The organisers of the 2020 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops have received a major boost with the announcement that Allchurches Trust – owners of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group – have made a £750,000 grant to help fund bursaries. Every active bishop in the Anglican Communion will be invited to the Lambeth Conference; but the costs of attending can be prohibitive for bishops from developing countries. The Chief Executive of the Lambeth Conference Company, Phil George, said he was “bowled over” on hearing the news.
“Our heart is in the Church, in the Christian religion, and in the Anglican Church in particular,” the Chairman of Allchurches Trust, Sir Philip Mawer, said in an interview with ACNS. “That is why we are deeply committed to making sure that the Christian voice is heard on the key issues of the day – we believe that the Conference in 2020 will enable that to be delivered; it is increasingly important in a secular society and world that that voice is heard. And within that it is crucially important that the voice of the Global South and disadvantaged areas is heard too.
“And we really genuinely want to see the Conference achieve its objectives not only in terms of the voice of the Church be heard; but also ensuring that bishops are able to be developed in their leadership and can go back to their dioceses and provinces enthused and re-equipped to carry out the task of mission and their role in directing and leading the Church.”
Welcoming the Grant, the biggest so far received by the organisers of the Lambeth Conference, the event’s Chief Executive Phil George said: “It is really going to mean a huge difference to so many bishops and their spouses to be able to attend the Lambeth Conference in 2020 as a result of their generosity.
“The cost of running an 11-day conference in Canterbury is not a cheap project,” he said. “We are very aware that many people around the Communion, including the spouses of course, will not be able to afford to fly across to England or, of course, pay the Conference fee. So this grant is going to go a long way to helping those who are on very low incomes to be able to afford to come and attend the Conference.”
Sir Philip Mawer added: “The Anglican Communion is a vital international institution and the Lambeth Conference is central to its effectiveness. We particularly wanted to honour and recognise the part that bishops from the Global South will be playing at the Conference. And we wanted to ensure that those who, on their own, have limited resources themselves, and who live in very difficult circumstances, have the means to attend the conference.
“Bishops occupy such important roles within the Church that they need all the support and help that they can get in order to exercise their leadership and do so on the global level. This Conference in 2020 will be vital to the Communion in ensuring it addresses the issues and giving the Global South, as well as the North, a voice and say in policies and issues that affect us all.”
The Lambeth Conference 2020 will take place from 24 July to 3 August at the University of Kent in Canterbury. Invitations to bishops and their spouses will be sent out later this year.