4 August 2022: This message was received from the Canadian House of Bishops this morning during the 2022 Lambeth Conference.
Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:10
We are writing to you to share our experience of this 15th Lambeth Conference.
The meeting is a holy and transforming gift to meet and to make friends and hear the stories of witness and mission across the whole world. Our experience has been one of joy, friendship, vibrant worship, deep listening, empathy with those parts of the church who experience profound suffering and expanding understandings as we bear one another’s burdens.
We will be returning to our dioceses with a renewed commitment to the Lambeth Calls for Mission and Evangelism, Safe Church, Reconciliation, Human Dignity and Climate Justice as well as those Calls that will be discussed on Hospitality (Christian Unity and Interfaith relationships), and Discipleship.
The Bishops have spent a significant amount of time discussing and sharing these calls in light of our contexts. They have been at the core of the Bible studies as well as the discussions at our table groups. There has been much written in media with regard to the discussion on human dignity in particular.
We were moved by the speech of the Archbishop of Canterbury who spoke directly to the Bishops. While there is deep difference on matters of sexuality, there is a serious commitment to listening and walking together in spite of the differences to the maximum possible degree.
While in some provinces of the Communion same sex blessings/marriages have been the product of careful theological reflection and a process of reception, other provinces of the communion (and within Canada, some dioceses) maintain the traditional definition of marriage, also with careful theological reflection. The Archbishop noted that both hold to Jesus Christ and both take Scripture seriously.
The Archbishop of Canterbury made it clear that he does not have and will not seek the power to exclude or sanction provinces of the Communion who have made changes and the Lambeth I.10 resolution does not require such sanctions.
A powerful witness is the work of the stewards, young adults from around the world—a number of whom are from Canada. A conference of this size could not function without the host of volunteers and staff who have made this possible . They have an energy and joy which compels us toward facing the challenges that this conference has highlighted.
These have been long days with some difficult moments. Thank you for all your prayers. They are sustaining us.