In final Lambeth address, Archbishop of Canterbury calls on church to tell, teach and transform – Episcopal News Service


Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivers his third and final keynote address at the 2022 Lambeth Conference on August 7. Photo: Neil Turner/For Lambeth Conference

[Episcopal News Service – Canterbury, England] In his third and final keynote address on 15e At the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called on the church “to speak, teach and transform in meeting human need”, bringing back the theme of the conference, “God’s Church for God’s World”.

“The United Church is not just a help to the world; it is the sign of salvation to the transformation of the world. The humble and hospitable, generous and loving church is not only a nice thing to have in society; it points to the kingdom of heaven,” Welby said Aug. 7 at the University of Kent, the site of the conference.

The church is not just another non-governmental organization, but “God’s chosen means of bringing light into the darkness”, he said. Welby emphasized evangelism, training and discipleship, focusing on the calling of bishops to lead God’s church, which exists for the salvation of God’s world, throughout its lifetime. final speech.

It is in times of darkness that churches meet the challenges of the world and grow, and their members must be educated in the scriptures and extrapolate them to the world.

“The strength of many churches growing — getting deeper and growing in numbers — is that everyone knows the gospel and can say something about their own testimony of their love and encounter with Jesus Christ,” Welby said. “They may not be eloquent, their theology may be a bit crude, but when they speak from the heart, others listen and their transformed lives exemplify their words.

“It is essential in all the churches of the communion that everyone understands himself as a witness because he is baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit.”

More than 650 bishops from across the Anglican Communion gathered July 26 at the University of Kent, just outside the city center, for the 12-day conference. Welby will address the conference one last time when he preaches at the closing Eucharist, scheduled for 10 a.m. Eastern Time and streamed live on the Anglican Communion YouTube channel.

The office of Archbishop of Canterbury is one of four instruments of communion, as is the Lambeth Conference, which is usually held every 10 years. Installed in March 2013, Welby is 105e appointed man in office.

At this Lambeth Conference, the discussion centered on the “Lambeth Calls”, draft documents on 10 topics which were intended to initiate discussion among the Bishops and propose action to be taken when they return to their provinces and dioceses after the conference. The appeals focused on mission and evangelism, discipleship, environment and sustainable development, reconciliation and human dignity.

Despite Welby and organizers’ intentions to keep discussions focused on the theme of the conference, long-running disputes over human sexuality began to simmer before the conference even began as conservatives sought to affirm a passed resolution. by the bishops attending the 1998 Lambeth Conference which condemns the same sex. marriage and all sexual relations outside marriage between a man and a woman. But by the seventh day of the conference, Welby had managed to ease some of the tension by elevating traditional and progressive beliefs about marriage.

Although deep divisions remain on issues of human sexuality across the communion, which spans 165 countries, many Anglican and Episcopal bishops have concluded their time in Canterbury on a more optimistic note, looking towards unity despite lingering differences.

Christians, he said, are called to reconciliation and to be reconcilers, even as the Church sometimes “coughs and totters” in the darkness of the world “in fear of the future.” How, he asked, should the church act in relation?

“That’s the first and greatest call, the one we haven’t listed, but it’s the greatest call because it’s the scriptural call. And through these weeks of calls and conversations, this week was not intended to be, but became, a time of intense ecclesiological development, reflection and reflection for the Anglican Communion.

“We are a communion of Catholic and Reformed churches, self-governing and interdependent, and we must respect the principles of both.”

The Scriptures, he said, form the “heart” of the Reformed tradition, and the Catholic tradition not only remains faithful to the historic episcopate, but recognizes membership in a worldwide church and upholds the principles of organization social and educational.

“Autonomy is an expression of subsidiarity, the principle of Catholic social teaching that we must always work at the most local level possible.”

Throughout the conference, and particularly when the organizers decided to eliminate voting on appeals, delegates were reminded that the Lambeth Conference is not a legislative body and has no no longer binding authority.

In addition to the 10 Lambeth Appeals, on August 6, the last working day of the conference, the primates continued the tradition of issuing “statements of support” for areas of the Anglican Communion that face particular unrest. Distinct from the Lambeth Appeals, which recommend action, the declarations bear witness to crises around the world – particularly those affecting Anglican provinces – and send prayers for peace and resolution.

Statements range from the need to address gun violence in the United States to the climate crisis to peace in Israel and Palestine and the global refugee crisis. In his final address, Welby made it clear that church leaders must be courageous and use their voice to stand up to governments.

“It’s not the church that gets involved in politics; it is the church that gets involved in God,” he said to applause.

“Too often all churches, not just Anglicans, have been dragged into supporting governments complicit in injustice and maintaining oppression at all levels. Standing up against oppression is scary because it is expensive and many of you know that so well,” Welby said.

“We don’t like governments to speak forcefully against us or do worse than that… yet we have to speak. To be silent about the climate emergency…about the unethical treatment of migrants or about war and oppression, about the violation of human rights, about persecution is to be one of the oppressors .

Due to the pandemic, the 15th Lambeth Conference took place in several phases: Phase 1, or the listening phase, took place in the year before the conference. Phase 2 was the conference itself. And Phase 3, which will be led by South Sudanese Bishop Anthony Poggo, the new General Secretary of the Anglican Communion, will take place over the next two years, aiming to further deepen understanding, build relationships and learn one another.

“This is not an action list; it is a relational approach. But we will aim to see how we can put into practice, contextually, in our region, in the right way, the things that we have agreed on…”, said Welby. “[It] will allow us to pray for each other, but above all, it will lead us to turn outward, to go outward; it will allow our relationships to draw us towards more holiness and unity.

-Lynette Wilson is the editor of Episcopal News Service. She can be reached at [email protected].

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