Lambeth 2022: a call to reaffirm traditional marriage and sexuality is proving to be the cat among the pigeons by Julian Mann for Christian Today
With an almighty row looming over sexual morality, the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops worldwide looks set to make the recent ructions in the Conservative Party look like a teddy bears’ picnic at the vicarage.
Orthodox bishops involved in planning Lambeth 2022 have somehow succeeded in getting a reaffirmation of Lambeth Resolution 1.10, which the 1998 conference passed ‘rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture’, on the agenda for the conference taking place in Canterbury from July 26 to August 8.
The bombshell is there in the ‘Lambeth Call on Human Dignity’, due to be debated by 650 bishops from the Anglican Communion’s member churches (or provinces) across around 160 countries.
Previous Lambeth Conferences passed resolutions but Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is hosting the conference, has replaced them with Lambeth Calls to reflect the fact that whatever the attending bishops vote for is not binding on the Anglican Communion’s 42 self-governing provinces.
In the Lambeth Calls Study Document circulated to the bishops, the section on human dignity as currently drafted has them calling for “the reaffirmation of Lambeth 1:10 that upholds marriage as between a man and a woman and requires deeper work to uphold the dignity and witness of LGBTQ Anglicans”.
But the most controversial part of the Call appears in one of its affirmations: “It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that same gender marriage is not permissible. Lambeth Resolution I.10 (1998) states that the ‘legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions’ cannot be advised. It is the mind of the Communion to uphold ‘faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union’.”
When the story of ‘Lambeth 1.10 Hasta la vista, baby’ broke last week, the bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), which allows same-sex marriages, were quick on the draw with a statement: “Human Dignity features as one of the topics, the call for which includes a reaffirmation of the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution I.10 and defines marriage as permissible only between a man and woman. The wording of that call does not represent the position of the Scottish Episcopal Church as reflected in the Church’s Canons, which recognises that there are differing understandings of marriage in the SEC.”