The Lambeth Conference will also deliver a programme for bishops’ wives and husbands.
Like the bishops attending, spouses represent a wide variety of cultural and vocational contexts. Some spouses play a very active and complementary role in the bishopric ministry. Others pursue more distinct and particular vocations, alongside their spouse.
The spouses programme will be a key opportunity for spiritual reflection, growing connections and sharing stories about the vocation and ministry experiences of spouses across the Anglican World.
As well as participating in many of the conference sessions with bishops, there will also be some bespoke programme moments for spouses to attend.
The programme will include a retreat, worship and liturgy, Bible studies and group discussion. It will draw from a wide range of experiences and ministry settings of spouses from across the Anglican communion.
Interpretation will be provided for the joint programme.
The Joint Programme Planning Group
The Joint Programme for spouses at the Conference is being shaped by a planning group, that liaises with the conference Design Group.
Chaired by Mrs Caroline Welby and Linda Baines, the group also includes: Jane Namurye, Rebecca Cottrell, Eamonn Mullally, Lizzie Jeanes, Bev Jullien, Rob Dawes and Flora Winfield.
The programme overview
Retreat. The retreat will offer a number of reflections and testimonies from spouses from around the communion.
Bible studies. Supported by 60 or more facilitators from around the world, the joint programme will study the book of 1 Peter.
Seminars and ‘how to’ sessions. There are both opportunities and challenges involved in the different ministries and vocational lives of spouses in the Anglican Communion. Through a series of seminars and ‘how-to’ sessions, the joint programme will enable spouses to explore a range of subjects. From building resilience, leadership, community, managing dual careers, and spiritual/self care.
Sessions will be facilitated by spouses themselves as well as staff from mission agencies.
Regional meetings. Time will also be provided for spouses to meet in regional groups for community and relationship building.
Relaxation space. The joint venue will also have space and time for rest and relaxation, with a special chill out marquee being developed for this purpose.
Before the Lambeth Conference meets, many bishops’ wives and husbands are meeting together virtually, through a new initiative called Global Conversations.
‘Global Conversations’ is an invitation to each of the provinces of the Anglican Communion to gather groups of bishops’ spouses either in person or meeting virtually.
The vision to build more community connections amongst bishops’ wives and husbands, to support and encourage one another.
The vision has developed from Mrs Caroline Welby and the team that are planning the Joint Programme for bishops’ wives and husbands at the Lambeth Conference; along with friends at the Anglican Alliance and the Mothers’ Union.
What are the aims?
The vision of Global Conversations is to encourage wives and husbands of bishops around the world to meet together in order to:
- Build community, strengthen relationships and get to know one another better.
- Provide space for mutual support, prayer and story sharing.
- Share knowledge and expertise in areas of ministry and vocation.
- Provide input in areas of wellbeing, leadership and community action.
- During the pandemic, share response strategies and provide support to one another.
How do the groups meet?
New Global Conversation groups can be started organically in a province. In some provinces, groups already exist.Others may choose to join some ‘Global Conversation meetings’ during the year that are being coordinated by the Lambeth Conference, Mothers’ Union and The Anglican Alliance.
Many have already started to meet during 2020 and 2021, in order to discuss responses to COVID-19 in their settings.
How do the groups run?
An international team of facilitators have been trained and are available to support groups that would like to start Global Conversations in their setting. Always involving Bible Study, the groups operate on the basis of listening, sharing stories and taking a strengths based approach to different issues or topics faced.
The team have been trained on how to facilitate groups through a number of different sessions, which can be adapted to local needs / contexts. The sessions involve:
- Introductions: Establishing principles for meeting together and creating a safe space.
- Topic focus: Exploring a question or issue – for example responses to COVID-19 in community life.
- Releasing potential: Considering the needs and opportunities of a community or a situation – and prayerfully identifying responses involving church and community.
- Sharing stories of change: Sharing experiences and ministry lessons from different contexts – to shape future action and practice.
During the current crisis of COVID-19, the bulk of the Global Conversation groups have been focusing their discussions on the pandemic. In time, the session plans and model could be applied to a range of different topics.
What are the benefits of Global Conversations?
First and foremost, the vision for Global Conversations is to enable wives and husbands around the Anglican Communion to provide ongoing peer support and growth opportunities well in to the future.
For those attending the Lambeth Conference in 2022, it is also hoped that ‘Global Conversations will also be a positive way for people to start to get to know peers around the world, in advance of the event.
Global Conversations are endorsed by Mrs Welby and the Spouses’ Planning Group and supported by Anglican Alliance, Mothers’ Union and the Lambeth Conference Team.