On Tuesday, the Bishops took part in a plenary session on Reconciliation, as well as the Lambeth Call on the same topic, and the Call on Human Dignity.
The Call on Reconciliation was affirmed by the conference as Bishops shared their commitment to justice, accountability and prayer. There will be a further report on the Reconciliation Call later this week.
Later in the day, during the debate at the Call on Human Dignity, which has been the subject of significant attention inside and outwith the conference, Archbishop Justin Welby referred to Provinces of the Anglican Communion where equal marriages take place, saying: “They have not arrived lightly at their ideas that traditional teaching needs to change. They are not careless about scripture. They do not reject Christ. But they have come to a different view on sexuality after long prayer, deep study and reflection on understandings of human nature.”
He went on to confirm that: “The Call also states that other provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union or marriage, after careful theological reflection and a process of reception. In that way, it states the reality of life in the Communion today.”
Interviewed after the session, Bishop Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, spoke on camera:
In addition the College of Bishops all gave their backing to a joint statement by inclusive Bishops from around the Anglican Communion that read:
“We recognise that many LGBT+ people have been wounded by the Church throughout history, and particularly by the events of the last few weeks. We affirm the holiness of their love in committed relationships wherever it may be found.
“We commit to working with our siblings across the Communion to listen to their stories and understand their contexts, which vary greatly. We will never shy away from opposing discrimination and prejudice against beloved children of God on the basis of their sexualities and gender identities.
“Together, we will proclaim healing and hope to our broken world and pray for the day when the Church will truly welcome, value and affirm all the people of God.”
Towards the start of the day Bishop Kevin Pearson (Glasgow & Galloway) shared that he had spent the morning: “catching up with representatives of the Mothers’ Union. You will have seen on the opening familiarisation day that I had the opportunity to visit the MU stand in the general roadshow. So I was thrilled to find the delegates again yesterday, to speak with them further about their work in Africa and have my photograph taken with them. Their work is so deeply valued by the communities in which they live and work and is so similar to the support offered by our Diocesan Mothers’ Union.”
Bishop Anne Dyer (Aberdeen & Orkney) wrote about the day, reporting that “we spent much of today listening – listening to stories of pain, challenge, and in some cases reconciliation. We have been together long enough now to share some of the things which are great challenges. It is in the sharing for these stories that we have the greatest sense of the enormity of what some bishops face. In addition, each story brings a unique context”.
Bishop Andrew Swift (Brechin) shared on his blog: “I shed some tears as I heard the Archbishop say that he acknowledged progressive churches and their processes of change. I shed more on hearing that no church would be excluded or disciplined. The boundary of our Anglican polity has been extended, and we are back in a place where our careful, theologically principled place on marriage is acknowledged as belonging in the Anglican Communion.”
Bishop Andrew was also interviewed by Bishop Doug Sparks (Northern Indiana, TEC) on the Diocese of Northern Indiana YouTube channel. You can watch the video here.
Bishop John Armes (Edinburgh) reflected that following Archbishop Justin’s speech and the group discussions the conference had arrived at something “not far off the solution we found in Scotland, whereby we live lovingly and respectfully with those who understand marriage differently. This now seems to be the position of the Anglican Communion. And it paved the way for a fruitful discussion around our table in which we shared from the heart. I wish we’d had the opportunity to do this years ago. I think we’ve learned in Scotland, that if you can get people who disagree in a room together amazing things can happen.”
Lambeth Conference Videos & Media
- Conference Highlights Day 6
- Lambeth report on the Call on Reconciliation
- Lambeth report on the Call on Human Dignity
Today at the Conference
Many of the Bishops and Spouses attending the conference are in London for a day of prayer, reflection, and action on the environment and sustainable development.
The bishops will take part in the launch of the Anglican Communion Forest and will also discuss the Lambeth Call on Environment and Sustainable Development.