The 2022 Lambeth Conference was an exercise in 'fudge and evasion.'
The once-in-a decade conference that brings together Anglicans from all over the globe to bicker, squabble and agonise over the issue of sexuality is mercifully done and dusted, leaving in its wake mixed opinions, some positive, others scathing.
Beneath the headline “Lambeth 2022: the end of the Anglican Communion?” David Baker, writing this week for Anglican Ink, disagreed with those who claimed that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, had led had “a good” conference, stating instead that Welby’s week was, in reality, “bad.”
Poor man – he has the most impossible job, of course, and struggles with depression, which is a monster. We can all recognise the enormous pressure he must feel, and he seems, whatever else might be said, a sincere and well-meaning man who loves the Lord for sure … But he seems to have lost the plot on sexuality. How else to explain his assertion, in the context of different Anglican churches holding diametrically opposing positions on the issue, that, “We do not… go down the road of expelling other Christians?”
For once, I find myself in agreement with liberal campaigner Jayne Ozanne [above] who wrote on Twitter: ‘I’ve returned from Lambeth Conference with a very heavy heart. It is clear the focus is “unity at all costs”… And she’s right. Unity based on fudge and evasion is no unity at all.
Earlier, Ozanne used Twitter to say things such as Welby “is trying to ride two horses at once, which is impossible. It would be funny if it wasn’t for the fact that one of the horses is trying to trample LGBT+ people underfoot!” and:
I feel deeply angry that yet again priority has been given to saving a man-made institution over protecting LGBT+ people’s lives. Let us be clear that Lambeth 1.10 encourages ‘conversion therapy’. It is a stick with which many will continue to be beaten & suffer around the world.
Welby affirmed that the conference would stick like shit to a shoe with Lambeth 1.10, and this week Anglican bishops, representing 75 per cent of Anglicans across the globe gave an opportunity to all registered bishops at the Lambeth Conference to “reaffirm” Lambeth 1.10 as the “official teaching of the Anglican Communion on marriage and sexuality.”
Among those who attempted to put a positive spin on this ridiculous gathering of superstition-mongers was Archbishop Geoff Smith, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, above:
The Lambeth conference was a very encouraging time where bishops and their spouses from more than 160 countries spent time together, made and renewed friendships and were pointed clearly to the role of the Church—to be God’s Church for God’s world.
Before the conference doomsayers predicted that the differences which exist across the Anglican communion, especially, but not only, around human sexuality, would lead to all kinds of division in the conference.
Actually, that did not happen.
The strong differences in opinion were certainly present, but bishops committed to working and staying together, not ignoring the differences but seeking a unity based not our agreement, but on the fact that we are united to Christ, and therefore with each other.
Should we be concerned over the antics of the C of E?
Yes, we should. Back in 2017, the late George Broadhead, secretary of the Pink Triangle Trust, explained why in response to an op-ed published by Coventry & Warwickshire Humanists, entitled “Are we bovvered? An opinion piece on the almost total irrelevance of the Church of England.“
The C of E is certainly in decline—at least gradual. Statistics of church attendance back this up and the number of non-religious in the population has increased dramatically so that it has now reached about 50% according to the latest British Social Attitudes survey.
However, the Church still maintains its influence especially via the media which remains reverential. For example, if any local tragedy occurs, the person interviewed about it on radio or TV is invariably a local clergyman or woman. The BBC spends a huge amount of licence payers’ money on religious broadcasting, including the propaganda slot Thought for the Day, and local newspapers publish regular comment columns from clergy.
In addition to enjoying the unique privilege of having 26 bishops in the House of Lords as of right (the UK is the only country in Western Europe which grants such a privilege), the C of E has chaplains in the House of Commons, the armed forces, hospitals, prisons, local councils and universities. Yet another privilege is the legal requirement for state schools to hold religious worship (of a mainly Christian character) at their morning assemblies.
This is why I am so pleased that Coventry & Warwickshire Humanists is affiliated to the National Secular Society which challenges these privileges.
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