Same-sex marriage controversy erupts pre-Lambeth

Lambeth Palace, London, one of the sites of the Lambeth Conference. Photo: Lambeth Conference/Neil Turner
By on July 25, 2022

This story will be updated with new material.

Updated 2:45 p.m., July 26

A draft Lambeth Conference statement reaffirming a 1998 resolution that describes marriage as the union of a man and a woman has been revised, with the resolution now mentioned but not explicitly reaffirmed.

On Tuesday, Lambeth Conference staff published a new version of the Lambeth Calls, with several revisions, including the removal of the call to reaffirm 1998’s controversial resolution I.10 on same-sex marriage. The new version also contains a paragraph which notes that some provinces in the church continue to affirm that same-sex marriage is not permissible, while others “have blessed and welcomed it,” concluding, “As bishops we remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues.” The original version of the Call on Human Dignity appeared last Friday in a study guide to a series of statements or “calls” drafted in advance of the conference.

Multiple bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada as well as sister churches in the Anglican Communion had released statements and posted on social media to register their displeasure with last Friday’s version of the call, which contained a clause calling the church to re-affirm Resolution I.10 from 1998’s Lambeth Conference. That resolution, among other things, states that the conference of bishops “upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union” and “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.”

“I was extremely disappointed to see in the resolution about Human Dignity that there is a call to reaffirm Lambeth Resolution I.10,” wrote Stephen London, bishop of the diocese of Edmonton. “This goes against what I thought we were doing in speaking where we find we have a common mind as a communion. It is clear that there is no common mind on this issue.”

In a Facebook post, Kevin Robertson, regional bishop of York-Scarborough in the diocese of Toronto and a member of the committee that drew up the call, wrote he found it “disturbing” that as a member of that group, he “never agreed to this Call in its current form.

“I can confidently say that the Human Dignity Call in its current form does not represent the mind of the drafting group, and I distance myself from the reaffirmation of Lambeth I.10 in the strongest possible ways,” wrote Robertson.

Late Monday, Bishop Tim Thornton, Chair of the Lambeth Calls Subgroup also announced that when the Calls are discussed during the Lambeth conference, bishops would have the option to vote that the calls do speak for them, do not speak for them or require further discernment.

The Journal has approached Archbishop Howard Gregory, Primate of the Church of the Province in the West Indies & Bishop of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands, who led the drafting group on the call for human dignity, but has not yet heard back for comment.

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  • Sean Frankling’s experience includes newspaper reporting as well as writing for video and podcast media. He’s been chasing stories since his first co-op for Toronto’s Gleaner Community Press at age 19. He studied journalism at Carleton University and has written for the Toronto Star, WatchMojo and other outlets.

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