As Justin Welby puts it, the Lambeth Conference proved that “disagreement without hostility” is possible.
The Lambeth Conference, held once every decade, was deemed a success by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Most Reverend Justin Welby, writing in the Church Times, reflected on the conference as “a succession of wonderful shocks and demonstrations of God’s generous activity,” which served to remind him that “the Church is based first and foremost on the grace of God, expressed in honest relationships.”
In his letter to the conference participants, Archbishop Justin emphasized the need of being open and honest about personal struggles, particularly those relating to sexuality.
There was “a moment of annoyance,” he said, because of the Human Dignity call situation.
In spite of “deep disagreement” and “a variety of perspectives” among the Anglican provinces, he added, “we remained committed to hearing and walking together to the utmost possible degree.”
It was quite evident in the days leading up to that meeting that we disagreed deeply on these issues.
Although they had strong disputes, “with the grace of God we walked in the light” and dedicated ourselves to hearing and walking together to the greatest extent possible, he said.
A number of additional objectives, including pledges to take action on mission and evangelism, reconciliation, climate change, and safeguarding, were also met.
There were “indications of where the Holy Spirit” could be directing the Anglican Communion in the next years, particularly in matters of ecclesiology, as he recognized throughout the meeting. Separately, he said, there was a reawakening of religion that centered on issues like as interfaith unity, the primacy of local church, and global justice.
In his closing remarks, Archbishop Justin said, “I BELIEVE the Conference was a success: not because it produced a great outburst of agreement, but because it showed, in a very fractured world, that disagreement without hatred is possible, diversity is a gain, not a problem, and that we can find greater organic unity if we look outwards and give ourselves to the missio dei.
And most importantly, in the face of Christ we rediscover the love of God after 14 years in which global catastrophes have struck with remorseless regularity for all of us.