Steering group meets to discuss ‘witnessing together’ in Lambeth Conference’s third phase

Posted Mar 7, 2023

[Lambeth Conference] The Lambeth Conference Phase 3 Steering Group met for an in-person meeting at the Anglican Communion Office from Feb. 28 to March 3.

Chaired by Archbishop Julio Murray of the Anglican Church in Central America, the group is comprised of participants from around the Anglican Communion and supported by two resource consultants and staff at the Anglican Communion Office. Caroline Bauerschmidt, wife of Tennessee Bishop John Bauerschmidt, is a member of the steering group, representing the Lambeth Conference’s Spouses’ Planning Group.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby designed the 15th Lambeth Conference to be a journey in three phases. Phase 1 (Listening Together) was a series of online meetings for bishops and spouses, to prepare for the in-person conference. Phase 2 (Walking Together) was the in-person event held in Canterbury, England, from late July to early August 2022. Phase 3 (Witnessing Together) is about taking forward the initiatives and outcomes from the Lambeth Conference into the life of the Anglican Communion.

The Phase 3 Steering Group has been set up to support this process. Its priorities are to sustain cross-provincial Bible study online; facilitate responses to the Lambeth Calls and equip and strengthen bishops – especially new bishops – in mission.

During their meeting, the group discussed plans for Phase 3. They also reviewed further work done to the Lambeth Calls by the call drafting groups, who have worked on feedback gathered from the bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 2022.  The Lambeth Calls will be shared at Pentecost. Murray will write to bishops after Easter to share plans for Phase 3, as well as the Lambeth Call discussions, supporting resources and a timetable for Bible study and webinars to support the journey.

“Gathering with my sisters and brothers from around the Anglican Communion for the Phase 3 group meeting this week has felt like a mini-Lambeth Conference,” Murray said. “We have prayed, studied God’s word and learned from one another’s settings. Our meeting has explored how we will invite bishops of the Anglican Communion to take forward themes of the Lambeth Conference in provinces and dioceses around the world. We are now actively working on plans for ongoing engagement with the Lambeth Calls. After Easter, I will be writing to all bishops of the Anglican Communion setting out plans for our Phase 3 journey. We hope that our sisters and brothers around the world will continue to meet for prayer and reflection as we explore what it means to be God’s Church for God’s World.”

During the week, Bishop Jo Bailey Wells (recently appointed to the Anglican Communion Office as bishop for episcopal ministry) facilitated discussions around the idea of “Call and Response” as a model for receiving the Lambeth Calls.

“In our meeting, we have reflected on how ‘Call and Response’ is a feature we see in Scripture, in liturgy, as well as in so many other areas of life,” Wells said. “Think of jazz, for example: where a player offers a short melody, which another player receives, interprets and responds to – and so the sound builds. It’s an idea that shapes how the Lambeth Calls could be shared back and forth around the Communion: each Province receiving a call and responding to it according to their context – adding shape, color and vibrancy to the whole.”

The group’s meeting also received contributions from different guests. Bishop Graham Tomlin, chair of Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order, attended a session to support reflection and dialogue on matters of authority, reception and communion. Bishop Anthony Poggo, secretary general for the Anglican Communion, offered wisdom and encouragement. Caroline Welby and Lizzie Jeanes joined from the Spouses’ Planning Group for the Lambeth Conference to share reflections and help shape the emerging Network of Bishops’ Spouses.

Members of the Phase 3 Steering Group

  • The Rt. Rev. Julio Murray – Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America
  • Caroline Bauerschmidt – The Episcopal Church
  • The Most Rev. Kay Goldsworthy – The Anglican Church of Australia
  • The Rt. Rev. Danald Jute – Church of the Province of South East Asia
  • The Rt. Rev. Vicentia Kgabe – The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
  • The Rt. Rev. Jorge Pina-Cabral – The Lusitanian Church
  • The Rt. Rev. Paul Swarup – The Church of North India

Resource Consultants

  • The Rev. Justin Holcomb – The Episcopal Church
  • The Rev. Steve Muneza – The Anglican Church of Burundi
  • Bishop Tim Thornton