The Lambeth Conference opens today and runs through August 3. The Conference takes place every 10 years at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is held at the University of Kent at Canterbury and Canterbury Cathedral. It is named for Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop's residence.
In a welcome message to attendees, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote, "The chief aims of our time together are, first, that we become more confident in our Anglican identity, by deepening our awareness of how we are responsible to and for each other; and second, that we grow in energy and enthusiasms for our task of leading the work of mission in our Church.
At Lambeth, Anglican bishops meet for worship, study and conversation. Archbishops, diocesan, assistant and suffragan bishops are invited. Bishops from other churches "in communion" with the Anglican Communion are also invited. Numerous ecumenical figures are also invited. Vatican Cardinal Dias and Evangelical Brian McLaren are scheduled to address bishops at this Conference.
About one-third of the Anglican bishops have declined the Archbishop's invitation. Many of those who declined recently gathered instead for GAFCON in Jerusalem.
The gay bishop of New Hampshire (USA) V. Gene Robinson was not invited, but he has made an appearance for the media outside Lambeth.
“Inclusive Church” a group that campaigns for inclusion of all, "regardless of their sex, race or sexual orientation" plans to stage 2 events at the University of Kent during the Lambeth Conference. The Inclusive Church counts Christina Rees as one of its supporters. Rees recently steered a motion for women bishops through the Church of England's General Synod. The motion won and no provision was made for Anglican clergy who can’t accept the oversight of a woman bishop.
Spouses of the bishops who attend are invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury's wife to a parallel gathering: the Spouses' Conference.
The present Archbishop of Canterbury is from Wales. He is shown above with his wife Jane.