Disciples of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land,
Greetings in the One who forms and shapes us into the Body.
I am taking this opportunity to briefly speak to you about the work of the Lambeth Conference and how that applies to our diocese. While Lambeth Calls, (our shared affirmations and declarations), were physically central to the function and content of our time in session, our gathered community was so much more than a meeting of the minds. The intention of the Lambeth 2022 was never to make binding decisions, because it does not have the authority to do so. Lambeth 2022 endeavoured to test the gathered community on the priority and texture of issues, ministries and missions of the Anglican Communion. While the Canadian Bishops found it difficult to process the content using the Lambeth voting processes, but our opinions regarding those process were heard and given due consideration. Some members of the secular press provided the public with provocative yet erroneous headlines which caused concern and confusion amongst the gathered community, but utter frustration and anger among many lay and ordained people through the communion. This is a fact of who we are now, and we must carefully navigate high-roads while immersed in media games. I wish to be absolutely clear, the gathered community while in sessions did not vote to affirm Lambeth 1998 1.10, a posture of the 1998 conference that does not allow marriage beyond that of a man and a woman. The Archbishop of Canterbury did, however, pronounce that neither he nor the conference had any authority to level sanctions against any Province not in compliance with 1.10.
I am afraid that the story in the press, especially British tabloids have made the Church appear as fools, out of touch with northern hemisphere people and ideals, and horribly divided among its members. That is really disappointing, as that was never the story or feeling in our gatherings. A spirit of genuine collegiality and mutual support was clearly the vibe of plenaries, seminars, studies, meal times, and wonderfully in our free networking time. Genuine relationships have formed, they have informed all areas of our common work, especially when dealing with the Calls. With a heightened sense of respect and eagerness Calls were addressed, reshaped in some instances, and given birth as aspirations of the Church. Evangelism and Mission, Discipleship, Church and Science, Safe Church, Reconciliation, Human Dignity, Christian Unity and Inter-Faith relations captured our attention and imagination, we spent many hours in seminars, study and reflection getting a good handle on these Calls, all the while building strong and communicative relationships. The Diocese of Rupert’s Land reflects a lot of what all the Calls represent in our work with which we are presently engaged, however, Lambeth Calls regarding Discipleship, Reconciliation and the Environment particularly link us intimately with the rest of the Church as we yearn for a healthy Church and world.
Worship, prayer and reflection were at the centre of all tasks and gatherings, we were rooted in God, with the Gospel always before us. I think the Canadian House of Bishops has become much closer to one another in this concentrated time and effort, I have tremendous respect not only for them, but more so for the Churches they serve. We are all very tired coming away from the Lambeth, but most if not all are grateful for the opportunity to learn, yearn and grow together. The Church is fractured, we are all broken, we are all sinners, but that is whom God has called forward for this moment. I ask that the Diocese of Rupert’s Land remain in prayerful concern for the world in need, the ministry and mission with which we are committed to fulfill, and most importantly that we be equipped/resourced to “do all in our power to support other disciples in their life in Christ.”
God, bless and keep us. Pour out your spirit upon us, that we might faithfully live-out our baptism, each in our unique context, and enable us to make a compelling case for Christ in word and action to a world so encumbered with suffering; this we ask in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.