Malawi Anglicans won’t boycott Lambeth

Published July 9, 2008

The Anglican church in Malawi says it will attend the forthcoming Lambeth Conference in England, despite many African church leaders saying they will shun it. The leader of the church in the central African nation said he does not believe in boycotts, rather contact and dialogue. “They have a right to choose to go to the conference or not,” the Bishop of Southern Malawi, James Tengatenga was quoted as saying in the The Nation newspaper on July 6. “It is always good to sit at the table and talk. They have made their choice.”A number of African delegations have said they will not be going to the 20-day long Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, which begins on July 16.. The conference is held every 10 years and gathers the bishops of the 77-million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion. Those boycotting the meeting say they are doing so because of the presence of leaders of the US Episcopal (Anglican) Church, which in 2003 consecrated an openly gay man as a bishop. This triggered the ire of many Anglican bishops mainly in Africa and Asia, because of their strong belief that the Bible says homosexuality is incompatible with Christianity.Bishop Tengatenga, however, told the The Nation he had been planning to attend the Lambeth conference for the past five years and would not miss it. According to media reports, 250 bishops, mainly from Africa, have snubbed an invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to attend the conference. Some prominent bishops from other regions like the Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the bishop of Rochester in England, have also said publicly they will not attend the conference. Issues on the agenda of the Lambeth Conference include how the church deals with HIV and AIDS. A report by the British-based Christian Aid international development agency is expected to be released highlighting, the HIV situation in Sudan.Other topics are the UN Millennium Development Goals to reduce global poverty, ethical/green living, Anglican identity and covenant, and relationships with people of other faiths. On 22 July there will be a workshop entitled “Never say no’ to media: Engaging with the media to build inter faith relations.”According to Bishop Tengatenga, who is a member of the conference design group, the meeting seeks to sharpen the theological and pastoral skills of church leaders as well as providing a platform for bishops to meet and engage in fellowship.


Keep on reading

Skip to content