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.