Divisions might see 2018 Anglican Lambeth Conference cancelled

The 2018 Lambeth Conference of the world’s Anglican bishops is in doubt, with speculation it won’t be convened for years.

Based on comments by the presiding bishop of the US Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Irish Times reported the conference had been cancelled.

Bishop Schori said the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was “very clear that he is not going to call a Lambeth until he is reasonably certain that the vast majority of bishops would attend”.

No planning or fundraising has taken place for a 2018 conference, she observed.

One blog reported her saying that the Archbishop of Canterbury had told her that the conference had been cancelled.

The Lambeth Conference, a gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world, traditionally takes place every ten years.

The 2008 conference was marred by a significant boycott over the gay clergy issue, the Irish Times article noted.

Bishop Schori said the next Lambeth Conference “needs to be preceded by a primates meeting at which a vast majority of primates are present”.

As Archbishop Welby “continues his visits around the [Anglican] communion to those primates it’s unlikely that he will call such a meeting at all until at least a year from now or probably 18 months from now”, she said.

“Therefore I think we are looking at 2019, more likely 2020, before a Lambeth Conference.”

But the Virtue OnLine Anglican news service said the blog which broke the story about the Lambeth Conference being cancelled failed to check with Lambeth Palace.

Lambeth spokesman Ed Thornton told VOL the cancellation hasn’t been confirmed yet “and we won’t be commenting at least until primates visits are completed”.

An Anglican bishop subsequently told VOL that the Archbishop of Canterbury may well postpone Lambeth till 2020.

“It is by no means cancelled, it is still too early to say,” the VOL article continued.

“2018 is four years away and anything can happen between now and then.”


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