The 22 bishops present considered the cumulative experience of this consultation since it first met in London in 2010. Growing organically from 12 in the first gathering, some 49 bishops have now been involved in the process. We remain entirely committed to this vital work with one another, as we are convinced of the unique productivity and value of our gathering. We considered how our configuration could best facilitate our conversations as we look to the next Lambeth Conference. We heard a report on the evolving plans for Lambeth 2020. We identified biblical, theological and pastoral roles of testimony and how it is vital both to the life of the church and the effective proclamation of the gospel in each of our dioceses.
We recognized much we have valued in the dialogues, which have changed our ministries and our lives:
A new understanding of the Anglican Communion has led to renewed commitment to its flourishing.
Myths and stereotypes, misunderstandings and propaganda have been broken down. It is clear we have so much more in common than the issues that divide us and threaten our unity at this time.
It has been important to visit local church ministries and worship in local parishes. We have learned how others are engaged in the work of building up the church and in living the Gospel. We have learned new ways to engage mission.
There have been surprises:
Listening first hand to someone is very different from reading about each other.
In spite of our differences there has been mutual respect, deep friendship, hard-won growth of trust and deep commitment to one another and to this dialogue.
There is a personal cost in embracing the other, but much enrichment, and this has led to a fuller articulation of our own identity and stronger commitment to our common faith in Christ Jesus.
In our roles as bishops, in very different contexts, we share many similar concerns.
There is unity in the Anglican Communion’s diversity.
God brings about our own transformation through loving relationships, and this has happened to us in the course of these dialogues.