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Dear sisters and brothers,
The Lambeth Conference happens once in every decade at Canterbury. Lambeth 2022, delayed by Covid, is taking place from 26 July to 7 August, and I am looking forward to being among the 650 bishops gathering from all around the Anglican Communion.
You can find a great deal of information, including links to the Conference timetable and other documents, at https://www.lambethconference.org
SEC Communications will be providing regular news via the SEC website and Facebook page, and I will be posting thoughts and news during the 2 weeks of the Conference on our own Diocesan Facebook page. And at our Diocesan ‘Global Gathering’ at St Ninian’s Cathedral on the afternoon of Sunday 4th September I will be reporting about the Conference, and hope that our partner Bishops from Amazonia and Calcutta will join us by video link.
The Conference is being asked to debate a series of ‘Calls’ (rather than ‘Resolutions’). The Study Guide containing the drafts, only sent to delegates this week, can be seen here. Most of the suggested ‘Calls’ will gain much support from me and the other Scottish Bishops - particularly the Call on ‘Environment and Sustainable Development’ (p 37).
However, the Call on ‘Human Dignity’ (p 31) will not find support from everyone, especially from me or the other Scottish Bishops and many others. The draft ‘Call’ includes the statement, “We call for … a reaffirmation of Lambeth I.10 that upholds marriage as between a man and a woman and requires deeper work to uphold the dignity and witness of LGBTQ Anglicans,” and “It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that same gender marriage is not permissible.” Lambeth I.10 refers to the Lambeth Conference of 1998 which led to confrontation between those who supported LGBT+ rights in the Church and those who rejected them. The draft ‘Call’ to reaffirm this flies in the face of the journey towards LGBT+ inclusion and human rights, and our own SEC position that affirms equal marriage and respects conscience.
The Conference will debate this draft ‘Call,’ and Bishops from the SEC will join those from other Provinces who seek to persuade the Conference not to adopt such a divisive ‘Call,’ but to amend the final version. Even if passed by a majority at Lambeth, this is a ‘Call’, not a Resolution, no Province will be bound by it, and the SEC’s settled position on inclusion and equal marriage is not going to change. But for Lambeth to issue such a ‘Call’ would give an impression of an Anglican Communion still out of touch with the lives of LGBT+ people.
It will make a great difference to know that you and people across our church are praying with and for us and the other Bishops gathered at Canterbury. You will find the Prayer Guide for the Lambeth Conference here. Please pray for all the Bishops at Lambeth 2022 and for the Anglican Communion.
With warm regards,