Lambeth 2022 and a hurtful snub

(Photo: Lambeth Conference)

In what can only be seen as an intentional slight, Archbishop Justin Welby, has dismissed offhand the reality of the division within the Anglican Communion.

On Thursday evening, a meeting of bishops representing 75 per cent of the Anglican Communion affirmed a carefully written 11-page Communiqué proposed by senior Archbishops.

The document was handed to journalists, including at least one member of the Lambeth Conference team, at a press conference on Friday afternoon.

The message could not have been clearer:

"5.5 Our willingness as orthodox Bishops to attend this Conference does not mean that we have agreed to 'walk together' with the revisionist Primates and Bishops in the Anglican Communion."

Archbishop Justin Badi, the Chairman of the GSFA, has also been clear.

"Today in Canterbury, we may be 'gathered together', but we most certainly cannot 'walk together' until provinces which have gone against Scripture - and the will of the consensus of the bishops - repent and return to orthodoxy," he said in a statement.

"A communion is where you have one belief, one doctrine and here there is an issue where there are two different doctrines. How can you walk together?" he added later in comments to reporters.

At the final press conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury was asked a simple, if direct, question, "Your Grace - do you accept that the GSFA have said that they are not walking together with those who do not abide by Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998)?

Having first cast doubt on whether the GSFA had said such things, Archbishop Justin Welby, said, "I have to confess to not reading with remorseless interest every press release that is put out by every group connected to the Anglican Communion, because that would be quite a lengthy undertaking, I'd probably never get anything else done. But I did look at that one and um, err, it's what it says."

It was rather hurtful that the Archbishop, having dismissed 75 per cent of the Anglican Communion as just another "group connected to the Anglican Communion" and insinuating that the communiqué itself was not worth his time, then went on to question the meaning of the term 'walking together', and to once again challenge whether anyone of any importance really meant to say that they were "not walking together at all".

In 2014, the Archbishop of Canterbury told General Synod that, "There is a prize, the quest for which it is worth almost anything to achieve. That prize is visible unity in Christ, despite functional diversity."

It seems that in order to maintain the narrative that the Anglican Communion is "God's Church for God's World - walking, listening and witnessing together", the Archbishop of Canterbury is prepared to ignore those who disagree.

It is, in effect, unity at the expense of Anglicans whose only fault, it seems, is to have remained faithful to Scripture. Is that really a price worth paying?