate Professor in New Testament Studies at Mansfield College in the University of Oxford and Editor of the 1 Peter Commentary for the Lambeth Conference).
To find out more about Bishops’ Conversations and watch the films about the process visit: