“Progress continues to be positive and financially we are on track” – that was the message from the Chief Executive of the Lambeth Conference Company, Phil George, to members of the Anglican Consultative Council’s Standing Committee as he briefed them on plans for the gathering of Anglican bishops from around the world in 2020. “The first year of LC2020 planning is complete,” he said. “In many ways we are ahead of schedule and well positioned for the planning and preparations of the next two years.”
“I have a growing excitement about the Lambeth Conference and that is partly because when I talk to so many people I sense that they are growing very excited as well,” he said.
Three members of the Standing Committee are members of the Lambeth Conference Design Group, established to set the programme for the event: the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, from the Anglican Church of Southern Africa; the Bishop of Nairobi, Joel Waweru, from the Anglican Church of Kenya; and Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.
The Lambeth Conference is one of the four Instruments of Unity of the Anglican Communion. Held roughly every 10 years, it is a gathering of the bishops of the Anglican Communion, drawn together by the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The 2020 gathering will be held between 24 July and 3 August at the University of Kent in Canterbury.
The programme will include a spiritual retreat, Bible studies, plenary sessions, teaching and seminars, and services in Canterbury Cathedral, the mother church of the Anglican Communion. The programme will also include a day of events in London.
The theme of the 2020 Conference is “God’s Church for God’s World: walking, listening and witnessing together”. The specific issues under discussion are being drawn up in consultation with the Anglican Communion Primates – the leaders of the 39 independent Churches that make up the Communion – at regional Primates’ Meetings taking place this year and next.
“The regional Primates’ Meetings continue being very helpful in terms of gathering topics for the programme, building excitement and galvanising local support both for attendance and local fundraising,” Phil George said.
Members of the Standing Committee discussed a range of issues related to the conference: including the cost and difficulties for bishops in some parts of the world in obtaining visas to enter the United Kingdom.
A website will be launched in the Autumn to replace a temporary webpage which gave initial information. This will coincide with the sending of invitations to bishops and their spouses.