Conference manager gives bishops a preview of 2008 Lambeth meeting

Published December 1, 2006

Conference manager Sue Parks told Canadian bishops and national staff that Lambeth 2008 will be less legislative than before.

Mississauga, Ont.
Canadian bishops said they want to focus on relationships at the next Lambeth Conference, the decennial meeting of the world’s Anglican bishops, which will be held in Canterbury, England at the University of Kent from July 16 to Aug. 4, 2008.

Sue Parks, conference manager, joined the bishops and outlined the schedule and logistics for attendees, noting that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has directed that there be fewer legislative-style plenary sessions and resolutions. The last Lambeth Conference, in 1998, saw vitriolic debate on the issue of homosexuality and the passage of a resolution that declared homosexuality “incompatible with Scripture,” but also committed the church to listen to the experiences of gay people.

This conference will be modeled on a South African concept called indaba, which means a discussion and listening group, she said. Bishops will meet in groups of 40 or 50 to help give voice to those who aren’t comfortable with parliamentary procedure. About 800 bishops are expected to attend.

Ms. Parks, who has visited seven countries to ask bishops what they would like out of Lambeth, said her consultations have demonstrated that bishops do not want a legislative-style meeting.

“We need to talk about Islam, particularly in Nigeria. We need to be brought up to speed on the Sudan and genocide across the globe. We need a face-to-face conversation with those who think we are the enemy (concerning sexuality issues),” said Bishop Matthews. Canada should also be telling its story, said Bishop Patrick Yu, suffragan of Toronto. “We have stories to tell about our ecumenical links, external and internal. Also, Scripture is a huge resource and a huge source of conflict. How do we use Scripture?” he said.

Bishop Derek Hoskins of Calgary said he sought to discuss “questions regarding the role of laity and how decisions are made synodically.”


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