June ~ 2022 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
Archdeacon of Canterbury Dr Will Adam shares ecumenical insights and hopes ahead of the 15th Lambeth Conference.
Anglican bishops from around the globe are gearing up for a major event in the life of their communion which will shape the ministry and mission of its members over the next decade. The fifteenth Lambeth Conference takes place in Canterbury from 26 July to 8 August, bringing together over 600 bishops, alongside spouses, ecumenical observers and other invited guests.
The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt will be taking part in that meeting, together with Prof. Dirk Lange, LWF’s Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations. Among those on hand to welcome them to the ancient city on the south-eastern tip of England will be a friend and ecumenical expert, Rev. Dr Will Adam, who was recently appointed Archdeacon of Canterbury.
Originally held at Lambeth Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury on the banks of the river Thames in London, the Lambeth Conference has been meeting more or less once a decade since 1867 for prayer, reflection, fellowship and discussions on the challenges facing the 80-million-member global communion. It is one of the four, so-called Instruments of Unity of the Anglican Communion.
With the 15th Lambeth Conference scheduled this summer, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is seeking to unite the Anglican Communion under common expressions of faith and social engagement, rather than focusing on debates over human sexuality that have divided bishops at past conferences.
“The aim of this conference – which, like all the [Lambeth] conferences, is a very significant moment in the life of the community – is to encourage Anglicans around the world to be looking outwards to the world,” he said in a press conference with conference organizers on June 22. “The church should express its mission and its life of discipleship through engagement with the great challenges that the next 30 or 40 years will impose upon the vast majority of Anglicans, especially those in areas of climate fragility, and political and other fragility.”
The Lambeth Conference, a gathering of bishops from across the Anglican Communion that has taken place about every 10 years since 1867, is being held July 26 to Aug. 8 at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England; Canterbury Cathedral; and Lambeth Palace in London. The conference is one of the three Anglican instruments of communion, in addition to the Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council, the communion’s main policymaking body.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has written to the Primates of Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda to tell them that his invitation to bishops from their provinces to attend the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops remains open. In a joint letter with the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Archbishop Justin said: “God calls us to unity and not to conflict so that the world may know he came from the Father. That is the very purpose of the church globally.”
“Boycotts do not proclaim Christ”, the two Anglican leaders said. “Those who stay away cannot be heard, they will lose influence and the chance of shaping the future. All of us will be the poorer spiritually as a result of your absence.”
His letter was in response to a joint statement issued by the three Primates – Archbishop Henry Ndukuba of Nigeria, Archbishop Laurent Mbanda of Rwanda, and Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba of Uganda – in response to the Communiqué from the Primates’ Meeting at Lambeth Palace, London, in March, which they did not attend.
A South Sudanese bishop who was forced with his family into exile before he was one year old, the Right Revd Anthony Poggo, has been named as the next Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Anthony Poggo, the former Bishop of Kajo-Keji in the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, is currently the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Adviser on Anglican Communion Affairs.
Bishop Anthony was selected for his new role by a sub-committee of the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee following a competitive recruitment process led by external consultants.
He will take up his new role in September, succeeding the Most Revd Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, who steps down after next month’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, which is being held in Canterbury, Kent, from 26 July to 8 August.
The Anglican Communion is the world’s third largest Christian denomination. It comprises 42 independent-yet-interdependent autonomous regional, national and pan-national Churches (provinces), active in more than 165 countries.
In a message filmed recently in Canterbury, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has shared his hopes for a new process of “Lambeth Calls” that will be an important feature of this year’s Lambeth Conference.
The term “Lambeth Calls” is being used for the bishops’ discussions at the conference, and papers which are shared by the bishops during the event to summarize the outcomes of their conversations.
“Lambeth Calls” will be short written statements that include declarations, affirmations and common “calls” to the church and the world that the bishops want to make. Lambeth Calls will relate to the main themes of the conference program and include: mission and evangelism, reconciliation, safe church, the environment and sustainable development, Christian unity, interfaith relations, Anglican identity, human dignity and discipleship.
The intention is to make each of the calls from the conference public and to ensure that there is a process by which the outcomes included in each call can be received and implemented. Member churches will be invited to consider the calls in their own synods and other bodies. It is expected that several themes from the calls will be on the agenda for the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2023.
In line with the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium on the Roman Curia and its service to the Church and to the entire world effective as from 5 June 2022, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has become the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.
It was also on 5 June, Pentecost Sunday, in 1960 that the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity was created by Saint John XXIII as a preparatory commission of the Second Vatican Council, marking the commencement of the official commitment of the Catholic Church to the ecumenical movement. With the Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus of 1988, Saint John Paul II transformed the Secretariat into the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
The Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium establishes that “it is the responsibility of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity to apply appropriate initiatives and activities to the ecumenical commitment, both within the Catholic Church and in relations with other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, to restore unity among Christians” (art.142).