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Parish Magazine Article - July 2022

Every ten years or so, the Primates of the Anglican Communion meet to pray, share wisdom, and discern together how God is leading the church in the world. As Terry Waite, the former special adviser to Archbishop Robert Runcie, says, this has given rise to any number of jokes about the confusion between Anglican bishops and archbishops and great apes - some more polite than others - but we shan’t descend to that level in the parish magazines of the Diocese of Hereford! 

The first Lambeth Conference took place in 1867, called by Charles Longley, but even several of his own English bishops declined to attend, stating the conference would just cause confusion because the bishops wouldn’t agree on the issues of the day. 

This summer, after a delay caused by the pandemic, the bishops and archbishops, including our own Bishop Richard, will be gathering in Canterbury for the fifteenth Lambeth Conference, convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, to consider the theme “God’s Church for God’s World – walking, listening, and witnessing together.”

They will reflect on being wounded healers in a broken world, and will pray with and for one another in the particular challenges of their dioceses and provinces as we seek to be responsive to the challenges and needs of the 21st century world in a distinctively Christian way.

Those challenges may include climate change, racial justice, Artificial Intelligence, and secularism. It’s fitting, then, that the Bible studies will be on the book of 1 Peter, a letter originally written to Christians living as a minority in an unfriendly or apathetic society.  Let’s commit to praying for the bishops and archbishops from across the Anglican Communion as they meet from 26th July-8th August.  PS If you’d like a summer book to read that gives a largely light-hearted insight into the realities of life for an archbishop and his entourage, I suggest Terry Waite’s Travels with a Primate. I chuckled my way through it recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. 


Ven Fiona Gibson

Archdeacon of Ludlow

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