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Lambeth Conference planners change 'call' that gave bishops chance to affirm traditional view of marriage

by Tola Mbakwe
Photo Credit: Lambeth Conference Media

Organisers of the Lambeth Conference have made another change to a motion that seeks to reaffirm a traditional definition of marriage and sexuality.

The motion, which the conference is referring to as a "call" used to include "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". Lambeth 1:10 was a resolution made at the 1998 Lambeth Conference.

But after much backlash from progressive bishops, that part of the call was removed on Tuesday night. 

The call now reads in part: "It is the mind of the Anglican Communion as a whole that "all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation are full members of the Body of Christ" and to be welcomed, cared for, and treated with respect (I.10, 1998). Many Provinces continue to affirm 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. Other Provinces have blessed and welcomed same sex union/marriage after careful theological reflection and a process of reception. As Bishops we remain committed to listening and walking together to the maximum possible degree, despite our deep disagreement on these issues."

This comes after the options for how bishops can respond to the call were revised on Monday night. 

Originally, bishops could only respond: "This Call speaks for me. I add my voice to it and commit myself to take the action I can to implement it." And "This Call requires further discernment. I commit my voice to the ongoing process." 

Following outrage that bishops could not reject that they believe marriage is between a man and woman, organisers added a third option of "This Call does not speak for me. I do not add my voice to this Call."

Bishop Tim Thornton, Chair of the Lambeth Conference's Lambeth Calls Subgroup, said in a statement released on Tuesday night:

"We have listened carefully and prayerfully to what bishops and many others have said in response to the draft Calls, especially that on Human Dignity. Archbishop Justin has invited the bishops of the Anglican Communion to come together as a family to listen, pray and discern - sometimes across deeply-held differences.

"It is our prayer that these Calls can offer a basis for those conversations - and that all of our discussions will be marked by the grace and love of Jesus Christ.

"Please continue to pray for us that we may continue to listen, walk and witness together."

There are also revisions to the draft calls on Discipleship, Mission and Evangelism and Inter Faith Relations.

Around 650 bishops from across the Anglican Communion started arriving for the conference in Canterbury on Tuesday. The once a decade event ends on 8th August.

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