The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has announced that the next Lambeth Conference is to be held in Canterbury, about 88 km east of London, in the summer of 2008.
The choice of venue and date for the next conference followed a meeting between Archbishop Williams and the Lambeth Conference Design Group, an international panel of advisers chaired by Archbishop Ellison Pogo of Melanesia. The group reported on its examination of options both for the conference and possible associated events, including a review of financial and logistical considerations. The Design Group recommended Canterbury as the conference venue for 2008.
The decision cancels tentative plans to hold Lambeth 2008 in Cape Town. Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town had proposed holding the conference there and the 38 Anglican primates, or senior bishops, had endorsed the idea at a spring meeting in 2003.
The Lambeth Conference, which draws together Anglican Communion bishops from around the globe, is convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury normally once a decade. The last conference took place in 1998. Some 750 bishops from about 540 Anglican dioceses attended. The city of Canterbury has been the venue for the last three conferences. The conference takes its name from the first meeting, which was convened at Lambeth Palace in Great Britain in 1867. The 2008 conference will be the fourteenth such gathering.
There was no immediate word on whether there would be, in conjunction with the Lambeth meeting of bishops, an Anglican “congress” that would include laity as well as clergy. The idea was proposed by Archbishop Williams’ predecessor, George Carey, and endorsed by the Anglican Consultative Council in 1999.