Lambeth Conference won't look like past gatherings, design team member predicts

The Lambeth Conference 2008 will be a significantly different gathering from the 1998 and 1988 sessions of the once-a-decade meeting of the bishops of the Anglican Communion, according to a member of the Conference’s design team.

The design for Lambeth 2008 “is not driven by production of reports and enabling resolutions building out of the reports, and that’s a significant departure from previous designs,” the Rev. Dr. Ian T. Douglas, a member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council and of its delegation to the Anglican Consultative Council, told the Episcopal News Service. “The focus here is on transformation, the building of communion and the engagement with each other, the goal of which is to equip the bishops to be more effective and faithful servants to the ‘Missio Dei’ [God’s mission].”

The 2008 Conference has been in the news this week since the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, announced May 22 that a small number of bishops have not been invited to attend.

New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson and Martyn Minns — the latter chosen by the Anglican Church of Nigeria to be the “missionary bishop” for its Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) — were among the bishops whom Williams did not invite. Only serving diocesan bishops, suffragans and assistants, as opposed to retired bishops, were invited.

Douglas was first named to the Conference’s eight-person design group when the intention was to have both the Lambeth Conference and an “Anglican Gathering” at the same time in South Africa. Budget issues forced the postponement of the gathering and movement of the Lambeth Conference back to England, Douglas told the Executive Council in November 2006.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Lambeth 2008

11 comments on “Lambeth Conference won't look like past gatherings, design team member predicts

  1. Hakkatan says:

    Sounds like a jamboree to me.

    Those who control the process will control the outcome. If the orthodox bishops come, they will need to either seize control of the agenda, or be prepared to hear a lot of interesting, but not necessarily needful, things.

    If there are no resolutions at Lambeth ’08, I believe it will be the first Lambeth Conference without resolutions. Those who control the machinery of the Communion do not appear to like the way resolutions have been trending.

    If the clergy and bishops were to concentrate on creedal Christianity , on Scripture (understood as the inspired and authoritive Word of God), and on Jesus as the only Savior, there would be no need to have all these fancy “listening to each other” groups to get to understand each other — for the bishops at the Conference would have a common Gospel and a common faith to share and to proclaim.

  2. David+ says:

    Those who have planned the agenda for Lambeth ’08 are part of the liberal west who surely don’t want Lambeth passing or affirming anything that the Communion would one day be called on to actually believe. That would be a serious blow to their mistaken belief that Anglicanism historically has been a church in which you can believe anything or nothing at all and still be good members.

  3. Chris says:

    “The focus here is on transformation…..”

    Well, there might be some agreement from the reasserter side with Dr. Douglas on that point….

  4. Irenaeus says:

    “Lambeth Conference won’t look like past gatherings”

    As the Church of Uganda has rightly made clear.

  5. Vintner says:

    Irenaeus beat me to it. If Akinola, Orombi, and a handful of ultra-liberal bishops from the US don’t come, it certainly won’t look like past gatherings. Can’t really say that I think it’s a bad thing at this point.

  6. Fred says:

    The Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas is dreaming if he thinks his definition above is really what Lambeth ’08 will be about. It will be about who’s in and who’s out. Who’s coming and who’s staying home. It will be an embarrassment to Christianity and Chris Hitchens will be absolutely justified in making fun of the hypocracy of Christians who claim to love one another.

  7. plainsheretic says:

    I think it is important to know who makes up the design group before accusations and typed attacks are made against that same group. To say they are ECUSA minions is a rather bold, and most likely inaccurate statement:

    For the 2008 Lambeth Conference the members of the Design Group are:

    The Most Revd Sir Ellison Pogo, KBE (Chair) Archbishop of Melanesia & Bishop of Central Melanesia, Church of Melanesia

    The Most Revd Ian Ernest, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean & Bishop of Mauritius, Province of the Indian Ocean

    The Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, OBE Bishop of Dorchester, Church of England

    The Rt Revd Thabo Makgoba , Bishop of Grahamstown, CPSA

    The Rt Revd Miguel Tamayo , Bishop of Uruguay, Province of the Southern Cone, Interim Bishop of Cuba

    The Rt Revd James Tengatenga , Bishop of Southern Malawi, Province of Central Africa

    The Revd Dr Ian Douglas, ECUSA

    Ms Fung-Yi Wong , Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui

  8. Crazy Horse says:

    The way these things go–the consultant is in charge of the outcome of these sorts of meetings…everyone that reads this site has seen how all this happens.

  9. The_Elves says:

    Can our readers help us know who’s who on the above list of Lambeth Design Team members? Of that list I know a fair bit about three: ++Ian Ernest, Primate of Indian Ocean and +Miguel Tamayo, to my knowledge are reasserters.
    Ian Douglas is certainly a very outspoken reappraiser.
    What about the rest?
    I seem to recall reading something that made me think +Tengatenga is probably from the pretty liberal end of the spectrum of Global South clergy & bishops.

  10. robroy says:

    The word “ndaba” is Zulu, which Douglas said can be translated as a gathering for conversation for the sake of conversation.

    I found this interesting article that accurately describes this activity. I noticed that there is a comparable British term described here that is supposedly similar. Perhaps, Pageantmaster or MerseyMike can explain the nuances of the later term.

    Seriously, ABp Orombi says the Lambeth meeting says it is a big cost to their province, and they are going to shoot the bull? However, one has to recall that ABC said about the DeS meeting that the TEc would only occupy several hours of the agenda.

  11. naab00 says:

    #9 Elves, yes this would be useful. But also, even if the majority of the committee have reasserting leanings, it need not actually mean anything “good” of course – since the way that the communion officials manipulate proceedings and agendas can mean that any evangelical influence is totally negated. The sooner the GS fulfil their intention to drive the agenda themselves, whether through this committee and process or through something else, the better.

    Clearly the western liberals are terrified of their impending loss of control. But they must not be allowed to obstruct the work of the gospel!