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Lambeth adapts to changing world

Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby has announced that the 15th ten-yearly Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops will now be held in mid 2022, but will also gather the Communion's leaders to connect and converse via virtual meeting technology.

Taonga News | Janet Miles  |  21 Oct 2020  |

The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced that the Lambeth Conference will now be held in person at Kent University and Canterbury Cathedral between 27 July – 8 August 2022, with a day of the programme held in London.

The 2022 Lambeth Conference will also break new ground for the Communion, as planners have announced it will meet both face-to-face and virtually. As well as the face-to-face meeting in Canterbury in mid 2022, the Lambeth Conference will now be reshaped as a conference ‘journey’, that runs in phases before, during and beyond the face-to-face gathering.

The Lambeth Conference, which follows the theme, ‘God’s Church for God’s World - walking, listening and witnessing together’ was rescheduled from its original 2020 dates due to gathering restrictions and border closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s vital that planning for our meeting of bishops and spouses responds to the new world we find ourselves in since COVID-19.” said Phil George, the CEO of the Lambeth Conference Company.

Phil George added that despite the challenges and disruption that the pandemic has caused, the Anglican Communion has also seen huge creativity and adaptability as churches have started to meet virtually.

“The opportunities that technology provides for online meeting and engagement have opened up new ways for us to connect, pray and be community for one another,” he said.

The conference community of bishops and spouses and wider Anglican audiences will be invited to take part in the Lambeth conversation through a combination of online, regional and intraregional meetings and supporting resources.

The reshaped 2022 Lambeth Conference online and in person programmes will focus on what it means for the Anglican Communion to be responsive to the needs and challenges of a fast changing-world in the 21st Century, particularly in the light of the Communion’s Five Marks of Mission that call on Anglicans:

1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
2. To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
3. To respond to human need by loving service
4. To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth

Starting in 2021, the online Lambeth programme will introduce major themes and strategic pillars of the conference programme.

With bishops and spouses invited from 165 countries of the Anglican Communion, the conference community represents a diversity of cultures and Christian tradition.

The Lambeth programme’s virtual phases will aim to give more time for Anglican participants to meet one another and discuss conference topics and so provide greater opportunity to share insights and experiences from their different provinces and church communities.

Lambeth planners hope the increased opportunities for conversation and sharing on the realities of ministry around the Communion will lead to better conference resources and more effective future planning for the life of the Anglican Communion.

A working group of representatives from around the Communion have been appointed to help the Archbishop of Canterbury shape the Lambeth Conference journey.

The Lambeth Conference working group comprises: Bishop of Penrith, Rt Rev Dr Emma Ineson; the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs, Rt Rev Anthony Poggo; Vice Chancellor and Associate Professor of Theology at St. Paul’s University Kenya, Rev Prof Joseph D Galgalo; and Bishop of Amritsar(Church of North India) Rt Rev Pradeep Samantaroy.

The timetable and further details for the pre-conference programme will be released in 2021.

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