Will a lunchtime of letters at Lambeth save the Anglican Communion?

(Photo: Lambeth Conference)

In a last ditch attempt to reduce the tensions in the Anglican Communion the Archbishop of Canterbury has written to all the bishops.

In his letter he sets out the controversy as he sees it and says that he writes "to affirm that the validity of the resolution passed at the Lambeth Conference 1998, 1:10 is not in doubt and that whole resolution is still in existence."

Referring to the text of the Call that the bishops will vote on this afternoon, he says, "The Call states that many Provinces – and I think we need to acknowledge it's the majority – continue to affirm that same-gender marriage is not permissible.

"The Call also states that other provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union/marriage, after careful theological reflection and a process of reception."

Once again the Archbishop of Canterbury repeats the mantra, "As Bishops we remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues."

This is unlikely to satisfy the Global South Fellowship of Anglicans (GSFA), who have put out their own Call this lunchtime. 

The GSFA Call begins, "The prophet Jeremiah declares that the leaders of his day 'have healed the wound of my people lightly' (Jer. 6:14, 8:11). It is a warning for our day too.

"We stand at a crossroads, and must 'ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it.' (Jer. 6:16).

"The only basis for our walking together is to submit ourselves again to the sovereign authority of Holy Scripture in loyalty to the Anglican tradition and its formularies."

The GSFA have called for the Lambeth Conference to reaffirm their commitment to the content of Lambeth I.10, rather than merely acknowledge its existence as a historical document.

When asked at the press conference this morning what would happen if the GSFA chose to put out such a call, Bishop Tim Thornton, the Chair of the Lambeth Calls Sub-group, shook his head and said, "I don't know."

This afternoon we will find out.