The Archbishop of Canterbury has agreed to execute a letter stating the official position of the Anglican Communion on human sexuality is given in the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution 1.10. The letter is the fruit of on-going negotiations between the Most Rev. Justin Welby and the primates representing the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans, who comprise approximately 257 of the 650 bishops present at the 2022 Lambeth Conference meeting at the University of Kent in Canterbury.
Sources close to the conference organizers, who asked not to be identified as they were not authorized to speak on its behalf, tell Anglican.Ink Archbishop Welby met with at least seven primates representing the Global South Anglican Fellowship (GSFA) on the evening of 30 July 2022.
The meeting, which was delayed by the archbishop’s office at least four times from its originally scheduled time on Friday, had been requested by the GSFA primates to present their request that they be allowed to address the conference on Monday and ask the gathered bishops to re-affirm Lambeth 1.10.
The Lambeth Calls process as it is currently structured does not permit debate or ammendment. The bishops are to discuss the call document and associated questions in small table groups. The substance of their conversation is recorded by a secretary-bishop at each table. A sampling of the table summaries will be shared with the wider conference, while each table summary will be shared in the post-conference discussions. The bishops are then asked to vote via an electronic hand held-device in one of three ways.
- This Call speaks for me. I add my voice to it and commit myself to take the action I can to implement it.’
- ‘This Call requires further discernment. I commit my voice to the ongoing process.’
- ‘This Call does not speak for me. I do not add my voice to this Call.’
The results of the vote are then shared in the aggregate – how individual bishops vote on each call is not shared with the conference.
At their meeting with Archbishop Welby, the GSFA primates asked for a five minute break in the Anglican Identity call on 1 Aug 2022 to present their case to the conference as to why Lambeth 1.10 should be reaffirmed. The Most Rev. Justin Badi Arama, chairman of the GSFA, told a press conference on Friday: “Our decision to [offer] our own Lambeth 1.10 resolution comes after extensive requests to the Archbishop of Canterbury for a stand-alone resolution.”
The presenting issue was not homosexuality, sex or marriage “but fundamentally about the authority of the Bible which Anglicans believe to be central to faith and order,” the South Sudanese archbishop told reporters.
Archbishop Welby told the primates it was not necessary to reaffirm Lambeth 1.10 and offered instead to prepare a document the GSFA primates could take back to their churches that said Lambeth 1.10 was the “official” teaching of the Anglican Communion. Left unsaid by Archbishop Welby was whether he too believed Lambeth 1.10 to be the right and proper expression of Anglican sexual ethics.
The primates thanked the archbishop for his offer and accepted the gift of the letter, but requested that they still be allowed to present their case to the conference. They further asked that a list of all those registered and present at the conference be published, and that the results of the voting by each participant be made public.
By George Conger