This 23rd July will mark the ‘one year to go’ moment until over 1000 bishops and spouses from around the Anglican Communion will join together for the 15th Lambeth Conference.
Running from 23rd July – 2 August 2020 (guests arrive on the 22nd) and Convened by The Archbishop of Canterbury, the conference invites participants from over 165 countries and shapes the future direction of the Anglican Communion for the next decade.
Inspired by the book of 1 Peter, the theme for Lambeth Conference will be ‘God’s Church for God’s World’. The event will call participants together for prayer, Bible study, reflection, fellowship and dialogue on shared topics, concerns and opportunities in the Anglican Communion.
The conference will also explore important global issues, including climate change, gender justice, poverty, modern day slavery, peace and reconciliation.
The Lambeth Conference has assembled around every ten years since 1867 to discuss the vision, action and service of the Anglican Communion in the world.
The impact of the conferences has been wide and far reaching on a range of topics including the persecuted church, the plight of refugees, faith and order issues, marriage, the family, the ministry of women, racism, war and peace, Christian ethics, the Christian way of life, liturgical revision and structures for consultation in the Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Alliance, which co-ordinates development, relief and advocacy projects was created as a direct result of Lambeth 2008.
The event in 2020 will also mark 100 years on from the 1920 Lambeth Conference – a gathering that has become known for issuing ‘An Appeal To All Christian People’.
This significant moment called for church unity and ecumenical activity. Held in the aftermath of the First-World-War, the appeal reflected the sense that churches must find ways of acting together to prevent future hostilities.
The programme for the 2020 event is being shaped by a Design Group comprised of archbishops, bishops, theologians and other lay members. At the ‘one year to go’ moment, we share views from Design Group members about their hopes for The Lambeth Conference.
Watch a short film featuring some of the Design Group’s hopes for The Lambeth Conference:
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on the theme of 1 Peter – God’s Church for God’s World’: “It’s a theme that reminds us that the church does not exist for itself, the church does not exist alone. It exists by mission. God is busy reconciling the world to himself. We are invited in to that space… It’s not only about the church… God is always all the time sending us outside the church window, where God’s world is really longing for his love, comfort and embrace…We as Anglicans want to say to the world, we are there as bridge builders, there for peace, to address social needs, and in our brokenness to look at growth and rebuild trust in the world.”
Cathrine is training for ordination in Durham and was a youth representative at the Anglican Consultative Council in 2016 in Lusaka.
On speaking about her hopes for The Lambeth Conference, she said: ‘I think the message of hope is that we are all God’s children. God’s church for all people. We are all God’s children, part of God’s family… That is the message we need to live, and we need to express that in how we listen, live and share with one another.”
“The Anglican Communion, fragile and fractious though it be, is a remarkable gift from God. The conference is meant both to display and to strengthen this. We will also be gathering with a conscious thought back to Lambeth 1920, which proclaimed that ‘God wills fellowship’; in a very different, and yet equally fraught era, so He does now also! I hope it will be a time of encouragement, in its deliberation, its program, and its ‘corridor moments’ of fellowship.”
“I do hope that we emerge from the Conference with a stronger sense of our ‘mutual responsibility and interdependence’, one with another, and a road toward on-going growth in this. Surely if this would contribute bear many fruits, since the problems we face are shared across Churches in very different settings.”
“The most important thing is to make sure that the Anglican Communion is to be one… My dream would be all the provinces would be represented… It will be an opportunity for people to see the diversity of the church, to make new friends, to visit places and to get cross cultural experiences with one another. As a member of the Design Group – it’s like being a chef in the kitchen and preparing a meal. The joy of the meal is when it is eaten by the people we are preparing it for and they enjoy it.”
Sources: Comments by Design Group members have been shared through a filming day in June 2019 and quotes provided to The Lambeth Conference Company.