From across the 165 countries of the Anglican Communion, bishops gathered in Canterbury to pray, study scripture, discuss global challenges and seek God’s direction for the decade ahead.
The Lambeth Conference 2022 was the 15th such global gathering of Anglican bishops in 155 years.
The event was postponed from 2020 because of the Covid 19 pandemic and took place against a backdrop of global uncertainty – including the climate emergency, war and poverty.
Taking as their theme “God’s Church for God’s World”, the bishops spent time praying and studying the Bible together (focussing on the book of 1 Peter) as well as discussing major challenges faced by their global communities – ranging from climate change and scientific progress, to Christian Unity and inter-faith relations.
Bishops spouses played a key role in the Conference, taking part in ‘strengthening sessions’, attending worship and bible studies and gathering together to support one another in their ministry.
The bishops and spouses also travelled to Lambeth Palace for a day themed around reflection and action on the environment.
Bishops from across the globe pledged their support for the Communion Forest, a worldwide environmental initiative set to include tree planting, the creation of wetlands, and coastal restoration projects.
To mark the launch of the Communion Forest, Archbishop Justin planted a symbolic tree during a service in which bishops committed themselves to care for the environment.
The bishops discussed and offered feedback on Lambeth Calls, which considered various issues relating to the Anglican Communion. They will now take the Calls back to their own dioceses to prayerfully reflect, and implement according to their local contexts.
Science and technology was a major theme of the Lambeth Conference. Science and faith will be the focus of a new Anglican Communion Science Commission, co-Chaired by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Bishop Steven Croft. The Anglican Communion Science Commission is being coordinated by Professor Andrew Briggs of Oxford University and the Revd Dr Stephen Spencer on behalf of the Anglican Communion Office.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is inviting representatives from every Province of the Anglican Communion to take part. Read more here.
Bishops joined in the Lord’s Prayer in their own language during a moving Opening service for the 15th Lambeth Conference.
Music, prayers and readings were also heard in Maori, Bengali, Zulu, Cantonese and Shona as well as French, Spanish and English in a service livestreamed to a global audience.
The Bishop of Lesotho, The Right Revd Dr Vicentia Kgabe, delivering the sermon, spoke of how the Anglican Communion is “called to practise hospitality and to serve” in a world experiencing “serious pain and strife.”
During the service, a new primatial cross was presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Archbishop of Alexandria and Bishop of Egypt, the Most Revd Samy Shehata, in the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, one of the ecumenical guests at the service.
The Archbishop of Canterbury prayed at the start of the service that the Lambeth Conference would bring the bishops into deeper understanding of one another and deeper love for the world.
At the Closing Service, the bishops, their spouses and the wider Conference community reaffirmed their faith in God, sharing in Holy Communion and saying the Lord’s Prayer in many different languages. The Archbishop of Canterbury preached, urging those present to be courageous, ‘for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you his kingdom’ (Luke 12:32).
The Conference will now enter Phase Three, when the outcomes from the bishops’ conversations will be shared and further actions taken around the Anglican Communion.
Find out more about the Conference at the Lambeth Conference website.